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How can tea meditation help in improving your mental health?


Meditation in itself is said to be a practice that calms the mind and reduces stress over time by focusing on your breathing for about five to 10 minutes.

For some people, especially beginners, the concept of meditation is pretty overwhelming and hard to follow, especially without proper guidance. This is the reason why Rachel Ngan Dueñas, one of the few tea sommeliers in the country, held a tea meditation ceremony last weekend at The Farm at San Benito.

Much like meditation in general, tea meditation is the practice of mindfully preparing yourself a cup of tea, away from all the distractions, while still focusing on your breathing.

Through this practice, you will reap the many benefits of drinking tea and, in the process, gain peace of mind and calm energy from meditation. It's like hitting two birds with one stone.

According to a study by Yale psychologists in 2008, those who experience personal warmth are likely to radiate interpersonal warmth. The study also showed that participants who briefly held a cup of hot beverage were more likely to perceive others as more generous and caring.

This study proves that while we don't physically see it, drinking a hot cup of tea improves a person's mental health besides its scientifically proven benefits, like boosting one's immune system and fighting inflammation, among others.

Rachel's version of tea meditation begins by encouraging participants to get comfortable with their seats, then unclenching their jaws and relaxing their shoulders. Once you're in the zone, you may close your eyes and silence your thoughts while thinking of wishes or manifestations for yourself.

Those wishes can be as simple as getting a good night's sleep, finding peace of mind amidst the noise, or even bigger manifestations like finding your path or making it through your personal struggles.

Once you decide on the things you wish for yourself, you may begin mindfully preparing your cup of tea in silence. This will serve as your meditative state as you work on just being present and nothing else.

After preparing your cup of tea, you may begin waking up your senses by smelling the aroma of the tea, feeling the hot sensation oozing from your cup, and sipping on the tea slowly and carefully. With every sip of tea, claim whatever you wish for yourself as if it's already your reality, and feel that manifestation spread throughout your body.

"When people think of tea meditation, they initially [perceive] it [as something] fancy, but really, it's just mindfully preparing a tea for yourself," Rachel told GMA News Online.

According to Rachel, tea meditation is for everybody, but more so for those with a busy schedule.

"I do this for people who have a million things to do and are always thinking of their next move," she said.

"I do this for people to realize that you actually have to make time, even if it's just 10 minutes for yourself, so that the more you are rested, the more you allow yourself to have proper thoughts," she added.

Rachel received her tea sommelier certification from the International Tea Masters Association, which is considered the global standard in tea education.

She has been conducting tea meditation classes online and offline, as well as working as a consultant for several bars and holding workshops about the basics of tea.

Aside from being a tea sommelier, Rachel is also a painter. She has a solo exhibit dubbed "Healing With Arts" at the Farm at San Benito, which is available for viewing until June 30.

—MGP, GMA Integrated News

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