Health & Lifestyle
Having a Cuppa: Mindfulness for Beginners
Tea will be the antidote for modern living.
This blog will guide you through mindful tea-drinking. Perfect for any Brit, or Brit-at-heart.
Mindfulness helps us assess what advice is beneficial to us. We have become so bad at listening to our bodies. Confused by artificial lighting, elongated working hours, artificial foods and stimulants. We don’t even realise how much we’re ignoring our bodies just to live the average life. If you’ve ever experienced exhaustion you’ll know that when you’re really tired you can’t ignore your body anymore. All the artificially stimulating things in our surroundings become unbearable.
Some people are born with this awareness of stimulus upon their bodies. In fact, when this is taken to the extreme it’s thought to contribute to schizophrenia. It’s thought that those suffering with the condition can’t close the sensory gateways that allow the average person to concentrate in a crowded place or listen to their conversation rather than all the others happening around them. If, like me, you’re naturally sensitive to life you’ll be all too aware of how hyper-stimulated we are in modern society. Quiet tech-free retreats are getting more and more popular to remedy this.I’d like to invite you to practice mindful tea-drinking this week as your own home-retreat from the modern world. I’d suggest trying it with a relaxing herb like Passionflower for a double-whammy relaxing effect.
A simple summary of the instructions below is that you start by scanning your body from head to toe to closely observe how you’re feeling. Then you start to taste your tea or food and notice the changes it illicits. The ability to tune into your body using the scanning technique is something you can practice and tap into anytime. It will help with all matter of malady from over-eating to overachieving ;)
Here's an audio guide to the exercise but you can also read the outline below too.
It is important to try only to observe yourself during these exercises rather than try to change how you are feeling.
- Take a few deep breathes to bring yourself to centre and relax a bit.
- Bring your attention into your toes and try to get a feel for any sensations there. This may be tension, tingling, pain, warmth, coldness etc. Whatever you are feeling, allow it to be. You may find it difficult to feel anything at all to begin with.
- Take your attention up to your ankles and pay attention to any sensations there.
- Move up to your calves.
- Repeatedly move your attention up the limbs, then up the spine and back, then to the head and face.
- Now take your attention inside the body to the organs in the abdomen. It is likely that you’ll notice the movement of food in the tummy. Do you notice any bloating or discomfort? Does your abdomen feel empty or full? Does it feel soft or hard?
- Keeping your attention within the body bring your attention to the chest and the lungs. How are you breathing? Do you notice your breathe to be short or long? Where in the body does your breathe reach? Do you notice any gaps in the breath?
Tea Tasting Exercise
- Take a few breathes before picking up your tea.
- Take your full attention to your senses.
- Open your eyes and pick up your cup of tea. Notice the colour and quality of the tea.
- Notice the scent as it wafts into your nostrils. You may find it reminds you of something instantly.
- Let yourself sip at the tea. Hold the tea in the mouth for a bit before swallowing. Let it settle on the tongue to maximise your taste sensation.
- Do you notice it to be sweet, sour, bitter, astringent, pungent or salty?
- Can you feel where the tea goes in the body? Does it reach a certain organ? Can you feel it moving within the body in a certain direction?
- Some people have abstract experiences of colours or sounds.
- When you get more practiced at this you may begin to imagine the plants personality as a person. You may find a song comes to you.
Though I’m sure it could be done quicker, this may not be advisable to begin with. This exercise brings you closer to yourself and closer to nature. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is essential for finding balance and rest in our modern society.
This is the technique we use in the correspondence course Listen to discover how herbs can be used by tuning into our senses. If you’re interested in this technique and want to learn more check out Listen here.
DISCLAIMER: Please don’t use any herbs featured on this website for medicinal reasons without contacting your health practitioner first.