The Art of Zen Tea Ceremony – How Green Tea and Meditation Go Together

Ken Cohen sits with Pedram Shojai to show him how anyone can become a tea master.

Many of us drink tea for pleasure and comfort, but this beverage can actually provide more benefits than we may think.

People from all over the world have been drinking tea for centuries and we believe that this fact isn’t going to change anytime soon. Tea is so versatile. You can drink it hot to warm up your body during those cold winter nights. Throw in some ice and you have a cool, refreshing drink for the summer. There are more than 1,500 different types of tea (not including herbal teas), so there has to be a kind that’s right for YOU.

Research has focused mainly on the benefits of consuming green tea, because it is considered one of the world’s healthiest drinks. Green tea is known to contain more antioxidants than other types of tea. In general, teas contain high concentrations of polyphenol, which may contribute to the prevention of cancer and heart diseases. Polyphenols are also found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, and even in coffee, but tea takes the gold. Tea is especially rich in catechin, which is the most powerful out of all polyphenols. Green tea contains much more Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), a type of catechin, than any other kind of tea.

Not only can drinking tea bring a ton of health benefits, it can also aid in weight loss and increase metabolism. Unsweetened brewed green tea has zero calories. It’s an excellent alternative to coffee, juices and soda. People also drink tea to improve their moods and relax their minds. In the webisode above, QiGong Master Ken Cohen shares with us the Art of Zen Tea Ceremony. The tea brewing experience is definitely relaxing in itself. The flavorful aromas of tea can open your senses and that’s why tea goes hand in hand with meditation.

Green Tea

Bulungula Lodge: An Eco-Friendly Destination

Ever dream of escaping to a peaceful spot at the coast of South Africa where the landscapes are breathtaking and the beaches are unspoiled?

Well, you may want to plan a trip to the Bulungula Lodge, located on the Wild Coast. Bulungula has been rated one of South Africa’s top ethical and eco-friendly destinations. It was among the first to be certified by Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa. It’s become a legend in ethical travel circles as well as a model for tourism-based communities.

So what makes the Bulungula Lodge so extra special? For starters- the Wild Coast is a paradise! The lodge is built amongst green, rolling hills and glistening white beaches. At night, visitors can gaze at the clear night sky, untroubled by light pollution. The real beauty to this place lies in the fact that it hasn’t been disturbed by tourism. The lodge uses solar energy to power its facilities and it is the only place in the entire village that has electricity! Bulungula offers a chance for travellers to embrace local culture and share the daily routines of the native villagers. You can spend your time sampling traditional dances, home-grown food, locally prepared drinks and unique rituals. This is the kind of travel that is both relaxing and insightful! [Read more...]

Wilderness Survival and Feeling Human Again

In an age of Iphones, Facebook and YouTube, people have lost touch with Mother Nature. It’s time we migrate back to the outdoors and feel human again.

Last summer a handful of us took a Wilderness Survival Course with Cliff Hodges. He’s the founder of Adventure Out which is an amazing company that teaches people how to connect with nature. Whether it is actual survival skills, primitive tracking, bow making, rock climbing, or even surfing, these guys train city folks how to get out and feel comfortable in the woods. Why? Because there’s something missing for most of us- the dreary daily commute to work, spreadsheets, meetings, meetings about those meetings, back home, and some stupid TV…yawn.
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China law brings attention to well-being of older adults and the importance of Social Contact

Grandpa with family

Why China Is Urging Adult Children to Visit Their Parents…

For most of us, the importance of social contact is intuitive knowledge. Visiting mom and dad can be challenging in our hectic lives, but let’s face it – we NEED other people. Forming social relationships is a fundamental aspect of human existence. We need our families, our friends, our networks, etc. to give us the emotional support that helps carry us through hard times. Remember the last time you had a really bad day? You probably felt a million times better after venting to a friend. [Read more...]

Winter Solstice- Learning to Rest at the Right Time of Year

The Winter Solstice is on December 21, 2012. It is celebrated by many traditions around the world and is the time when the days are shortest- a time for renewal, rest, and recovery. As it gets dark earlier, it reminds us to circle back in with ourselves and recharge our batteries so that we are not so much a slave to time. Yes- time. Time marches so fast in our modern cultures that we forget to slow down and relax…never recovering from the past year and expecting to have the same amount of energy into the following. That’s simply bad math. The Winter Solstice reminds us of what our ancient ancestors have known for thousands of years- namely, live in harmony with nature and thrive. When nature slows down, we should too. The darkness and the stillness are good for the soul and they help us process the heaps of information and problems we’ve amassed over the past year. As the light returns and helps illuminate the world more and more each day after the 21st, we can then use that energy to ride into a new cycle with fresh inspiration.

 

Here’s an article I did a couple of years ago on the subject that went viral and is still very relevant today- http://taoistpath.com/winter-solstice-is-upon-us-why-it-is-importance-to-rest-right-now/

 

It is time to align with mother earth and get into rhythm with the universal clock which we have evolved under. We are part of nature and our health and mental wellbeing tends to do better when we sync up with this. Many traditions have high reverence for the Winter Solstice as it is truly the real new year. Light returns and the sun gives us more energy daily- energy we can tap into if we’re rested and calm enough to ride that wave :)

Urban Farm and Orchard is Birthed with some TLC and Local Help

Volunteers

Aerielle Nisson decided enough was enough with her corporate job. She was working as a marketing director for a firm that catered to medical  device companies. Unsavory people all around who really weren’t in the game to help people- mostly to make a buck. Being a care taker for her 97 year old grandmother, she decided to leave that world after saving up for a couple of years. She wanted to restore her grandparent’s orchard and turn it into a fully functioning organic operation. They were one of the original Sunkist growing families in Orange County, CA. The neighborhood had mostly gone the way of most land around urban environments…suburbs. Her family land is a rare plot still preserved.

Aerielle approached me with the idea and I introduced her to Gillian Poe of the OC Food Access Coalition and they were off to the races. Gillian helped bring wonderful resources to the project and magic started happening. With friends volunteering, we began to clean up the overgrowth and started to get the place going. Gillian brought on Eugene Cooke who is an urban agriculture expert. He works with inner city projects and helps teach people how to grow food where they live. With Eugene’s help, the project started to take life. Aerielle is out there sweating daily and, with more and more help coming in, this thing is getting pretty cool.

Aerielle, Eugene, Gillian, and Pedram

I was off on a film shoot for the better part of a month and, upon my return, was shocked to see the progress that was made. What started as a crazy idea around her kitchen table had turned into a community “thing”. I counted at least 20 people there that day…hearing about the place from various sources including Meetup.com and what have you. I asked them why they came and most of them said similar things…wanting to reconnect with the land and get their hands in the dirt. It is amazing to see how badly us city people need this stuff.

We’ve been following this story with cameras from the start and are proud to be involved. This is where its at. Urban gal goes back to roots and starts a cool project around good food and clean living. The neighbors all jump inand good things happen all around. Awesome.

Here’s the first bit we did on the project which is affectionately now called L’Avocat by Aerielle because of the amazing avocado trees they have on the property. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the fruit/produce from L’Avocat goes to families in need in the community. Thank you to all the great people involved. Enjoy the webisode.