TEAlaxation and The Power of Tea
Many agree that stress is detrimental to our health. We look for different ways to relieve stress from taking the occasional vacation, to getting a massage, to drinking a glass of wine to calm the nerves. All these are temporary solutions including any form of over-the-counter or prescribed medication focused on specific ills. For years, I have looked for natural remedies that can address more than one condition. Our overall health is dependent on every organ in our body, working together to fight disease. It has always made more sense to me to address the body as a whole, rather than taking it apart by zooming in on a specific area, and hope for the best.
For millennia, tea has been revered for its medicinal qualities. In Chinese herbal medicine, it is regarded as the most powerful herb having both warming and cooling effects, aiding digestion, circulation, and generally improving balance in both body and mind. It is the only plant that can be brewed and enjoyed on a daily basis without adverse effects, if prepared with care. In the last decade or so, western doctors have prescribed green tea to patients for its perceived cancer-fighting properties, and though no conclusive scientific evidence has been reported to date, it is without a doubt one of the most healthful beverages that anyone can hope for, full of antioxidants known to help prevent cell damage. But there's more...
Stress has often been linked to health conditions including but not limited to cancer, heart disease, obesity, and mental illness. Some have gone as far as saying that stress is the leading cause of death. I believe it. Stress can make us physically tense, and bring us to madness when all seems beyond our control. Meditation is a way to relieve stress, though for many, a regular daily practice is difficult to achieve. It takes dedication and time, and effort. An equation that will improve our lifestyle but that we easily turn away from with the all too popular excuse of being too busy. No one in the world is busy 24/7, if their time is properly managed. Certainly we can all find 30 minutes in the day to sit still.
If sitting still is a challenge, it is facilitated with tea, for its most powerful element is its ability to calm, focus, and steady the mind. For thousands of years, tea drinking has long been associated with both Buddhism and Taoism, allowing monks and dedicated followers to sit through long periods of meditation. A stimulant unlike any other, tea releases its energy, cha qi, slowly and evenly, offering sustained energy for hours, its spirit felt throughout the day. Potent, tea invites you to reflect, every sip, aroma, taste and mouthfeel evolving and feeling its way through the body, warming or cooling it as required. Years of drinking tea and appreciating its wisdom, have afforded me a lifestyle that is for the most part stress-free. The added benefit is that tea is actually delicious.
Think of tea as a perfect conduit to developing a beautiful meditation practice. Contemplate the leaves, prepare them with care, and sip its nectar with gratitude. From start to finish, the beverage itself is so fascinating that you will feel the time fly by quickly, and eventually you'll ask yourself, "what tea should I drink next?" 30 minutes of TEAlaxation, may just turn into an hour, effortlessly!