Tea mindfulness is an ideal way to ‘press pause’ on the day. Put simply, this means turning the time spent making and drinking tea into moments of meditation. As well as intensifying your enjoyment of the tea, this practice can be beneficial in many ways.
Join us as we explore the origins and benefits of tea mindfulness. We’ll round out with our steps to to help you develop your own ritual at home.
The origins of mindful tea drinking
Mindfulness is rooted in Zen Buddhist meditation practices, used for centuries throughout East Asia. Buddhism, which offers up many ways to bring focus to our everyday lives, has a long historical association with tea.
Buddhist monks living in mountain monasteries have long used tea growing nearby to help maintain a gentle alertness whilst meditating. Even today, tea is served in monasteries and beyond to encourage a state of focus, clarity and emotional balance.
Tea Ceremony is the most formalised version of this - a ritual most commonly practised in Japan, designed to slow and appreciate with all the senses.
What is Tea Ceremony?
The highly stylised ritual around sharing tea with one’s guests, Tea Ceremony has four guiding principles: respect, harmony, purity and tranquillity.
The traditional Tea House is often a rustic thatched hut in the centre of a beautiful garden. The door frame is usually low, so entering requires bowing, encouraging humility.
While the tea is poured and drunk, participants cultivate precision and awareness in every aspect of their behaviour and being, fostering a sense of harmony and inner calm.
Each tea gathering is a once in a lifetime event, a concept embodied in the Japanese term “ichi-go ichi-e” which means “one time, one meeting”.
You don’t need a Tea House or guests to draw inspiration from and enjoy benefits like those of Tea Ceremony. Tea mindfulness is simply using your tea break as the perfect moment to slow down, forget worries and to-do lists, and find a little peace and comfort. But how exactly?
To get started with this practice, we need to understand a little more about mindfulness.
What is mindfulness?
We all know that ‘taking a breather’ can be incredibly helpful for our wellbeing and mental health. This is the principle behind mindfulness.
The idea is that pausing to reconnect ourselves with the present moment allows our minds to quieten. In turn, this can be beneficial to our mood and physiology.
Is there a difference between mindfulness and meditation?
People sometimes use the terms interchangeably, because mindfulness is actually a form of meditation. Meditation is a set of practices that heighten awareness and focus attention, and mindfulness is one such practice.
Perhaps you think of meditation as sitting still, focusing intently on one thing (such as the breath). While that is one concentrative form of meditation, mindfulness is also meditation, and can be practiced anytime and anywhere. It simply involves paying attention: noticing your thoughts, feelings, sensations and behaviours.
The benefits of tea mindfulness
People who practice mindfulness report improvements in their wellbeing due to being present in the moment. Tea mindfulness accustoms you to this full presence, which helps you properly engage with activities and the people around you, and truly enjoy positive experiences as they occur.
Evidence also points to the benefits mindfulness can have on physical health. Because it reduces stress, it stands to reason that mindfulness has a positive effect on illnesses related to stress, such as heart diseases, high blood pressure, poor sleep and gastrointestinal issues.
Similarly, research supports the use of mindfulness in the treatment of mental health issues such as depression, eating disorders and anxiety. Tea mindfulness is a simple way to implement mindfulness regularly to harness these benefits.
Slowing down to savour your tea is also just the best way to really appreciate the flavours, fragrance and experience.
As if that weren’t enough, using your tea break in this way can make the rest of the day feel more positive and productive. It's about finding those moments where we can stop scrolling, forget the stress, and take time out to make the most of what’s in our cup!
How to make a mindful cup of tea
So how exactly does one practise tea mindfulness meditation? Here are our steps, but feel free to make the ritual your own.
1. Choose a tea to match your mood
There is no single best tea for mindfulness meditation. Choose a tea to suit how you’re feeling - it’s a good way to check in and begin your ritual. Sluggish or stressed? In need of balance or a bit of pep? Or maybe you just feel like a treat.
Tea tip: for something gently enlivening try a green tea; for balancing, our Golden Balance Turmeric or True Clarity Ginger are wonderful.
2. Listen to the kettle boiling
Have you ever stood and truly listened? As the bubbles start to form there’s an orchestra of shifting sounds. It’s a good time to put down your phone and take a moment.
Tea tip: leave the water to cool for a minute before pouring as boiling water can spoil some of the flavours in lighter teas. Green teas especially go bitter if the water is too hot.
3. Let it brew and watch as the tea changes colour
As the water meets the tea leaves, colours slowly swirl and deepen. Depending on the tea, you might be able to see the leaves unfurl as they start to infuse.
This is a good moment to observe and quieten those thoughts that are often whirling around in our heads – you might find it’s quite noisy in there!
Tea tip: while we recommend certain brewing times for different teas, the choice of how long to let it brew is entirely yours - you’re the one drinking it after all.
4. Sip slowly
As you bring the cup to your lips, maybe you can feel the warmth of steam on your face, and notice the different aromas that meet your nostrils. Sip slowly and savour.
Is it a familiar taste? Does it change as it cools? Are there lingering aftertastes, floral maybe, or spiced? Allow time between sips to settle yourself - that’s why we like calling it ‘slow tea’. Why gulp when you can spend a little more time enjoying yourself?
Tea tip: we think of tasting tea as rather like wine - full of complexity and fragrance.
5. Breathe gently
We all know how to breathe! But how often are we really aware of it happening? When we’re anxious or fearful our breath gets fast, so if we’re calm it follows that our breath would be slower and gentler. Try noticing your breath and use it as another way to calm, soothe and settle yourself between sips of tea.
6. Wiggle your toes!
It sounds silly but wiggling your toes can be very useful. Anything to get you into your body and out of your head! It’s a good way to feel a bit of energy stirring and to start waking things up. Now you’re ready to get going.
Finally, clear up carefully, ready to face the rest of your day feeling more clear-headed and calm. You might find you take some of that comfort and warmth with you, whatever might be coming your way. When you feel things getting on top of you, just breathe!
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To find your perfect partner for your mindful tea moments, browse our full range of speciality Dragonfly Teas here.