What are Tea Rituals
Tea rituals are practiced in various different cultures. The Japanese tea ceremony is one of them. How tea rituals are practiced may vary from culture to culture. But there is one thing in common: tea rituals bring you calmness of mind, in the same way as tea meditation. And that is the difference between tea rituals and a cup of tea you make hastily before you dash to your next meeting.
The Japanese tea ceremony is usually conducted with a small number of people in a small room. The process is “ritualized,” which means the host and guests are expected to follow a certain procedure. This process needs to be “learned” and it takes practice before you feel comfortable–especially when you are serving tea to your guests. As it becomes easier and simpler for you, the process benefits you like meditation.
Tea is enjoyed in various ways worldwide. Thai iced tea, Moroccan mint tea, Indian chai tea, Japanese matcha–these are some of the traditional ways of consuming tea. But it is not the same as a tea ritual itself. Because a tea ritual is more than pouring hot water over the leaf (or powder) and gulping it down while you surfing on the internet.
A good tea ritual generates calmness, stillness, clarity in your mind. In that sense, a tea ritual serves you in the same way as tea meditation.
How to Create a Tea Ritual
Then, how do you create a tea ritual?
1. Set your environment
“Enjoy the present moment as it never comes back.” This is one of the teachings of the Japanese tea ceremony. The entire process from the beginning to the end is procedural and everyone is expected to follow a certain manner every time; and at the same time, the core philosophy is “Nothing stays the same, so cherish the moment.”
“Find the uniqueness of the moment in the repetitive actions.” This sounds contradictory. But the truth is, when tasks become simpler, it is easier to focus. When focusing on the present, you will notice the subtle difference as your mind clears up.
So, when you establish your own ritual, you need to use the same elements every time.
- Use the same cup
- Conduct at the same location
- Conduct at the same time of the day
- Turn the same music on
- Use a special tea
- Use a special tea caddie, etc…
Using the same of everything every time may sound boring. In fact, you could use a different cup, depending on your mood, but you may find it easier to make it a habit when you keep most of the elements the same. And, this is just a guideline–there is no “wrong” way to do the ritual. See the benefits below–the whole purpose of doing this ritual is to get those benefits after all.
As Japanese culture appreciates seasonal uniqueness, they use seasonally appropriate items during the tea ceremony. For example, a matcha tea bowl with a picture of vivid green bamboo for summer; a tea bowl with an image of brilliant orange maple leaves for autumn. It’s a part of the appreciation for the ever-changing nature.
In fact, you might want to use a different cup as well, depending on the season or the type of tea. That being said, you may find it easier to make it a habit when you keep most of the elements the same for a certain period of time.
2. Take each action neatly and gently
“Drinking tea” is only a part of the practice. The ritual starts with mindful preparation and ends with a graceful recognition of positive energy. The following method was inspired by the Japanese Tea Ceremony. I am trained to offer the ceremony, and I feel tremendous benefits when I offer this ritual that has lasted centuries.
- “See” the cup and carefully set it down on the table or counter.
- “See” the tea caddie or container and open it gently.
- “See” the lid and set it down gently.
- “See” the scoop and scoop the leaf or powder carefully into your cup.
- Inhale the aroma slowly and deeply.
- Close the lid of the container quietly.
- Pour the water into the cup slowly and carefully.
- Notice the fragrance that comes up with the steam, tingling your nostrils.
- Set the timer if you are steeping leaf. If you are using powdered tea, stir or whisk up.
- Close your eyes and notice that your mind is getting clear and lighter.
- Take a sip and feel the warmth (or feel the pleasant coolness if you are enjoying iced tea).
- As you take a sip, do three things:
- Reflect on the good things you have done today so far.
- Find what you are grateful for and express your gratitude.
- Breathe deeply and slowly between the sips.
- Notice new energy filling your mind.
Why Tea Rituals
A good tea ritual recalibrates your mind to neutral. The calm state of mind will bring in more energy. Your heart will feel light, happy, motivated, loved, and loving. As it is a good way to bring your “racing” mind back to “home.”
Tea ritual is simple but it can be a new technique for you to increase your productivity. The 5 benefits of tea ritual that help you mentally and physically:
- Taking the time to practice tea ritual is a great way to slow you down and get you grounded
- Tea ritual reconnects you with positive energy so that you will feel protected, secure and in control
- The process clarifies your mind and you will be more creative, productive and successful
- It helps to build coping skills to manage stress
- It provides a great space to gain a new perspective on stressful situations
By the time you take the last sip from the cup, you will feel stronger and ready to face challenges again. The rituals will serve you the best when you mentally disconnect from the jobs and challenges you were tackling. It takes practice to disconnect yourself completely at the beginning, but it becomes easier as the ritual becomes a part of your daily routine.
Who will Benefit from Tea Rituals
Tea rituals will be great if you
- would like to regain a sense of control in life
- are facing emotional, physical, mental challenges
Examples include cancer patients who are going through a rough journey, doctors in the middle of the pandemic, teachers and parents who are raising kids who need to develop a good foundation of self-regulation, and small business owners who are overwhelmed by fears of uncertainty.
Watch a Tea Ritual
Tea ritual is a great technique to develop a sense of control and foundation. Shannon is our friend and a Holistic Health Educator, who practices in Portland, Oregon. In the following video, Shannon is showing us how to do her tea ritual.
Would you like to start to create your own ritual? Shop tea for your ritual with Shannon’s special 5% discount.