I spill the tea on my first tea meditation experience. Get ready for a invigorating recount...
True story: the pressure of turning 30, along with planning a wedding during the pandemic and the Covid-19 fiasco, has put a damper on my mental health. In hopes of seeking mindfulness, I decided to try tea meditation. I’ve never really been successful with meditation. Maybe it’s my lack of patience or the inability to be still. But I do like a hot cup of tea. So I threw all inhibitions out the window and joined a tea meditation session with Lynne Hong – the founder of Aloha Bliss Rituals and Mindfulness with Lynne – on a fine Saturday evening. This is what happened…
Before we warm the teapot: what’s tea meditation?
Steeped in rich history, tea drinking is an age-old practice that’s been around for decades. It’s especially popular in Asia and is known to be a calming ritual in many cultures. The act of drinking tea itself is meditative. Starting your day with a hot pot of tea and being connected with your mind and body in each step promotes a sense of groundedness. It also helps to rebalance, refocus and calm your mind.
“Tea is very tangible in a simple way”, says Lynne, who’s been on a mindfulness journey for seven years. The mindfulness coach for women has been practising tea meditation for the last two, holding one-on-one, group and virtual sessions.
“It’s a more direct access to stilling the mind because we ask someone to sit down in stillness. In modern days, people struggle with racing thoughts and find it tough to sit down in silence. But as tea is so tangible – you’re holding a cup of something that’s warm. You watch the leaves dance with the hot water, and you smell the fragrance of this alchemy – it engages all five senses immediately. So it’s easier for people to get in touch with themselves.”
It was as though she saw right through me because that’s an issue I struggle with. I’ve always felt that my brain has 101 issues running through its mind. I also battle with anxiety so keeping my mind in the present is something that needs lotsa practice.
Let the tea meditation session begin
There was a sense of calm as I entered her cosy tea loft. I made myself comfortable at the little nook where she had set up a teapot, ceramic cups, healing crystals and candlelights. As I was early, she told me to pick a quote from a deck of affirmation cards she designed. “Just for today, tend lovingly to your heart”, it said. I kept that in mind as I prepared myself for the session.
We started the tea meditation with a quick rundown on what to expect. We closed our eyes and took some time to ground ourselves. I could hear her brewing the tea. Even the sound of it was soothing. She poured a cup for each of us and told us to finish it slowly in three sips.
I was particularly drawn to the warmth of the ceramic cup and grasped it as the heat connected with my body and mind. And with every sip, I felt my body go into reset mode. We repeated this process twice.
It wasn’t all smooth-sailing…
Then it happened. My brain subconsciously went back to a virtual battlefield towards my last cup and I started to feel claustrophobic and fidgety. I pushed to realign myself, focused on my breathing and repositioned my legs (not going to lie, I was having pins and needles too). Lynne’s soothing and reassuring voice also helped.
At the end of the tea meditation session, Lynne invited us to share our thoughts. There’s something therapeutic about sharing your vulnerability with strangers. There’s no room for judgement and it’s refreshing to hear others’ perspectives on what the act of drinking tea means to them. I shared about how drinking tea reminds me of my mother as we’d drink tea at night, catch up on our day and talk about anything under the sun. This became a regular affair during the circuit breaker and I was grateful for that.
Overall, I came out of the session feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world. But I have to admit, I did struggle with keeping still. Perhaps I’ll try other wellness practices, too. It’s all about finding the right path to your mindfulness journey, amirite?
Ultimately, Lynn’s words really resonated with me: “Everything is a form of meditation when you get deep into it. It’s about bringing your mind home to little details. Even gardening or something as simple as taking a shower can be meditative.”
So, what mindfulness practice should I try next? I’ll have to figure that out along the way.
Keen to try the art of tea meditation? Share your experience with us @Honeycombers!