A Morning Ritual Made Better by Matcha
Whether you’re a morning person or not, having a mindful morning ritual can help you get your day get started on the right foot. People have been using the ritualistic preparation of matcha as a morning ritual for centuries. So, if you haven’t given it a try, it’s probably time to. Don’t know where to start? No problem. We’re here to walk you through it. It’s more about your mindset than it is about performing a certain set of actions, but what better mindset is there than when you’re about to have a fresh cup of matcha. If you wanna skip the history lesson, we can’t blame you. But, you can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been. And, we’re going to show you exactly where the matcha ritual has been.
The History of the Ceremony
Matcha was created and discovered by a monk during the Tang dynasty in China. But it wasn’t until the 1550s, when a Zen student named Murata Juko consolidated fragmented pillars of the tea ceremony, that it became an important ritual.
Juko’s tea ceremony formalized the cultivation and consumption of matcha, and was popularized by Zen master Sen-no-Rikyu. The four basic principles of the Japanese tea ceremony are Harmony, Respect, Purity, and Tranquility. The idea being that you remove yourself from your present surroundings and seek harmony through inner peace.
A traditional Japanese tea ceremony lasts about four hours and includes a meal. It is marked by a plain but peaceful setting and meticulously choreographed movements, all the way down to the hand positions. But, there are many ways to experience this sacred ceremony. One of which, is right in your own home. Whereas it was once an introduction to meditation or a spiritual experience, today a matcha ceremony can just be a way to step away from the fast pace of everyday life.
Not everyone is a morning person. In fact, morning people are quite a rare breed. So, chances are that you’re sitting here thinking “Why on earth would I wake up extra early just to drink some tea?” It’s a legitimate question, but we have an even more legit answer.
Scientific evidence suggests that what happens in the first few hours of your morning greatly impacts the rest of your day. In fact, studies show that morning people are more driven and set higher standards for themselves. Thankfully, you don’t have to necessarily wake up at the crack of dawn to set yourself up for success. Although if that’s your cup of tea, more power to you. Waking up early is great, but the important thing is making choices that set you up for a productive day. A morning matcha ritual is a great way to do that.
Aside from the centuries-old preparation practices, matcha is great for a morning meditation because of its unique properties. The dynamic duo of L-theanine and caffeine give your brain a sustained supply of energy without any jitters, perfect for a calm and focused but awake mind. L theanine promotes the production of relaxing alpha waves while caffeine gives your body that extra boost it needs to get moving in the morning. So, a morning meditation without matcha just seems fruitless.
Okay, Now How?
When people hear the word ritual, they often think of religious rituals, which is totally understandable. From communion to praying, many people have grown up practicing rituals. But, a ritual doesn’t need to have any religious association. In fact, a morning matcha ritual can be all about you and your experiences.
While there are certainly right and wrong ways to make matcha, once it’s made, there’s no wrong way to consume it. Some people throw it back like a shot of tequila while others sip on it like a cup of coffee. However, when you’re including matcha as part of a morning ritual, it’s important to be more mindful of your consumption. Now is the time to start your matcha mediation and think about the four basic principles of the Japanese tea ceremony.
The preparation of matcha is really quite simple. The matcha powder is quickly whisked, in a round bowl, into hot water. Traditional Japanese tea ceremonies have specific requirements for the equipment used. If you want to get as close as possible to a traditional ceremony, we recommend our starter kit. Not only does it contain ceremonial grade matcha, but also a Chasen (tea whisk) and a Chashaku (tea scoop). For a complete setup, you’ll also need a linen napkin and a tea bowl, but as we said, this is more about taking the time and using purposeful actions than it is about following a specific set of rules.
Tea ceremonies are usually done in Japanese gardens or scantily decorated rooms. These are calming, tranquil settings, ideal for mindful action. If you have a Japanese garden, certainly head out there, but otherwise, find a spot in your home that makes you feel at peace. For many people, this is outdoors or surrounded by plants, but if your kitchen is where you feel at peace, then head to the kitchen. We suggest having a tray or dedicated space of some sort for, specifically for this purpose. Have your matcha, whisk, bowl, and hot water ready to go. And, then simply make your matcha.
This may seem like a bare minimum ritual, and that’s because it is. There is no multitasking. A morning matcha meditation ritual should be a singular event where you are focusing solely on your actions and nothing else. When drinking the matcha, try to experience all of the different layers of its taste. Notice the smell, the shade of green. Pay attention to the sound your whisk makes as you stir up the powder or the splash of hot water pouring into the bowl. No screen, no mindless chattering, no planning the rest of your day. Just you, making matcha, and experiencing everything it has to offer.
Matcha- Your New Morning Ritual
Respect the ritual and find tranquility and harmony in these practiced movements. And that’s it. Although it’s extremely simple, anyone who has tried to meditate before, will tell you that clearing your mind is a difficult task. It’ll get easier the more you try, but just taking a few quiet moments to yourself in the morning will have the desired effect. Think of it as self-care, a healthy way to start your day, or however you want. Just taking the time to appreciate and acknowledge your surroundings, will set you up for a better day.