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Finding Balance: The Power of Tea

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Jennifer Russo

In many places in Europe, there is a tea time in the late afternoon, where people take a break from their day to sip a cup of tea and enjoy a few sweet or savory snacks. In Asia, there are ceremonies dedicated to the serving of tea and the leaves have also been used for medicine. As a matter of fact, next to water, tea is the most commonly consumed drink in the entire world. In some belief systems, it is thought that tea leaves can even predict your future. 

Though tea time is not ritually observed in America (perhaps because of that Boston Harbor situation), there is something to be said about a warm, soothing cup of tea any time of day. What makes tea so special though, is not only the way it tastes, but the many uses of it to calm, heal, invigorate, and nourish us.

There are five “true teas” and these have different benefits to our bodies:

Black Tea 
This tea is what Europeans prefer, with a strong, somewhat bitter taste. Many people add milk and sugar to the tea to sweeten it. Studies show that it can lower cholesterol and high blood pressure. Chai tea is made using black tea, and adding cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and milk.

Green Tea 
Originating in China, green tea has a milder and almost citrusy character. Green tea has many health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and reducing risk of heart disease, reducing the risk of certain cancers, improving brain function, lowering risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and promoting fat loss.

Oolong Tea 
This partially fermented tea can promote brain, heart, bone and dental health and reduces risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. It can also reduce the risk of some cancers. This tea is excellent for inflammatory disorders and assists in digestion.

Pu-erh Tea 
This Chinese fermented tea is incredibly beneficial as it contains a good number of live bacteria that combat disease. It is highly oxidized and often aged. It increases energy and mental alertness, cleanses toxins from the body, reduces stress, aids in weight loss, and reduces risk of heart disease.

White Tea 
The mildest flavor of all teas, the leaves are picked from the plant young and they do not go through an oxidizing process. It does not contain a lot of caffeine. Though it is much milder, white tea has a lot of the same benefits as green tea and is also thought to help slow skin aging.

Any of these teas mixed with other delicious components (like flowers, grains, fruits and spices) are beneficial to your health. Perhaps grab a cup and a crumpet and take a break sometime soon!

The pure and present light in me honors the pure and present light in you. Namaste.

Yoga Pose of the Month – Lotus Pose
The most basic of poses, simply sit cross-legged on the floor or a mat with a straight spine and your hands either together at your heart (prayer hands) or resting comfortably on your knees. If placed on your knees, place your hands palms down for grounding or palms up for receiving. This is an excellent pose for calming or meditating and focusing on breathing, while working on your posture and mental clarity. Best done in a quiet space or in nature, perhaps with some soft music.

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