Last week’s Mindful Friday fell after Halloween! Since there are usually more tricks than treats at school the day after Halloween, we decided to keep things low key with tea! The history of drinking tea dates back to ancient China, almost 5,000 years ago! According to legend, in 2732 B.C. Emperor Shen Nung discovered tea when leaves from a wild tree blew into his pot of boiling water. He was immediately interested in the pleasant scent of the resulting brew, and drank some. Legend says the Emperor described a warm feeling as he drank the intriguing brew, as if the liquid was investigating every part of his body.
To nurture our curiosity, and decompress from the fast paced night before we had some mindful tea drinking time. We started by holding our cups with two hands, and just noticing how it felt to hold our tea cups. The kids noticed it was warm on our hands. We continued to move through our senses; smelling out tea, looking at the color and how the light reflected on the water, noticing if we could see our reflection, listening to hear if our tea made a noise, putting our faces above the cups to feel the heat on our face, noticing how the steamy air felt in our nostrils, blowing gently on the tea to feel how it changed the temperature and made ripples on the water. We did all this and more before the tea even touched our lips!
When our tea was cool enough to drink we started just by taking the smallest sip, and noticing how it felt on our lips and the taste that entered our mouth. This batch of peppermint tea had a fair amount of honey in it, so the kids instantly noticed the tea’s sweetness at the tip of their tongue! They also noted that they could feel the tea on the insides of their cheeks, the roof of their mouth, and other places of the tongue. As we swallowed we noticed the path the tea took down the back of our throats. Many of the kids said it made their throat feel warm and smooth. Others also noticed they could feel a warm, full feeling in their stomach.
As a class we talked briefly about how drinking tea has been around as a practice for thousands of years, and how it connects us to the people of the past and our friends in the present. We also acknowledged the work that the farmers, the bees, the tea packaging facility workers, and market put into making the tea available for me to buy at the store. We made sure to give a special thanks to all beings involved in making our tea time possible.
A friendly bat visited our classroom to teach the kids how to do a “bat breath”. We started with our “wings” down by our sides. Breathing in we gently raised both our hands up, breathing out we slowly flapped our wings back down again. Just like a bat flies softly through the night, we took as many calm bat breaths as we needed. Lifting our arms up gently on the inhale, lowering them back down on the exhale.
Mindfulness at Home
Be a detective and have your own tea time at home! See how many things you can notice about your tea in a scientific way. All the sensory experience of tea without any of the judgement. It is also fun to try a variety of teas and see how they are different or similar!