Yesterday my husband opened my tea drawer and asked once again; “Why I needed so many different types of teas? “. Ironically, I had recently looked at the same drawer and thought that it desperately needed some replenishing. I only had one variety of green tea and I was completely out of my Matcha and White Teas. Drinking a cup of tea is something that I’ve tried to explain to my husband: but to be honest, it’s not something that can be explained by words but only by the experience.
Next to water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world. From the tea ceremonies in China and Japan to high tea in Great Britain: each country has built a sense of community and connectedness in drinking tea.
Connecting over a Cup of Tea
Tea to me represents relaxation, friendship and comfort. My entire family has always been tea drinkers. When I’m ill, it is the first recommendation that my mother or grandmother offers: whether it is a cup of black tea with honey for a sore throat, camomile to ease a sore stomach, or peppermint to alleviate dizziness and nausea. In fact, initially tea was consumed solely for its medicinal properties: it was later that the sense of connectedness was built around this warm drink.
Now my family’s ritual is not as formalized as that in the Orient or in Britain, however tea is typically offered at every family gathering. A cup of tea could bring with it laughter or the release of tears: but whatever emotion it stirs, it builds a connection.
Discovering the Yoga-Tea Link:
Tea is not only a ritual for my family, but it also seems to be a staple at several yoga studios across North America. So what is the link between yoga and drinking tea?
According to Paul Rosenberg, a tea master in Portland Oregon there is a direct connection between tea and meditation. He believes that tea helps build the connection to ourselves and to those around us. Tea aids in relaxation, brings us harmony and helps us connect with each-other as a family. In addition to the positive mental connections to drinking tea, the beneficial properties of tea builds on those that you receive from practicing yoga.
Health Benefits in Drinking Tea:
- High in antioxidants
- L-theanine (an amino acid) reduces stress
- Increases alertness
- Memory enhancer
- Increases cardiovascular health
One tea that has recently been proclaimed for its extreme health benefits is Matcha tea. The history of Matcha is directly connected with that of yoga and meditation brought to the Eastern World by a Zen Buddhist named Elsai. The beverage Matcha was used during meditation to keep the monks focused and relaxed.
Drinking a cup of tea and practicing yoga: just seems to be a natural connection. The health benefits of one build on the other and they both help connect us with our community and ourselves.
Whether you choose to embrace a green, white, or the standard black tea: may each cup bring with you a sense of calmness and health. Now, I’m off to replenish my deprived tea drawer and to share the benefits of the tea experience with my husband.