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Health, Wellness  |  3.5.2021  |  By S. Chen

Meditate With Tea Podcast (Episode 1): Belly Breathing


At Senbird, we want to inspire more moments of reflection and gratitude for a healthy and happy lifestyle. Just in time for March Mindfulness month, we are excited to bring you our new wellness-focused podcast series, “Meditate With Tea” to help you experience more mindful moments in every cup.

In this series, Arik Zeevy, a certified Korru Meditation coach, will be going through seven days of guided tea meditation practice. He is also a tennis coach at the Stevens Institute, and the author of Stranger in a New World and Arrive. In this first episode, hear from Sho Tasaki, co-founder of Senbird Tea on how tea can support your mindfulness practice.

white man drinking tea in white cup

Arik Zeevy, certified Korru meditation coach drinking Senbird TeaNew episodes will be released on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify on every Monday this month, with an early preview available on our blog.

“…drinking tea is actually an amazing and perfect opportunity to practice meditation and mindfulness. To just bring yourself to the present moment, and drink your tea and focus completely on the experience at hand is an act of meditation. And so this is where I would ask, you know, any listeners out there: When was the last time you drank a cup of tea, and did nothing else?” – Arik Zeevy

Pour yourself a cup of tea and relax as you listen to the first episode of “Meditate With Tea.”  In episode 1, Sho and Arik will speak about the positive impact of meditation and take you through a guided meditation practice using the belly breathing technique. A transcription is provided below as well to follow along. We hope you enjoy!

Transcription (Meditate With Tea, Episode 1):

ST  0:10  Welcome to Senbird’s meditate with tea podcast series. My name is Sho Tasaki, and I am your host today.

In this seven day practice, we have a special guest who will guide us through several unique meditation techniques in each episode. He’s a holistic coach certified by Korru, as a mindfulness teacher, and the author of Stranger in a New World, as well as Arrive.

Please welcome my good friend, Arik Zeevy. 

AZ  0:39  Thanks Sho. It’s great to be here.

ST  0:42  So Arik, meditation, and mindfulness have been the buzz words for the last few years. What are the benefits of meditation?

AZ  0:51  The scientific benefits of meditation, it helps us activate the parasympathetic nervous system in the body, which can help lower blood pressure, it can help with cortisol or stress levels. And, you know, most importantly, in my opinion, is that meditation allows us to live our lives more mindfully, and enjoy the little moments in life. And so if nothing else, I think that alone makes practicing meditation worth it.

ST  1:21  That’s fascinating. What are some of the ways you incorporate mindfulness in your life as the tennis coach at Stephens university? You mentioned to me that mindfulness is a big part of the program. How do you practice it with your student-athletes?

AZ  1:38  Yeah, so that’s been a fun, and actually very rewarding experience over the last few years, as a tennis coach at Stevens as introducing mindfulness to the student-athletes that I coach, and I would say that the, at the core of my philosophy is that anything in life can become an act of meditation.

You know, and in tennis, and in many sports, you hear a lot of coaches talk about mental toughness and mental strength and tennis is certainly a mentally tough sport, being one on one. And it’s so much about your ability to come back to the present moment to move on from mistakes, and not to dwell on the past. So you hear a lot of coaches say things like move on to the next point or have a short memory. And to me as a coach, meditation, and mindfulness is the tool we use to help us do just that. 

So we do a number of things in our practices. But the biggest thing is that we treat any activity that we are doing, whether it’s a gym workout, a tennis practice, or a video session as an act of meditation. And so really, anything in life can be an act of meditation.

ST  2:57  How can meditation and mindfulness be applied to other lifestyles and daily routines, such as yoga, or tea drinking?

AZ  3:05  So drinking tea is actually an amazing and perfect opportunity to practice meditation and mindfulness, to just bring yourself to the present moment, and drink your tea and focus completely on the experience at hand is an act of meditation. And so this is where I would ask, you know, any listeners out there:

When was the last time you drank a cup of tea and did nothing else? We’re not watching a movie, or doing any work, not even listening to music or podcasts. When was the last time that you just sat and enjoyed a cup of tea, and really noticed the tea?

One other quick anecdote I love from Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, is specific to drinking a cup of tea, where he, he talks about when you look deeply at a cup of tea, you see all non-tea elements in it, right, so you can see a cloud and you can see the fields where the tea leaves were grown, and the farmers that handle those tea leaves, and the truck and the truck driver that transported the leaves. And you basically can see that you’re holding a miracle in your hand. And that can only happen when you really drink that cup of tea, with mindfulness. 

ST  4:28  You really captured the feelings and thoughts I experience when I meditate with tea. My daily morning practice always starts with a cup of Sencha green tea. At Senbird, mindfulness is at the core of our philosophy. We want to share good tea and inspire more moments to practice mindfulness.

So tell me, Arik, what kind of meditations will you be taking us through?

AZ 5:01  So we are going to go through seven meditations in the series. And there will be a number of different styles and types of meditation from diaphragmatic, or belly breathing, to body scan to gatta, or mantra meditation. So there are really different types. And these are all meditations that are taught in Koru mindfulness, which is the certification that I have. And the goal of teaching the different types of meditation is that everybody’s different. So what works for you may not work for me, and vice versa. The only big thing I would encourage anyone out there to do is to approach each one with an open mind and without judgment, and just observe what comes up for you and, and what resonates with you.

ST  5:48  Thank you, Arik. We will now begin the first episode of belly breathing. 

–Meditation Starts Here–

AZ  5:54  

Welcome to Sunbird’s meditation with tea podcast series, we hope you experience a moment in every cup. 

In today’s episode, I will be introducing belly breathing or diaphragmatic breathing. This will be a 10 minute guided meditation. And first I invite you to find a comfortable position in your chair. And unlike the other meditation skills, we will be going over in this series, for belly breathing, you can feel free to lie down, scoot back in your chair if you’re in a chair, and just find a nice comfortable position. If you have brewed a cup of tea. Before joining us today. I invite you to pause at any moment during the meditation. Open your eyes, and enjoy a sip before bringing your attention gently back to your breathing. So now I’m going to invite the sound of the bell and begin belly breathing.

I invite you to gently close your eyes and place one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly. And we are just going to get familiar with the way our bodies naturally breathe. So we have one hand on our chest. One hand on our belly and just breathing normally. just noticing whether the hand on your chest or the hand on your belly moves more as you breathe.

If your chest hand moves more, that may suggest that you are an unnatural chest breather, which many people are and that is perfectly fine. It just means it may take a little more practice to begin using your belly. So now I invite you to place both hands on your belly. So we take our top hand off the chest and put both hands on the belly. And we’re going to work on beginning to breathe using our belly or our diaphragm. So as you breathe in, gently push your belly out as best you can. So that your hands rise up with each in-breath. And then let your hands sink gently back down. As you breathe out. may help to imagine a balloon being blown up in your belly as you breathe in. Just feel your hands riding up and down with each breath.

If you’re not used to breathing with your belly, this can often feel like a struggle or like you’re forcing your belly out Just remember, this is a new practice. And it’s totally normal to feel that way. Just take nice, long, slow, and deep breaths, gently pushing your belly out on each in-breath.

If you feel your mind wandering, and thoughts coming in, just remember that’s what minds do. So when you notice your mind wandering, maybe you’re thinking you’re doing this wrong or you don’t feel anything. Just simply bring your attention back to the feeling of your hands on your belly, riding up and down with each breath.

If you’re struggling, you can also try slowing and deepening your breath by counting slowly up to three or four as you breathe in. So we are going to take a few minutes now to practice observing the sensation of our hands rising and falling with each breath.

Again, if you feel your mind wandering, or experience any resistance to the practice, I invite you to gently bring your attention back to our anchor, which is the sensation of our hands rising up and down with each breath.

This concludes today’s meditation. And before you go, I invite you to commit this level of awareness and mindfulness to your tea drinking today. And in doing so, we hope you experience a moment in every cup.

How was our first episode? We’d love to hear your feedback. Please comment your thoughts or write to us at hello@senbirdtea.com! Tag us on Instagram using #senbirdtea or @senbirdtea.

For more about Arik (@lionwolflotus), visit lionwolflotus.com.

 

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