I have recently found a new love for traditional Chinese tea ceremony. Being an avid tea drinker and yoga practitioner, I have found a practice of tea meditation that quenches my thirst and brings me peace. This practice reveals that yoga, union, can exist in each moment, not just on the mat. Meditation is not a duty, but a state of mind, state of being.
Below are instructions on how to make a meditation out of drinking tea.
1. Prepare your tea abode.
Set yourself up in a comfortable space, sitting cross-legged or on a small stool. The key is to find a seat that is supportive and comfortable. Allow your spine to remain upright, but not stiff. Gather your tea pot, cups, water, spill bowl, cloth and tea and arrange them neatly on the table. You may want to have a crystal or buddha statue on the table as well to aid in creating a sacred vibration.
2. Using the senses.
Feel your body connecting to the ground beneath you. Listen to your breath. Hold some of the tea in your hand. Notice it’s texture, inspect the leaves, stems and different hues. Now close your eyes. Feel the tea in your hand. Notice what feelings arise spontaneously and be with them. Listen to the wisdom the tea brings. Listen closely to the sound of the tea as you sprinkle it in your teapot. Smell the tea, noticing what qualities it holds and what feelings are evoked. Notice the taste in your mouth just from observing, smelling and listening to the tea.
3. The practice.
Begin your tea ceremony by offering a prayer, intention or reading. Thank the tea for gracing you with its presence. Allow the mind to concentrate solely on the tea practice. Act with intention with each step. Pouring the water, covering the tea pot, serving. Sip slowly, and pause after each sip. Notice how it feels in your mouth and in your soul. The mind stays focused, and you can add a mantra or prayer with each step. You may notice a water spill if your mind gets distracted. You have a cloth for a reason; wipe up the mess and continue. In between steeps and sips, perhaps you will read or write down some inspiring words. I often stay with this practice for an hour, or when I run out of tea. Keep concentrated on the practice and allow for creativity to unfold.
Upon completion of the tea ceremony, reflect on how you feel. Perhaps more calm, balanced, energized, warm or connected. Notice your internal state. Close your eyes. Take a few minutes to just be with the effects of the tea practice. Thank yourself for allowing time and space to slow down, to connect with you center. Thank the tea for imparting its wisdom upon you. Carefully, slowly clean and put away your tea supplies. Carry the warmness with you throughout the day.
It’s all a process of mindfulness. Can we slow down and act with intention rather than reacting? As we bring awareness to each moment, we find the peace and bliss within. Allowing the mind to dwell in the present, there is no worry of the future or regrets of the past. It is in awe with the magic of this moment. So, I use tea as a reminder to be present within the moment. I use my senses to fully awaken to bliss. I allow thoughts to come, and graciously let them float away. This process is not just for tea, but a process to find peace in any activity, environment and situation. Ground yourself through the senses, find a point of concentration and allow for intuitive wisdom to unfold. Let awareness guide the way to peace.