Breathing Tea in Colorado
Visiting friends and interviewing the best of the best in Denver and Boulder, Colorado.
Much to do about everything
I always knew I needed to make my way to Colorado. I have good friends there who offered to put me up and there is so much to see and experience.
Both Denver and Boulder are my kind of cities. Active lifestyles and emphasis on clean food and getting clean air.
I also had some important interviews to do for the book including meeting the renowned Taylor Sisters whose flagship Pilates Center (in Boulder) has inspired thousands of Pilates teachers with their teaching and online material, all around the world .
On this day, I was disorganised and had not done my breath work or meditation so I took the opportunity visiting the slopes to do a session. I found myself frustrated with the crowds knowing finding a quiet place to breath was out of the question.
Or was it?
I took in my environment. Breath of Fire would have been great to heat up my body but it was only so long before someone may call the police or ambulance for the 'random' man breathing like a lunatic on the slopes so I chose something much more 'regular' and yet magnificent.
Choosing to Breathe my Tea
Mindfulness teaches us to pay attention and focus using all of our senses. It helps to direct the mind into conscious actions releasing the bind of habit and impulse. I made a choice to wrap myself up in a blanket from the car, purchase a mint tea and spend the next 10 minutes doing the following breath:
A simple breath bringing the art of mindfulness into an everyday moment. Perfect if you are out in the cold and have given yourself a few minutes to enjoy a warm beverage. (Be mindful of how hot the water is!) It is great to be able to hold the tea so either wear a pair of suitable gloves, wrap a sweater around it or wait for it to cool a little before handling it) Choose a tea you like the smell of or find intriguing. Avoid coffee or hot chocolate as these can set off receptors in your body that excite the system due to the learnt response of your body to these beverages.
Seated on the floor/in a chair enabling you to be upright, place the tea on the floor/table in front of you.
1. Away from the tea, close your eyes and take in a gentle but full inhale through your nose. Hold your breath for 2-3 seconds before letting the air come out, heated by your body, in a 'haa' exhale (without the noise). At your own pace continue in this way for 5 breaths. Open your eyes slowly.
2. Let your face move forwards hovering your nose over the steam rising from the mug. Close your eyes once you feel in a position that is comfortable. Continue the above breath, letting the inhale bring the warmth and scent to be savoured by your body. Let your exhale breathe hot and humid air back into the steam. Notice the changes in sensation between the two. Without judgement or expectation let your sensory experience expand. What details do you notice? Repeat for 10 breaths.
3. Feel free to experiment with your own creativity changing details of the breath. These might include the pace of inhalation, holding breath of different lengths or using the mouth as well as the nose. You may even use your hands to cover your ears, dulling the noise around you. Notice the differences in sensation and strength of smell with each. Also try holding your breath for varied periods. Repeat for 10 breaths.
4. With your palms, take hold of the mug allowing the heat to percolate through the skin. Bringing the tea close to you. Feel how blood from your hands has collected warmth as it travels up your arms. How far does this heat go? Does it change?
5. Take another breath in before letting the 'haa' exhale disturb the steam as you bring the mug to your lips.
6. Take a sip, keeping the warm liquid in your mouth. Let it swirl gently around before swallowing.
7. Take a breath in noticing how drinking has changed the sensation.
8. Repeat until you have finished/have had enough tea.
9. Complete this breath by placing the mug back on the table. Reconnect with your body whilst seated, shut your eyes and as you breathe naturally, take in how your body has been moved by the experience.
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