Thursday, March 5, 2015

An Evening Of Matcha And Meditation

At any given moment I have thoughts zipping through my brain, crisscrossing like train lines on a subway map. I use tea-focused moments to pause the commotion and mindfully taste the brew I've prepared. Tea and meditation pair up in a matcha meditation event at The Shinnyo Center I recently had the pleasure of attending. The event consisted of a Japanese tea ceremony, guided meditation, and a tasting of matcha with a sweet biscuit.

The tea ceremony was presented by members of the Urasenke Chanoyu Center (a place I've wanted to visit for years). Every movement had grace and intent, sending a wave of fluidity through the room. Watching each gesture I felt a flutter in my tummy. Respect, intention, mindfulness, gratitude. There is so much skill and knowledge needed in order to conduct a tea ceremony, it would take a lengthy article to discuss it all. This link gives a good overview. The matcha was whisked effortlessly yet with precision. I was hoping we'd learn more about the matcha served, but we were just told matcha from Kyoto was used. I wonder if it's from Ippodo?

After the ceremony we had a guided meditation with Qalvy Grainzvolt who led us through a 20 minute session where we started off with 'staircase breathing'. We took a breath for each count to 10, and down back to 1. After a few rounds I was very relaxed, and when it was time to visualize a pleasant place with warm sun, I felt my body getting warm, and even started sweating! Afterwards I felt lightness of mind but with a heavy relaxed body. Similar to how I feel after a yoga class but far more intense.

After our meditation we were given a Japanese sweet, also from Kyoto. It was thin and crispy with a nutty, bean-like flavor. It had a design that looked like a ginko leaf. We were instructed to eat the biscuit carefully, making sure any crumbs we created were wrapped in a small white paper (you can see it in the above picture). After the sweet, we all received an artful chawan with matcha. We were instructed to turn the chawan twice before observing and enjoying the tea. To learn more about the etiquette of the Japanese tea ceremony, please see this link. The matcha was light, smooth and subtle, with a wonderful frothy texture. As part of the etiquette, we were told to slurp the very last bits of tea in the bowl. This helped me get every last drop!

Qalvy explained that tasting the tea and the biscuit should be done as a walking meditation, which is basically meditation in action. We brought our awareness to every flavor and movement as we tasted. We examined how the tea interacted with our body. Bringing mindfulness to tea is something I try to do whenever I have a tasting session. It's hard to carve out time to do this, but even 5 minutes to observe, taste, and reflect brings more awareness to the day.

The Shinnyo center is offering two more matcha meditation sessions, March 17th and 31st at 7pm. The cost for the event is $20. You can find out more information and purchase tickets here.

Thank you so much to The Shinnyo center for inviting me to such a memorable evening. I look forward to deepening my meditation practice.


  1. Sounds like a restorative experience, Sara.
    I like all the teaware shown.

  2. In our daily lives, meditation can be very helpful in eliminating many physical and psychological problems. A significant amount of the disease we experience is actually either directly or indirectly the result of conflicts, repression, or emotional distress arising in the conscious or unconscious mind. Meditation helps us to become aware of these conflicts and to resolve them, establishing tranquility and peace. In this way, meditation becomes a powerful resource for facing the challenges of daily life.

    Meditation Light and Sound

  3. Well said! Meditation also has some traditional exercises to increase the power and flow of it.You will be very grateful after doing reiki regularly.
    Reiki Chennai