Have you ever walked out of a morning yoga session feeling relaxed, confident, and at peace? If so, you’ve already experienced the powers of meditation.
Meditation is an ancient practice that is still used today to encourage mental and physical wellbeing — but did you know that tea is a traditional part of meditation? Many cultures use tea to aid their meditation practices.
We love the idea of incorporating tea into meditation because both have soothing qualities that promote relaxation. Without further ado, here are some of our favorite tea-based meditations.
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At its roots, meditation is a spiritual practice and a pillar of many religions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and even Christianity. In these religions, meditation is viewed as a way to achieve spiritual enlightenment.
While many communities still practice spiritual meditation, much of today’s meditation is focused on the calming and relaxing benefits of the practice. Modern practitioners view meditation as a holistic practice that focuses on stilling the mind and strengthening the mind-body connection.
Meditation has been shown to help manage stress, reduce negative emotions, improve sleep, and increase creativity. Meditation can also help you become more self-aware and gain perspective on difficult situations.
There are actually six primary forms of meditation:
Spiritual meditation, which often works to establish a connection with the divine.
Mindfulness meditation, which involves practicing awareness of the present moment.
Movement meditation, which utilizes movement to bring awareness, like yoga or tai chi.
Focused meditation, which involves hyper-focusing on each element of whatever you are currently doing.
Visualization meditation, which involves visualizing a particular thing or place in your mind’s eye.
Chanting meditation, which uses a repetitive chant in order to allow you to communicate with your inner self.
But where does tea come in?
Tea has been used during meditation for hundreds of years. In fact, Chinese and Japanese monks used black and green teas to stay focused and awake while meditating. It’s because of these monks that tea became so popular around the globe.
Tea and Qi
Another reason why tea and meditation are so commonly linked is the concept of qi or chi. Many people believe that tea innately carries “life force” and acts as a foundational representation of life itself.
Through tea meditation, practitioners can better connect to the qi in tea, called Cha Qi. Cha Qi will feel different to each person who experiences it, but focused tea meditation may help you discover the Cha Qi inside your cuppa.
Many Taoists believe that tea meditation can also help us find unity with nature and release us from ego.
Tea Meditations to Try at Home
You can practice tea-based meditations from the comfort of your own home (with the comfort of your own tea) if that’s what you prefer. You can also practice these tea meditations anywhere you may roam, whether that’s the depths of a forest or the cafe down the street. All you really need is a delicious cup of tea and your beautiful mind.
Here are some of our favorite tea meditations that you can do at home (or anywhere).
Deep Breathing Meditation
With a cup of tea in your hands, find a seated position on the floor or in your favorite chair. As you begin to settle in, become aware of your breathing. Slowly begin an even breathing pattern, inhaling for four seconds and exhaling for four seconds.
Notice how your chest rises and falls, and how the oxygen flows into and out of your lungs with each breath. Notice the smell of your tea as you inhale. Turn all of your awareness to the sensation of breathing.
As you breathe in, let each breath completely fill your lungs. Imagine that your breath is a liquid like your tea, filling every crack. Let the breath rest in your chest for a few seconds to collect any negative energy you may be holding.
As you exhale, release any negativity that your breath may have collected. Loosen your shoulders and your neck and try to relax with each breath. Continue until you’re calm and rested.
Focused Tea Meditation
Boil your pot of water and ready your tea infuser or tea bag. Place your tea into a teapot or mug and pour the water over your tea.
Notice how the water moves over the bag and how it swirls as each new drop is added. Next, notice how the tea bag or infuser gently floats in your container.
You can notice the steam wafting out of your cup, such as how it sways, smells, and feels. You can also notice the water in your cup as it slowly changes color.
Once your tea is ready to drink, take a deep sip and notice how the tea feels in your mouth. Notice any heat, flavors, or textures, and remember them. If you’re drinking hot tea, you can even notice the warmth as it travels through your body.
Slowly drink your tea this way until it is gone.
Whenever you feel like you are in a season of life or personal changes, you may find it helpful to perform a seasonal meditation.
You may notice that your spiritual seasons echo the natural seasons. In spring, you may notice new personal growth. In summer, you may notice new business opportunities and adventures. In fall, you may notice yourself letting go of things you do not need, and in winter, you may notice restfulness.
During this meditation, you can pour yourself a cup of changing tea or seasonal tea, depending on both the physical and emotional season of your life. Take a seat inside or outside, depending on the weather and your comfort level.
As you drink your tea, consider the season you are in and how it is helping you. Notice any changes you see in yourself and acknowledge whether these changes serve you.
Lovely Teas for Meditation
When it comes to choosing your tea for meditation, the most important thing is choosing a tea that you enjoy. However, some teas have extra benefits that may make them extra helpful during meditation.
Black tea is great for meditation because it promotes focus. One eight-ounce cup of brewed black tea contains approximately 47 mg of caffeine, about half as much as a cup of brewed coffee.
Black tea also contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which helps your brain focus and relax. The combined result is a low-stress energy boost that may help you stay focused while you meditate, just like it helped ancient monks.
Our favorite black tea for meditation is Magic Moon Glimmering Dusk. This caramel-flavored tea contains little gold flecks, which you can meditate on as they swirl around your cup.
According to legend, green tea is the original meditation tea. As the story goes, a Chinese monk accidentally invented green tea during a meditation.
Green tea doesn’t typically contain as much caffeine as black tea, but it does contain more L-theanine. If you’re prone to stress, you may want to consider green tea for your meditations.
We recommend Tea Kitten Pink Citrus Magik. This fruity green tea blend contains apples, lemon, and dragonfruit for a taste that we can only describe as being like sunshine.
As an added bonus, butterfly pea flowers create a dreamy blue color that changes when you add lemon juice. Because of its color-changing nature, we recommend this one for seasonally focused meditations.
Matcha is one of the oldest teas used in meditation rituals, so you may want to give it a try during your practice. Ancient Japanese people used even the art of preparing matcha as a meditative exercise.
Although matcha is made from green tea leaves, it is harvested and processed a bit differently. This difference means that matcha has almost as much caffeine as a cup of coffee and some unique antioxidants.
Our favorite meditative matcha is Baahtcha Matcha Organic Ceremonial Matcha. This matcha is made using only the finest of green tea leaves for a true ceremonial experience. Plus, it tastes amazing!
If you’re trying to stay away from caffeine, then we recommend rooibos tea. Rooibos is an herbal tea made from an entirely different plant than most “true” teas, meaning it contains no caffeine.
Rooibos tea is often the caffeine-free option of choice for many tea drinkers because of its robust flavor. The flavor is similar to a light cup of black tea.
A wonderful rooibos for meditation is Tea Kitten's Vanilla Bliss. This rooibos blend includes natural vanilla flavor for a soothing drink that can help you reconnect with your inner peace.
Many practitioners believe that pu-erh tea is especially well-suited for focused meditation because of its warming ability to slide throughout the body. While some people believe that this is a form of black tea, others categorize pu-erh as “dark” tea or heicha because of its post-production fermentation.
This earthy and complex cuppa is still largely a niche product outside of Asia, but it’s becoming more common as awareness grows. The taste and effects of pu-erh can vary based on its age, but like a fine wine, aged pu-erh may create a more pronounced cha qi.
Summing It Up
Meditation is an ancient practice that is still used today to connect with the earth and the self. Some of our favorite meditations include deep breathing meditations, focused meditations, and seasonal meditations.
Tea has long been used in meditation to help practitioners keep their focus. Although you can use any tea for meditation, there are a few that we recommend as a starting point. If you’re ready to get started, grab your favorite cuppa, find a comfy seat, and experience what cha qi means to you.
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About Sips by: We’re a female-founded and led startup that makes discovering tea fun, personalized, and affordable. The Sips by Box is the only multi-brand, personalized tea subscription box. Each month, we match tea drinkers across the U.S. with delicious teas from over 150 global tea brands that we’re sure they’ll love. Based out of Austin, Texas, we are adept at savoring a hot mug even when it’s seasonally inappropriate.