How Tea Can Change Your Life, According to Master Tsai of Coconut Grove's Zen Village
Believe it or not, there's more to tea than Oprah's Starbucks Teavana line. Tea's healing history dates back a whopping 5,000 years, and ancient wisdom suggests its influence can be life-altering.
All photos by Hannah Sentenac
This potential impact on our modern lives is what Master Tsai, of Coconut Grove's Zen Village, is looking to share with over-stressed, over-burdened Miamians.
The cozy, interfaith community center has a tea room, where Tsai leads tea ceremonies, pours steaming cups of aged blends and schools folks on proper teaware.
"It's not only to be used as a medicine to heal your body, but also to uplift your mind," says Tsai as she sits in one of Zen Village's cozy nooks, a delicate white teacup on the table before her.
In the age of the Yellow Empire, tea was the most precious gift, given from one ruler or luminary to another, Tsai explains. Lu Yu, known as the Sage of Tea, discovered that different leaves steeped in water had different properties that could affect your body.
Tea can help clear distractions -- assist with focus and concentration, Tsai says (skills that have fallen largely by the wayside in modern times). "They found the stability of mind; the peaceful state of mind was very valuable."
Nowadays, the practice of tea is equally as valuable, but drinking a cup of Lipton probably won't do it. Just any tea isn't going to bring all the benefits. The origin of tea, the variety, organic or not, who makes it, the teaware -- all of these elements are important, says Tsai.
"Through the tea ceremony or serving a cup of tea has a lot to do with how we prepare it. When we are doing the tea ceremony, it's more like a meditation -- how mindful you are serving a cup of tea," she explains. In other words, the energy you invest in the tea matters.