Are you looking for a new self-care practice? Something peaceful and ritualistic you can do to unwind at the end of the day or start off your morning in the right frame of mind? A tea ceremony may be just the thing you’ve been looking for.
Chinese, Korean and Japanese people have been enjoying tea ceremonies for centuries, taking time to slowly prepare the perfect cup of tea before sitting down to mindfully enjoy their warming drink. Today, many people in the west have adopted this tradition as a way of bringing space and serenity into their day.
What is a Tea Ceremony?
A tea ceremony is essentially a ritualised process of making tea that originated in East Asia. Zen Buddhism played an important role in the creation of the tea ceremony, aligning the values of harmony, humility, self-transformation and spiritual awakening with the ritual of tea making.
The key to this practice is to make the preparation of the tea truly ceremonial, using certain tools and vessels to help ensure the taste of the tea is just so, as well as allowing time for each step of the process.
The values of Wabi Sabi (another Japanese life philosophy) also come into play during tea ceremonies, placing emphasis on inner, spiritual experiences; natural materials and ceramics inspired by the natural world; mellow beauty; stillness; and the perfectly imperfect nature of life.
Traditionally, a tea ceremony is a silent practice, allowing you time to be still and reflect while also taking great care during every step of the tea-making process.
How to create a Tea Ceremony at home
In Japan, tea ceremonies take place in a chashitsu (茶室 “tea room”), a space created specifically for this practice. These are often located in tranquil Japanese gardens which are designed to aid with meditation and calmness.
If you would like to bring this practice into your self-care routine, you may want to invest in a quality teapot and a new favourite mug and create a space in your home that can foster peace. This helps to make the ritual special and sacred and will allow this practice to be different from making your normal cup of tea or coffee. If you really want to feel like you’re in Japan, you could buy a tatami mat too, and sit on the floor while you prepare and drink your tea.
You’ll want to ensure you can enjoy the whole practice without being interrupted, so try to find a time when the kids are out or when you’ll be able to relax undisturbed.
If you want to create a true Japanese tea ceremony, then you’ll need to buy some authentic ceremonial-grade Matcha, a quality green tea known for its stress-reducing benefits.
Should I Practice a Tea Ceremony Alone or With Friends?
Tea ceremonies were traditionally a group practice, highlighting Japanese hospitality at its best. While it was still a slow and silent practice, hosts were able to calmly serve their guests and help them unwind from a busy day in the city.
You can therefore choose to practice a tea ceremony with a group of friends, or on your own as a personal ritual.
If you do practice with friends, try to remain silent throughout the process, seeing what thoughts and emotions arise during the ceremony. You can then choose to discuss this as a group afterwards, sharing with insights you gained or what emotions you felt while mindfully drinking tea.
Hopefully by now you’ll be able to see the beauty and benefits of enjoying a tea ceremony and will be waiting for a quiet time at home so you can give it a go. Let us know in the comments below if you try it. We’d love to hear your thoughts and what feelings and insights you experienced during the practise.