So remember a few months ago when I said I was going to convert from coffee to tea? How’s that going, you ask? Well. I can’t say that it’s been a seamless transition, but then it occurred to me that it doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. I was worried that being a tea or coffee person is sort of like being a dog or cat person – you’re pretty much one or the other. Now I know that’s not necessarily true. And while I do love my latte…I feel something that runs deeper in my new love affair with tea. It’s been brewing all along (forgive the pun), but our new partner The Tea Spot has truly awakened it.
Naturally, I am intrigued by the connection between yoga and tea – both are mystical and medicinal. Both are special practices that take the yogi/tea drinker away from the daily grind (oh nooooooo…now a coffee pun) for a soothing break. Consider all the yoga studios that serve tea to help transition from yoga-land back into the cold, hard world off the mat. Lululemon made a “tea lounge” pant. I have them.
The ancient roots of tea ceremonies all over the world lie in ritual. On our visits to Japan and Morocco, we were fascinated by the intricacies and history of their tea ceremonies. My daughter even learned to pour mint tea from up high, to properly aerate it (plus it looks cool), as they do in Morocco. The many practices of yoga – asana, pranayama, chanting – are also rituals with ancient roots. We are drawn to the comfort of our modern rituals – of laying out our yoga mat, lighting a candle, wearing our favorite yoga pants. Of carefully and thoughtfully preparing a cup of tea. Our rituals of yoga and tea shouldn’t be rush jobs, because they slow us down in a good way. In a way we deeply crave, that returns to ancient roots.
There are tomes of information on the health benefits of tea. Knowledge of this dates back to the beginning of tea; we have simply updated it to accommodate modern medicine. In a nutshell, from The Tea Spot’s website: Studies conducted around the world have shown that tea drinking might protect against such serious diseases as strokes, cancer, and heart disease, as well as boost memory, immunity, stress relief, skin health, and weight loss. Take some time exploring the many benefits by chemistry, function and organ, and tea type. The Tea Spot was founded in 2004 by Maria Uspenski, a cancer survivor drawn to the health benefits of tea during her recovery; 10% of their sales are donated in-kind to cancer wellness and community programs (Cowgirls vs. Cancer is one of the lucky recipients). A Japanese monk wrote in 1211: Tea is a miraculous medicine for the maintenance of health…Tea is the elixir that creates the mountain-dwelling immortal. Sign me up for that.
Then there is the connection between people. I’ve always felt that the word connection is infused with power – it sounds straightforward vs. esoteric or exotic, even slightly mathematical. I keep coming back to it again and again; if I had to use one word to describe the source of my own inspiration, it would be connection. Tea ceremonies have connected people for millennia. So has the practice of yoga. So it seems fairly obvious that yoga + tea = more than bliss (as The Tea Spot founder Maria previously stated in her interview with me)…it = connection too. The aptly named Meditative Mind became our retreat ritual this season; I watched people sipping it before yoga, after yoga, in between yoga. It connected the yoga. It connected the people sipping it.