Tea, book and the nook…..

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
C.S. Lewis

I recently read an article in the January/February issue of “Whole Living” magazine.  The article was entitled “The Art of The Nook.”  It was all about creating a personal space of your own within your home.  A cozy place that is tucked away where you can go to read, think or just enjoy a few quiet moments away from the world.  I have always been a huge fan of “the nook.”  Whether I realized it at the time or not, nearly every place I’ve lived I have always carved out a little space that was away from the computer, tv or anything else that can be a distraction.  It was a place of downtime and I mainly used this space to take a cup of tea and a good book.  I encourage everyone to find that special “nook.”  My favorite has always been an outdoor patio.  There is something so intensely satisfying to be within nature and enjoying all of the beauty she has to offer.

Hollywood hills "nook"

 

 

 

 

 

 

I picked up a copy of “Death by Darjeeling” written by Laura Childs.  I look forward to cuddling up with a hot cup of Darjeeling and my favorite reading companion:)

my trusty companion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

new book

 

 

 

 

 

 

delish tea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

= bliss:)

 

 

What to do when you brew

To brew a proper cuppa it takes a bit longer than your average tea bag, however the results are so much more fulfilling.  When brewing my favorite morning tea- chai, it can be steeped anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes and because it is a black tea the water should be completely boiled (about 212 degrees.)

What this means is an average of 10 to 15 minutes of your morning is spent making this warm, spicy elixir. Somewhat of a luxury for a girl on the go!  And you know what they say; a watched kettle never boils:)

Always looking for a way to multitask, I’ve been doing a mini yoga routine while preparing chai tea.

  1. Start in Tadasana– take a few deep cleansing breaths
  2. Inhale arms up over head and exhale down by your side (do several to warm the body)
  3. With feet hip width apart- move into gentle side stretches– move slowly from left to right.  Remember to breath, inhale left arm up and exhale stretch to the right side, while right arm travels down side of the body.  *Repeat on other side (again, do several to warm the body up)
  4. Mini sun salutations– Repeat step “2,” only this time include a forward fold.  Let the head drop below the heart, grab opposite elbows, sway and move hips while you gloriously drink in the lower back stretch you will receive.  (Repeat a few rounds)
  5. If you are feeling warmed up, delight the upper body with a fulfilling shoulder stretch.  This can be gomukasana arms, eagle arms or interlace hands behind the back and lower the body forward, stretching the arms up overhead.  Rolling the shoulders back to receive the shoulder stretch.

Be sure to set a timer so you don’t become too absorbed in the relaxation of yoga and forget about your tea:)

Tea tips

  • For Black Tea– boil water (205- 212 degrees)
  • Pour a bit of water over the leaves to “wake” them up- swirl and pour out the water.
  • With leaves “awake” fill tea pot with boiling water
  • Set timer (black chai- 5-10 minutes or more if so desired – I’ve been loving Elmwood Inn’s Indian Chai)
  • Pour in a cup – add a touch of honey and your favorite milk product ( I love almond milk with mine!)
  • Drink in the joy of starting your day off right!

Sweet Dreams…..

Lately, I have been hearing from many friends of their inability to sleep at night.  There are times in my life where I’ve had bouts of insomnia as well as being someone who suffers from anxiety (should explain my yoga and tea connection:)  In these situations I’ve always tried to take a more natural approach to healing my body whenever possible.  I am not a doctor or a holistic healer by trade, however, I’d like to share a few things which have helped me when I’m finding it hard to snuggle up at night and get a restful sleep.  As always, go by what your body tells you and do your own research into the matter and if you have a doctor/natural practitioner who you trust consult he/she as well.

TEA

In the later part of the evening I usually try to avoid caffeine or a tea with very low caffeine content, some alternatives which are naturally caffeine free to try would be an herbal infusion or a Rooibos tea.

Chamomile an herb which has a long history as a relaxant as well as other health benefits.

Valerian Root was recommended to me last year when I was having a lot of trouble sleeping.  I swear by this herb.  I take the Gaia brand capsule.  I haven’t found the ingredient in tea as of yet but I’m sure it must exist:)

Lavender is another “magic” herb for me!  I keep Aura Cacia Lavender calming oil in my bedside table.  I sniff it or place a couple of drops behind my ears.  Lavender also pops up in many tea infusion.

Many tea blenders are beginning to also recognize the connection between yoga and tea and are coming up with their own unique blends.

Elmwood Inn Fine Teas– has recently launched their Ayurvedic Blends.  Which are low caffeine, soothing teas that promote relaxation.

http://store.elmwoodinn.com/search.aspx?find=ayurvedic+tea

I also keep a variety of Yogi Teas around.  One of my favorites is the Yogi Tea Bedtime tea.

http://www.yogiproducts.com/

***When looking for a “tea” keep in mind that any blend which contains the tea-plant, “camellia sinensis” will have caffeine, unless it specifically states that it is caffeine free, decaffeinated or low caffeine.

Yoga

One of my favorite yoga poses to promote a calm mind which in turn helps with sleep is legs up the wall.

photo courtesy of Yoga Journal

Also a great article I have come across in Yoga Journal giving some tips to help with calming the mind and having a peaceful night sleep.

http://www.yogajournal.com/dailyinsight/yjnl_20110217.html?utm_source=homepage&utm_medium=site&utm_campaign=dailyinsight

And if all else fails.. snuggle up with your favorite sleeping companion:)

The day to honor our hearts….

Today is Valentine’s day.  As a little girl, before boys even entered the picture, my mother would take me to Drug Fair and let me pick out a packet of Valentine’s day cards.  You know the ones.. the little single cards that you buy in bulk for the entire classroom.  As the years have passed and boys have entered the picture, I still reminisce about a simpler time when Valentine’s day was a special day for everyone not just those who have partners in life.  So in honor of a simpler time, I wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day!

In yoga practice we often honor our fourth chakra called Anahata Chakra (heart) with various stretches that open our chests and hearts to the possibility of wholeness and boundless love.  Honor your little ticker with a few heart opening stretches.  One of my favorites is bridge pose (http://www.yogajournal.com/video/145)  Continue rewarding yourself with a bit of dark chocolate and a cup of Lover’s Leap tea.  Lover’s Leap is a gorgeous black tea with a fascinating history from “Lover’s Leap Tea Estate in Sri Lanka.  I have mine courtesy of Tea 4 U,  http://www.tea4u.com/

And as Confucius says,

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.

 

Sanctuary T and a day in the city….

I headed to New York City yesterday, or as it’s known to us East Coasters, “The City.”  I spent the day with my fabulous California girl Sunny!  We walked from her Tudor City hideaway to the very chic “Sanctuary T Restaurant” located in Soho.  It was quite a brisk day in the city with temps hovering around 30 degrees, warming ourselves in a cozy tea lounge was exactly what the day called for!

Sanctuary T is really lovely, cozy and not a doily in sight!  They offer a full menu for breakfast, lunch, dinner as well as wine and tea infused cocktails.  The menu is also themed with “tea” infused, health conscious choices.  After much internal debate, I settled on the smokey steak salad with the lapsang vinaigrette  – DELISH!  I finished my brunch with a cup of Toasted Almond tea and the uber yummy house made peanut butter ice cream sandwich.  Their tea menu is extensive and it was such a tough decision.  However, the toasted almond came highly recommended.  The smell was so fragrant and the infused leaves beautiful, it really worked well as a dessert tea.  I regretfully left the restaurant empty handed of a tea purchase.

If ever in Soho and need a respite from the busy streets of NYC, grab a bite and a cup of tea at Sanctuary T!

http://www.sanctuaryt.com/

 

Yoga Ayurveda – Tea Season

There is nothing more comforting than to curl up with a good cup of tea on a cold, dreary winter day.  The yoga journal article below gives wonderful suggestions for the types of tea to drink for whatever ails you during the winter months.  The tea recipes are taken from the Ayurvedic tradition which seeks to keep the body and mind in balance with nature and keep disease and poor health at bay with prevention.

One herb that has been getting a lot of buzz is the Indian herb Tulsi or holy basil.  The herb is said to aid in detoxification, it’s rich in antioxidant and also known for its restorative powers.  My good friend Deb suggests the “Organic India,  Sweet Rose Tulsi.”  Tulsi can also be purchased in bulk to create your own healthy blends.

Yoga Journal – Yoga Ayurveda – Tea Season.

Tulsi herb

 

 

Organic India tulsi tea

 

 

 

Enjoy a cup to good health!

 

Anne of Green Gables and Tea

I’m re-reading “Anne of Green Gables” by L.M Montgomery (yet) again!  I love the book and I also adore the Canadian miniseries that was adapted from the book featuring Megan Follows.  Anne is one of the most celebrated young heroines in literature (with a very close second, “Jo” of “Little Women” fame) and she is such an incredible role model for young girls.

I am at the part of the book where, Anne invites Diana to Tea with tragic results.  Diana essentially gets drunk off of currant wine as opposed to drinking afternoon tea.  I look forward to having an “Anne of Green Gables” day to celebrate my favorite little literature orphan!

If you have never read or watched “Anne” please do!  Be sure to enjoy with a lovely cup of black currant tea and celebrate the genius of L.M Montgomery!

    

Friday Zen

Today while in yoga class as I was trudging through some hip openers and realizing just how tight my hips were feeling on this given day, my mind wandered to Rumi.  Not that Rumi induces tight hips but tight hips generally mean there is some emotional baggage that we are hanging on to.  Hips become tight when emotions are held within us and not allowed to flow through us.  Earlier this week I came across one of my favorite poems by Rumi, “The Guest House.”  Maybe you’ve read it or maybe this is your first time reading it, but for me the message is clear.  So if you are having a “tight” hip day, pour a cup of tea and remember as Rumi reminds us, Every day is a new arrival.

Cheers to Friday!

 

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

 

— Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks

Welcome!

Thank you for visiting my new blog.  Please “follow” and enjoy the evolution I hope takes shape in the following pages.  The intention of this blog is to create a platform for yoga and tea.  Whether it is an article on health, a new yoga studio or a recent tearoom visit, short meaningful posts that hopefully bring a bit of insight, inspiration or respite from an otherwise chaotic world!

 

There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea.  ~Bernard-Paul Heroux