At Eco Retreats, building a community around the values that are the foundation of our retreat centre is one of our primary goals. That’s why we opened a new teahouse for our guests to enjoy, to be able to connect with one another, drink tea, meditate, do yoga, or just relax in the company of their friends.
“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life” – Thich Nhat Hanh
I love this quote. As an ardent fan of all kinds of teas and teahouses, I’ve often felt tea offers a lot more than just the health benefits from the tea or herbs themselves. The art of drinking tea goes much deeper.
Putting on a pot of tea is something we do as soon as a visitor arrives, perhaps as soon as we get home from work, or when something unusual or unsettling happens. The tea provides us with comfort, shared moments with friends and family, and a chance to take a few minutes out while we relax and savour the cuppa.
The teahouse is a special sanctuary. I’ve loved discovering hidden teahouses especially in the Middle East and sipping tea watching the world go by. I love to see people of all ages sitting in the teahouse talking and playing backgammon and other games, for hours.
As I’ve travelled around the world, I’ve seen flavours change, different preferences for milk and sugar, size of tea cup, style of pot etc. – but the role of tea is similar. Across cultures, whether in a teahouse or in the home, a cup of tea offers us a brief time out, which awakens our senses and brings us into the present moment. A cup of tea offers us a pause to focus on “being” rather than “doing”.
A traditional tea ceremony would engage all five senses: seeing the tea leaves and tea before and after brewing; smelling the tea before and after brewing; touching the leaves; listening to the pot boil; and finally, tasting and savouring the tea.
When people come to Eco Retreats Forest Retreat, they experience a longer time out from everyday life, which also serves to awaken senses and reconnect guests to the present moment. Slow, shared meals and drinks with loved ones, outside in nature, are an important part of the experience. The beautiful teapots in some of the yurts are actually from our former teahouse in South Africa! – designed to be kept warm with a single tealight so you can sit over your pot of tea enjoying the forest views from the yurt windows for hours.
Now in our new teahouse space, we offer a self-service range of herbal teas to enjoy on arrival or at any point during your stay. The teahouse is a peaceful spot down by the river to relax on the cushions or at the tables, flick through our magazines, play boardgames, journal – or simply be. Some guests have enjoyed practicing yoga and meditating in the teahouse space. My children love to play by the river while I am super happy drinking my turmeric tea on a cushion as I wait to greet the next lovely guests.
Come and join us for a cup of tea and a relaxing off-grid break in our stunning remote eco retreat!