The benefits of tea – finding mindfulness in the city
In a city like Hong Kong, finding the time to sit back, relax and reflect is a luxury. Rarely do we get the chance to think about our life experiences, how they’ve effected us and what our place is in the world. So after an exhausting week, I agreed to try out a ‘Tea Meditation‘ at Luxe Nova.
Situated bang in the heart of Central on Wellington Street, Luxe Nova is a hidden oasis in the hustle and bustle of the city. Like so many hidden Hong Kong spots, Luxe Nova really surprised me when I got out of the cramped, old elevator and walked into the spacious studio. I immediately felt a sense of calm and there was a warm, welcoming feel to the whole place.
Now I’m not going to lie, I’m not a regular meditator. I can barely manage to do yoga once a month, so I went into the session fairly skeptical about my own ability to really ‘get into it’. The room was minimal but had gorgeous mandala paintings hung up on the wall, dim lighting and a couple of cushions on the floor. At this point I was doubting whether I could actually do it, but the desire to really switch off from a hectic week kept me going!
Before we started, Resham, who was leading the session, explained to me what ‘Cha Dao‘ is. Cha as we know means tea, and Cha Dao means ‘The Way of Tea’. It’s a tradition rooted in Daoism that aims to create a sense of ‘inner harmony and an awakened presence‘. After training in Taiwan, Resham explained how she had realised the importance of tea in her practice and how it truly acts a connecting factor to the earth and our universe. With my limited knowledge about meditation in general, I was feeling a bit out of my depth. However, I did like the idea that tea is from the earth, and an older tea is from an older plant with a deeper sense of history and time. At this point I was also asked to think about what my ‘medicine’ was throughout the session – what makes me happy and connected?
When the session started, we were each poured a cup of tea and sat in silence with gentle music playing in the background. Admittedly, I felt awkward. Was I doing this right? Am I supposed to just sit here? Should I close my eyes? Am I drinking my tea fast enough? But after around 10 minutes, I slowly started to switch off. Once I got over the fact that I was in a room, sitting there with my eyes closed, so aware of the other people there and surroundings, I started to feel quite relaxed. For me, it was all about getting over my self consciousness and nerves of whether I was ‘doing it right’. It took time, but then as I felt calmer I really started to reflect.
I felt so still and peaceful, and the tea tasted like the best tea in the world! I’m sure everyone’s experience is different and meditation can be a very personal thing, but I found my self thinking about different memorable moments throughout my life. It was like I was watching a film reel of these moments and everything was blending into one; all the good times and all the sad times were connected. I was shocked by what an emotional experience it was – there were some points when I even felt like crying. Believe me, I was seriously surprised by this!
At the end I was feeling so calm and peaceful; so much so that I had completely zoned out and only opened my eyes when the Resh and the other woman in the room softly spoke to each other. The session was finished and I hadn’t even realised. Who knew an hour could fly by just closing your eyes and drinking tea?!
I left feel so settled and relaxed but also energised – my eyes felt brighter and more alert and my cheeks were warm. I felt truly content and despite my initial skepticism, I’ll definitely be going back. That being said, I think each experience is personal. You’re dedicating time to reconnecting with yourself, and I’m not saying that this is everyone’s cup of tea (quite literally). But if you go with an open mind and a desire to reconnect and self-discover, then you could come away feeling far more mindful.
Luxe Nova Lifestyle Studio, 9F, V Plus, 68 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2898 0568 [email protected]