Way of Tea

Discovering the sacred in the ordinary, tea ceremony began more than two decades ago after giving up coffee cold turkey

Beyond the first two sips, I didn’t like the way coffee wired me, plugged my ears and left me with a mild jitter. Since I wasn’t privy to Swiss or German coffees (what I drink when traveling to those countries) on a regular basis, I no longer desired the beverage. Thus, tea ceremony filled its place.

Between the hours of 4 and 5 am a faint stir of anticipation awakens within. It lures me from any stage of sleep, a renewal of sorts in the subtlest of gestures, a purifying rite that promises an hour of precious solitude. Thus rises a new day blessed by tea ceremony, a personal custom of modern day tradition wherein the faculties of taste and touch are engaged.

Still and quiet

It begins with the tranquil sound of silence. Almost nothing pierces the air as I move about invisibly:  the rustling of bedding; barely audible commotion of clothing; crackle of waking joints after a night’s sleep and trickling of water are all kept to a minimum.

Scent and glow

Fire is nature’s way of illuminating a passageway into the new day. Thus, three organic candles are resurrected and placed around the kitchen to radiate their flickering aura and emit their cleansing aroma. The burning of aromatherapy oils welcomes serenity and resonates throughout; perhaps lavender, orange, peony or bergamont, depending upon my mood.

Ritual and ceremony

Straight from the tea fields of Kyoto, Japan, organic Matcha in all its purity is the only tea that agrees with my palate. The kettle is filled with purified water while the next three minutes are spent placing the porcelain tea bowl and bamboo chasen on a thin, white cloth. As the kettle quickly comes to a near-boil, a delicate scoop of Matcha sprinkles the bottom of the tea bowl like a fine powder. One hand slowly pours the steamy water into the bowl while the other vigorously whisks with precision held all in the wrist. Soon, the frothy goodness is ready for consumption as my mouth longs for the subtle taste of this powerful antioxidant. Modern times would have it that I enjoy my tea while checking email on my computer – a far cry from the more traditional Way of Tea in the Japanese culture. But it works for me, each and every ceremony more treasured than the last.

Harmony and ambience

Finally, the curtains are drawn to welcome the dawn and praise the sunrise. My blessed tea ceremony typifies a sacred passageway into a new day that imparts peace and balance.

Ayurvedic Shirodhara

The most divine of ancient Ayurvedic rituals, Shirodhara calms the mind and awakens the body’s intuitive knowledge.

It is profoundly relaxing and nourishing while improving mental clarity and comprehension. A continuous flow of warm, herbal oil is poured in a slow, steady stream onto the forehead awakening the third eye and crown chakras. Vata Dosha* is balanced. Shirodhara works on the cerebral system thereby relaxing the nervous system while balancing Praan Vaayu (life force energy) around the head. The entire face is rejuvenated as worry lines are softened. Shirodhara can reduce and relieve migraine headaches, wash away negative emotions and thought patterns, anxiety, restlessness, irritability and nervousness.

Be prepared to lie on your back and position your head beneath an oil ‘fountain’ which is actually a slow-flowing spout. You will be shrouded in warm towels as a mild massage begins, slowly replaced by the gentle flow of warm oil. You may gradually drift off into a deep sleep only to awaken as though you have rested an entire night. Time slows as your soul and scalp are nourished. The benefits of Shirodhara are enhanced with immediate following of traditional massage.