Why changing the way you brew tea can make you feel more balanced
Discover what teas to brew in autumn and how changing the way you brew tea can help you feel more balanced.
Autumn is a time of transition when everything begins to fall… the leaves, the temperature, and the height of the sun. After the frenetic pace of summer, the energy begins to slow as we turn inwards and notice of sense of quieting and letting go. It’s a time for harvest and thanksgiving as we prepare for the year ahead and allow for a slower pace with more stillness.
In the UK technically autumn begins at the autumn equinox (sometime between 21 and 24 September each year). For many people the state of flux and movement this creates can leave us feeling uneasy and ungrounded. Certainly in the current world there’s a lot of turmoil and worry with many people sensing things we once took for granted are starting to fall down. Perhaps we should take comfort in the knowledge that change is a constant and we’ve managed to ride the wave of transition for many generations.
Back to nature
It’s always wise to go back to nature. Notice how the leaves and fruits of the trees fall to earth and start to decay, which in turn nourishes the earth and feeds future growth. Plants and trees drop the seeds that will sprout bountiful crops in the future.
Space is created where abundant leaves give way to bare branches and fields lie bare. Space of course gives us room to breathe.
The light of the sun getting lower in the sky and takes on a more gently quality, it often seems other-worldly, almost spiritual.
As the temperature drops with crisp mornings and cold nights, it’s a time for jumpers and coats, hats & scarves.
The Metal Element and the lungs
With the traditional Chinese 5 Elements, the Metal Element relates to the lung and large intestine. As with nature, so too are we encouraged to let go of things. We have to leave things behind and find closure in order to move on. As the lungs take in fresh air and expel what’s not needed, so too do we take the nourishment we need and let go of things that are no longer serving us.
It’s vital to pause so we can rest, relax and rebalance and begin to breathe easier. There are many things we can do at this time of year to support us to stay balanced and grounded eg keeping warm, especially around our lung area, spending some quiet time by yourself, keeping a predictable schedule, practicing gratitude and letting go of outcomes.
What teas are good for supporting the Metal Element?
When it comes to supporting teas, we can either look to teas made in the autumn and/or some Oolongs (and to some extent Pu-erhs). We’re looking for teas that are warming and easy to digest. Autumnal teas are typically more vegetal, thicker and leafy as opposed to more delicate, floral teas like cooling green teas.
Of course, our new The Contented Mind blend is an Oolong tea specifically blended in harmony with the 5 Elements and our Tea In Mind framework. It’s built on a base of Oolong & green tea with coconut, pineapple, lime & Goji berries; the perfect to tea to unwind & uplift your spirits.
Oolong teas are particularly beneficial as they encourage a sense of stillness and slowing down through multiple steepings. They often allow us to naturally breathe slower and more deeply.
Of course, everything is about balance so if you notice that your body and mind are perhaps a little too listless and sluggish then you might find the energy of a fermented Pu-erh tea or a strong black tea helps to energise you and get you moving again. Trust your instincts and sip what feels good for you in your particular circumstances and environment.
During this time of change, use your time pausing for tea to really ground yourself to the earth and be aware of your constant state of change.
Brewing your tea meditatively – it’s time to slow down
As well as choosing your tea appropriately, it’s wise to pay attention to your teaware and ensure it’s going to retain heat, perhaps using darker colour and heavier materials. Take a pause during your day to brew some tea slowly and meditatively.
Notice the dry leaves and how you’re feeling
As you pause to brew your tea check in with yourself and how you’re feeling in this moment. Are you sitting comfortably with your feet flat on the floor and your spine nice and straight? Smell your chosen tea leaves and notice how you feel? Are you hot or cold? What is your energy level like? Is your mind quiet or busy? Is your breathing fast or slow, stressed or spacious?
Brew the leaves using all your senses
As you slowly brew your tea bring your awareness to all your senses and when you’re ready hold your cup, bowl or pot with both hands, noticing the warmth as you sip slowly. Simply observe your reaction as you sip and pay attention to the sensation of the tea as trickles into your throat. See if you can follow it until the warmth of the tea dissipates. Notice any sensations in your body?
Let go of expectations… seek to have a beginner’s mind
When you’re ready, reinfuse the leaves for a second steep. Let go of any expectations and instead seek to keep a beginner’s mind. Bring your awareness to what comes up for you as you sip this brew. How have the leaves changed? Notice whether your breathing has altered since you first started brewing your tea. Just observe what happens naturally without the need to force anything. As you continue to sip, slowly soften your face, neck, throat, shoulders, lung area, chest area and lower abdomen and take some deep cleansing breaths as you slowly exhale through your nose.
Notice where you feel a sense of calm or grounding and be aware you can reconnect to this moment any time you need to.
Bring your awareness back to the room and your tea as you take a moment to appreciate yourself and your tea. By creating space to pause for tea throughout your day and using your intuition to choose tea leaves that work for you and your current environment you’ll be able to rebalance your body and mind and ultimately start thriving and getting more out of life.
To bring this to life, I’m holding a free online Autumn Tea Meditation 6-7pm (UK time) on Tuesday 25 October 2022. Register here now for the zoom link as spaces are limited https://www.facebook.com/events/8056211994451956 No experience, skills or equipment necessary! You don’t even need to have your camera on. Hopefully see you there. Erica