Meditation has become one of the most popular ways to take some time out and relieve stress. This trend is supported by growing research which shows how practicing meditation reduces the inflammatory response in people exposed to stress, especially when practiced over the long-term (1). Studies also show mindfulness practices increases connections between the parts of the brain that help us to be less reactive to stressors and to recover better from stress when we experience it (2). By learning to calm your mind, feelings of stress are reduced leaving you recharged and ready to face your day.
What does meditation look like?
This ancient practice can take many forms though it is generally necessary to have at least 5 to 20 minutes to experience an effect. Meditation can be done in many different ways, beyond seated, including while walking. Enjoying a cup of tea as part of a meditation ritual has also been practiced in many traditional cultures throughout history and still present today.
Black tea, green tea and matcha contain stress-relieving chemicals, so are the perfect companion for a moment of calmness.
How long do I need to meditate for… and when?
A one-off meditation can deliver clear benefits, but these are enhanced with a more regular practice. You may think that meditating for an hour will bring even more benefits than a shorter meditation. However, many people find that if they try to meditate for too long it can be challenging to keep it as a regular practice. We recommend finding the time to fit a regular and achievable practise between 5-20 minutes into your daily routine.
Yoga Teacher and Ayurvedic Practitioner, Jo Webber, recommends starting with a short practice in the following ways to help you manage stress more effectively:
As part of your morning routine to set you up for the day.
To help feel more grounded or focussed during the day .
As part of your evening routine to help you unwind and prepare for sleep
Power your morning with Matcha (under 6 minutes)
After a demanding start to the day, taking 5 minutes out of your routine will help to naturally stimulate your senses and revitalise body and mind. Before this meditation, we recommend brewing a cup of Pukka tea with energising green tea or matcha, found in blends such as Supreme Matcha Green. You can sip the tea before, during and after your meditation, enjoying its warmth and aromas.
Green tea and matcha both contain a type powerful plant compound, known as EGCG, which helps to wake you up, get the brain working faster and stay focussed. Another key compound is L-theanine which works with EGCG to balance the effect of caffeine and helps prevent the characteristic ‘crash’ associated with coffee. So green tea and matcha allow you to be dynamic whilst also developing a sense of inner peace.
Focus with Turmeric (under 6 minutes)
When we’re feeling overwhelmed and lacking in focus, it can really help to take a micro-break of a few minutes away from whatever we need to do. This investment of time can help us to return to our day with renewed focus and energy - whether it is before a big meeting or a busy to do list. Before this meditation, we recommend brewing a cup of Pukka herbal tea with turmeric, found in blends such as Turmeric Active and Turmeric Gold. You can sip the tea before, during and after your meditation, enjoying its warmth and aromas.
Turmeric has been traditionally used for centuries to add a glow to your day. Its many health benefits are now widely supported by thousands of clinical research studies, including some of our own Pukka research trials. It is a renowned super-spice as it targets almost every body system supplementing your diet with powerful nutrients and polyphenol compounds.
Refresh after lunch - Walking meditation with mint (10 minutes)
Find a quiet space to walk. It could be outdoors, or in a hallway, or even a large room at home or work, walking back and forth. If you are outside, keep an awareness the space you are in, staying safe and aware. Before you begin your meditation, enjoy a herbal tea containing mint such as Three Mint or Peppermint and Liquorice. Or you may prefer to drink it after your walk.
Mint has been used for centuries to cool and soothe digestion, helping both refresh you and settle your lunch. It not only supports digestion but is also rich in aromatic menthol which ‘wakes up’ the senses, as well as calming and relaxing you. These qualities make it the perfect accompaniment to a post lunch walking meditation.
Quick Time Out – Tea brewing meditation with ginger (under 6 minutes)
Bringing mindfulness to everyday activities can be a helpful way to find relaxation. Tea brewing meditation, where a tea is made and consumed mindfully, has been practiced for centuries and has many well-being benefits. Before you begin, pour some boiling water into a cup and choose a herbal tea bag but don’t add it until you’ve started the meditation. We’ve chosen ginger to support this meditation, found in blends such as Lemon, Ginger and Manuka Honey or Three Ginger, as it provides warmth to stoke your inner fire.
Ginger is fantastically warming herb, traditionally used to support digestion. Its spicy nature supports our ability to digest food, as well as stimulating appetite and calming an upset stomach. Its warming nature also supports a healthy circulation, leaving you feel positively uplifted for the rest of your day.
Switch off at the end of the day with chamomile (10 minutes)
Unwind after a busy day and prepare for a blissful night’s sleep by savouring a Pukka blend containing chamomile before you enjoy this soothing meditation. This amazing herb has been used for centuries to support relaxation of both body and mind. Try Chamomile, Vanilla and Manuka Honey, Peace, Night Time or our Relax blend. Before you begin this meditation, make sure you’re warm enough, as we invite you to lie down and relax, your body will start to cool down.
Chamomile provides relaxing essential oils which help calm our ‘fight or flight’, sympathetic nervous system, soothing tension across the body and helping you unwind. Chamomile also contains a compound called apigenin, said to help calm the mind, making it the perfect herb for a post dinner wind down meditation to prepare for sleep.
This article and the meditations were written by Pukka's Head of Herbal Education, Jo Webber, a qualified Yoga Teacher and Ayurvedic Practitioner.
(1) Rosenkranz, M.A., Davidson, R.J., MacCoon, D.G., Sheridan, J.F., Kalin, N.H. and Lutz, A., 2013. A comparison of mindfulness-based stress reduction and an active control in modulation of neurogenic inflammation. Brain, behavior, and immunity, 27, pp.174-184.
(2) Taren, A.A., Gianaros, P.J., Greco, C.M., Lindsay, E.K., Fairgrieve, A., Brown, K.W., Rosen, R.K., Ferris, J.L., Julson, E., Marsland, A.L. and Bursley, J.K., 2015. Mindfulness meditation training alters stress-related amygdala resting state functional connectivity: a randomized controlled trial. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 10(12), pp.1758-1768.
(3) Kelly, S.P., Gomez-Ramirez, M., Montesi, J.L. and Foxe, J.J., 2008. L-theanine and caffeine in combination affect human cognition as evidenced by oscillatory alpha-band activity and attention task performance. The Journal of nutrition, 138(8), pp.1572S-1577S.