How Tea Helps to Digest Yoga
Tips for Serving Tea
While there is no rule book for serving tea with yoga, there are some ways to enrich the experience by setting the right mood.
Invite all of the senses. Kerhulas stresses maintaining a clean, uncluttered space; adding beautiful objects (flowers, artwork); serving tea in a porcelain or wooden cup; playing light, meditative music; and using incense, such as sandalwood (which is very grounding). "Basically, it needs to feel as if you are entering a special zone that's separate from the stresses of everyday life," she says.
Serve only the finest tea. "Make sure to use good, loose-leaf tea to enhance the whole experience—it's more healing and beneficial," says Smith. On a practical note, Smith advises that if you want to use fine china, you have to clear it with the local health department. In fact, Smith says she has a restaurant license just to brew and serve tea. Using any nondisposable dishes or cutlery would require having a dishwasher and a three-basin sink. In Pennsylvania, where she is, you're regulated as soon as you serve anything—the law could vary across the states.
Make it comfortable. It's about creating a space where students feel welcome, loved, and nurtured, says Smith. That's why she chose to place a large, L-shaped, lavender sofa in her Tea Lounge, custom-designed to be extra deep so students could easily sit on it in the Lotus position. Both the sofa and room are decorated with soothing, soft shades, such as sage, turmeric, and saffron.
Pair it up with healthy food. Kerhulas serves homemade vegetarian or vegan soups (such as black bean, curried butternut squash, or potato leek). Smith says the Tea Lounge sells only green, raw, or organic snack bars and fruit—"things that enhance health, nothing processed."
The guidelines vary by state, and maybe even by city or town, but Smith suggests that once you're preparing and serving food or drink, you're starting a relationship with the health department. And if you aren't following the local laws and you're found out, you can be reprimanded, fined, or even shut down. The best policy is transparency. Call your local health department; tell them exactly what you're planning to do, serve, and sell; and then fill out the proper paperwork. Your best bet is to follow all relevant laws.
Angela Pirisi is a freelance health writer who has covered holistic health, fitness, nutrition, and herbal remedies. Her work has appeared in Yoga Journal as well as in Natural Health, Fitness, Cooking Light, Let's Live, and Better Nutrition.