1. The strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity
2. A person's physical and mental powers
There are so many ways to ‘measure’ health, from your blood pressure levels to how much exercise you do, from how hydrated your cells are to the capacity of your out breath. But beyond the physical workings of your body, how healthy you FEEL is a state of being, experienced only by YOU, somewhat transcending the numbers and measurements.
I run workshops on the ‘fundamental’ tools at our disposal for the purpose of optimising our health- food, hydration, sleep, breath, posture and movement- but beyond the obvious physical benefits, what is at the deeper heart of how these things are helping us thrive?
There is a basic acceptance in most cultures that in all living things there is some sort of ‘life force’, a vital energy that gives us life, animates, infuses and vitalises us, the essence or spirit that differentiates us as alive from dead. In India, it is called Prana, in China, Chi, in Japan, Ki, and in Native America, the Great Spirit. Here we may call it power, vigour, spirit. This ‘vital energy’ has always been central to medicine, healing, good health and spiritual growth. The more you have of it, the greater your power, the more you thrive.
It is also pretty universally acknowledged that if you put in some positive ‘work’, it will definitely benefit your chances of navigating life’s ups and downs better, emotionally and physically. In fact, Qigong (the all-embracing Chinese term for any energy work, including Tai Chi, used in the same way as Chai is an all-embracing term for any spiced tea!) is translated as ‘energy work that requires a lot of time and effort’!
This ‘energy work’ is referring to active practices that cultivate and preserve the essential energy we have been talking about, this Chi, as we will choose to refer to it from now on. There are many simple ways to do this, through movement, the food we eat, practices like Yoga or Tai Chi, breath work, meditation and prayer….but also through tea. All help to create greater health at every level of our being.
In fact, our state of mind is thought to be directly linked to the amount of this vital energy within us. The more Chi, the more balanced and at peace you are, but when this Chi is compromised or diluted, the more stressed you will feel. This ties in very nicely with the work of Dr. David Hawkins, whose findings underpin some of the more esoteric aspects of ATTIC Tea's focus on the tea plant.
His work really deserves its own blog post but in brief, the testing of the body’s response to the world around us can be measured by a technique called Applied Kinesiology. This muscle testing technique was refined to begin testing emotional responses, not just physical ones, and it clearly demonstrated that muscles weaken to unhealthy emotional attitudes and mental stresses in the same way they do to unwanted physical stimuli.
Dr. David Hawkins and his colleagues formulated a scale, in effect, a practical map of consciousness previously uncharted. Calibrated from 1-1000, they used the Applied Kinesiology testing method to measure the vibrational frequencies of our particular emotional states. The higher the vibration, the more positive the state. Low vibrational resonance was found with emotions like shame, pride, fear, apathy but acceptance, joy, peace and reason all resonated at much higher vibrations.
We have all heard the term 'raise your vibration’ but what this is really referring to is developing a healthier flow of Chi. As we return to the power of the tea plant, suffice to say, the teas we offer all resonate at the very top of his scale. You may have wondered why we only sell one of each type of tea? Well, we aren’t talking about any old teas, we only offer the most precious teas, hand picked and hand crafted with reverence, in ancient lands where tea has always been held in the greatest regard. It is their special journey from seed to cup that heightens the vibrational frequency of these particular teas. Originally harvested millennia ago, for use in temples by the monks, not just as a healing medicine, but for the cultivation of Chi, surely by imbuing these high vibrational beverages, it can’t help but raise your own vibration….
Talking of cultivation, we are currently cultivating relationships with Tea-chers (nice link!) of other Chi-building practices, whose lineages were also birthed within the same wise and ancient culture as the Tea.
There is now a directory on our website of UK-based Tai Chi teachers, so that for those of you interested in putting in some of this positive ‘work’ in a way that perfectly compliments your tea drinking, why not go and give it a try :)
“Those who remove mountains begin by carrying away small stones.” Chinese Proverb
Suggested books; Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behaviour
by David R. Hawkins