Healing, prevention and a long life The sciences of yoga and Ayurveda encompass what is likely the oldestsystem of medicine in the world that is still known today. It is believed to have been created over 5,000 years ago by Indian Rishis (Sanskrit: seer,sage) and was recorded in writing for the first time in the Vedas(sacred texts of India) circa 1500 BCE. It refers to the naturalsecret of healing, prevention of illness and a long life. This holistic system of medicine includes the use of medicinal herbs inteas and ointments. Massage, meditation andphysical exercise are other extremely effective components. Yoga can be considered a part ofAyurveda.
Drinking tea is meditative
Drinking tea consciously - using all five senses - can become a wonderful form of meditation andan oasis of energy in hectic day-to-day life. Let this guide to meditation lead youinto the here and now. Maybe you'll take away some ideas to think about thenext time you go through your own tea ritual:Drinking tea as a form of mindfulness meditation: This means heightening your awareness of what is and simplytaking it in without judgment. Grab your favourite tea and beginto concentrate fully:
"Focus all your attention on what you perceive at this moment. The mug of tea in your hands. How does it feel? What is the mould and colour of the mug out of which the steam from your favourite tea is rising? Listen to the moment. What can you hear? Silence, or are there noises? Turn your attention to the surface of the liquid in your mug. What colour is it? Does it smell like anything? Maybe you'd like to blow on the surface of the tea before drinking it. Observe how the water begins to ripple. Take a few deep breaths through your nose before taking the first sip. Then lift the mug to your mouth and feel how the warm aroma reaches your lips and, eventually, the taste buds on your tongue. How does it feel? Warm? Soft? What can you taste? Are there any nuances in flavour that only develop after you hold the tea in your mouth for a moment? Is there an aftertaste? What does it remind you of? ... while drinking this special cup of tea, try to focus your concentration on what your senses are perceiving at this moment. After the last sip, breathe deeply through your nose once more. How do you feel now?"
Yoga poses for your personal tea ritual
Any health-conscious person knows that prevention is always better than cure; whynot integrate this special knowledge into your daily routine immediately, in a practical way? You often don't need much time at all, as long as you take full advantage of the little breaks in day-to-day life and use them meaningfully. In cooperation with yoga teacher Sadagati Maike Jung, we'd like to motivate tea lovers all around the world to do something good for themselves by integrating short - but very effective - yoga poses into their personal tea rituals.
1. This sequence of poses revives your spirits in the morning, activates your inner fire andkeeps the body young and full of energy.
Instructions: Stand upright and relaxed. Legs are slightly apart, feet parallel. Arms are by your ears. The palms of your hands touch and your fingers are intertwined. Stretch your whole body as much as possible. Imagine your intertwined fingers want to touch the ceiling and push your feet down into the ground below you. When you next exhale, tilt your torso to the right. Feel the stretch in the left side of your body. When you inhale, return to the starting position. On your next exhalation, tilt your torso to the left and feel the stretch in the right side of your body. While breathing in, return your body to the starting position and then exhale. When you next inhale, bend backwards from your upper back; when you exhale, bend forwards from the hips. If you can, touch the ground with your hands. Inhale, straighten up and stretch. This is one round. You should go through at least 5 rounds. Then lower your arms and, with your eyes closed, take a moment to pay attention to how your body feels.
2. This sequence of poses rejuvenates the spirit, wakes you up and increases the flow of oxygen to your brain.
Part 1: Sit on your heels and cross your arms in front of your body so that your right hand is on your left shoulder and your left hand on your right shoulder. Round your back and tilt forward a little. Exhale. When the impulse to inhale arrives, straighten up, lift your buttocks, open your arms widely as if you're trying to embrace the whole world and arch your ribcage upwards as far as you can. Upon exhaling, cross your arms again, lower your buttocks and bend forwards. Repeat this movement at least 5 times. (Tip: If you cannot or do not want to sit on your heels, you can sit on a stool.)
Part 2: Sit on your heels (or a stool) with a straight back and lay your palms on your shoulders so that your elbows face outwards at shoulder height. On your next exhalation, twist to the right and look gently over your right shoulder. Inhaling, turn back to the middle. When you exhale, turn to the left. Do this at least 5 times on each side.
Part 3: Sit upright and motionless on your heels (or a stool). Close your eyes and look inwards at the point between your eyebrows. Take 5 deep, conscious breaths. Open your eyes and devote yourself to the tasks of the day with renewed energy.
3. This sequence of poses revitalizes and reminds you of your own inner strength.
Stand upright and relaxed. Legs are slightly apart, feet parallel. Arms are at your sides, palms turned outwards. Inhale and lift your arms to the sides until your palms touch over your head. (When lifting your arms, imagine you're pushing through invisible resistance.) Hold your breath and slowly tilt to the left and then to the right. Return your body to the middle and exhale while lowering your arms to the sides. Go through at least 3 rounds. Then simply stand for a moment, close your eyes and pay attention to how your body feels.
4. These poses calm your mind and nerves and prepare you for a restorative night.
Version 1: This is a pose for winding down; you can do it (nearly) anywhere without much preparation. Find a table and position yourself about half a metre from the table. Open your legs so that you're in a straddling pose and make sure that the outer edges of your feet are parallel. Keeping your back as straight as possible, bend forwards from the hips and place your forehead on the table. You can put one hand on top of the other and place both under your forehead. Remain in this position without moving for at least 10 deep breaths. If there's no table nearby, grab your elbows with your hands and let your relaxed torso hang down towards the ground.
Version 2: If you have a wall and a pillow, this pose can work wonders. Postures in which the heart is higher than the head are extremely regenerative and balancing. Lie in front of the wall, as close as possible. Place the pillow under your buttocks, stretch your legs upwards and lean your feet against the wall. Remain in this position for at least 10 deep breaths.