We love to feature the stories of our customers and advocates. Today we are hearing from Istvan who writes at thestresschannel.com. Istvan specialises in managing Stress and he uses Matcha Green Tea to help. Over to Istvan:
"I know what you might be thinking… After reading about all the amazing benefits of Matcha, such as heart disease and cancer prevention, lowering cholesterol and increasing weight loss efforts, now it can even be used for meditation…
Believe it or not, this isn’t a new discovery.
Buddhist monks in Japan have been using Matcha tea for some centuries, exactly for this reason. They realized that drinking the green tea powder before the practice, enhanced their efforts.
How is this possible?
As you might know from previous articles on this blog, the green powder is abundant in L-theanine and also contains caffeine.
L-theanine is a really amazing compound and interestingly enough, it also has a fascinating interaction with caffeine.
According to this research, L-theanine slows down the absorption of caffeine in the body. However, next to balancing out the absorption rate it also has a calming effect, which helps to avoid the jitteriness that comes after the effects of caffeine is gone. Something that coffee drinkers are well aware of.
This results in a highly aware, however calmer state. A perfect mental state when it comes to meditation.
Next to this calming effect, research also found that L-theanine can improve cognitive functioning and alertness.
‘In what way can then Matcha actually improve my meditation efforts?’ – you might ask
First of all, many of us (including me) tend to fall asleep while we are meditating. This can be for several reasons, for example you get too relaxed or you are too tired to begin with, after a long day of work.
Drinking Matcha can help in avoiding this, because you are more aware, less sleepy and can stay present easier.
Another benefit of this ‘aware state’ is that you can keep better focus. If you ever tried meditation, you are more than likely experienced your mind wandering while meditating.
This also is a common experience for many of us, especially if you are beginner. Your mind is very active and it’s normal that it takes time to unwind.
Matcha however helps me in calming down my mind and keeping a clearer head, while meditating. I can focus easier, without less interruptions.
What type of meditation or relaxation exercise should you use?
If you decide to give this a shot, your options are limitless, when it comes to meditation or relaxation techniques. Matcha works with everything in my experience. Well, everything I tried so far. :)
Below I will share with you one of my favorite relaxation exercises, but I encourage you to experiment.
You can find some nice breathing exercises here
My personal favorite relaxation exercise is called Dream Place relaxation. In this exercise, once you relax your mind, you visualize a place which makes you feel relaxed and happy. It goes like this:
- Find a comfy couch or bed where you can lay down. No special pose is necessary, whatever feels comfortable.
- Close your eyes and start taking deep breaths. Breath in from your lower abdomen and fill up your lungs gradually.
- With every exhale, count down 3…2…1.
- Repeat this, 3 to 5 times, until you feel more present in the moment.
- Now start imagining a place, which could be described as your favorite place or dream place. It can be anything from a mountain top, to a white sandy beach with blue water.
- Imagine this place vividly. The colors, the sounds that you might hear, the scents that touch your nose, the wind that hits your cheeks, etc.
- Once you found your place, keep visualizing it and enjoy the moment.
o Usually I imagine laying down in this place, but you can imagine sitting or walking around.
- Once you feel that you have relaxed enough, gently tell yourself that you will soon open your eyes. Once you do, you will feel relaxed, refreshed and happy.
- Count from 1 to 3 an open your eyes.
Some tips for the exercise:
- Set an alarm for 10 or 15 minutes, as a gentle reminder to finish the exercise. Set a calming alarm, not something loud. I like using the sound of wind chimes.
- If your mind happens to wonder away, try bringing it back gently to your dream place. Focus on taking deep breaths.
- If it’s hard to concentrate in the beginning, you can try guided meditation. Sometimes it helps to listen to someone else’s voice. You can find many good ones on YouTube, just search for ‘guided meditation’ or ‘guided relaxation’.
When to use Matcha green tea to meditate and relax?
For me there are two times during the day when I like to use Matcha for meditation and relaxation.
First one is right before leaving to work. If I drink a cup right before leaving home, by the time I get on the train (in around 30 minutes), the effects of Matcha starts kicking in and I can have a wonderful relaxation session while on the train.
It really makes a word of difference to your day if you arrive to your work calm and relaxed, instead of stressing the heck out and thinking on all your to-dos on the train already.
If you don’t have much time and don’t want to do a full-blown meditation technique, you can just use breathing exercises. They are super handy and can be done in a few minutes.
My second favorite time is in the evening. It’s a great way to relax after a long day.
When I get home, I just make a cup of Matcha tea and drink it straight away. Until the effects of Matcha kick in, I do a few chores like washing the dishes or start preparing the dinner.
After 30-40 minutes, I lay down on the couch and do my relaxation exercise. Once I am done, I feel refreshed and ready to make dinner and have a nice evening.
I hope these tips and examples will help you to enjoy a cup of Matcha and improve your meditation and relaxation practices.
Share your experience with meditation in the comments below! Maybe they can help others as well. :)
Relax and be well,
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