Purify Your Space – Japan
In the Shinto tradition, salt is a symbol of purity. Traditionally placed at the right-hand side of an entrance, mori shio (or also seen as “morijio”) is the ritual of placing a small mound of salt on a plate so that people who enter are purified and bad spirits are warded off. You can implement mori shio in two ways, either placing salt at the entrance to your home to purify and keep negative energy away or place salt in each corner of a room you wish to purify (keeping the corners free from other clutter) for a couple of days before removing.
Use this ritual to help cleanse the energy in your space, discarding the stale air and to open your home and yourself to deeper connections and a state of gratitude.
If you’ve always been fascinated Japanese culture, discover our Jump Into Japan itinerary that encompasses a journey through past and present Japanese culture and food.
A Drink of Friendship & Hospitality – Morocco
One of Morocco’s oldest traditions, mint tea is a well-known cultural symbol of this country although there are many versions of how it came to be - from Berbers, the Portuguese to Queen Victoria.
Crafted with great care, the preparation of tea, a process referred to as ‘atai’, is part of the tradition and is often done in front of the guests. The tea ingredients generally include Chinese green tea, typically a variety called “gunpowder tea” from the Zhejiang Province of China, mint leaves and sugar. Whilst the ingredients are considered simple, the art lies in the amount of each ingredient and the infusion time.
How to create the perfect Moroccan Mint Tea:
1. Start by putting the green tea (gunpowder) in a teapot, then we add a little boiling water by infusing about one minute. The contents are poured into a small tea glass and left to rest on the tray.
2. Refill the teapot with boiling water, then throw the tea, so that the bitter taste of gunpowder disappears.
3. Reintroduce the small glass of tea into the teapot. Then place the teapot filled with water on the stove for 5 minutes, or pour directly boiling water into the teapot to fill it.
4. Add mint leaves and large pieces of sugar.
5. Then everything is in the gesture: pour the tea in a first glass while holding the teapot in height, to add air and make it “foam”. Put the little glass in the teapot and repeat the operation as many times as necessary for the sugar and mint are well mixed (two or three times are usually sufficient).
6. Once the tea is well mixed, serve all the guests.
A sign of friendship and hospitality, bring to life a new habit of ‘teatime’ with your family, housemates or extend a virtual invitation to friends and toast to your friendship, good health and future travels.
Explore a taste of Morocco with our 5-night Mountain Medinas of Morocco journey through some of Morocco’s most mesmerising cities.
Rise With The Sun – India
Ayurveda believes that routine is a discipline for the body and mind which strengthens immunity and purifies the body. The primary ritual is Brahma Muhurta, where you wake up around 45 – 60 minutes before dawn, this synchronises your body with the rhythm of the sun. Then a second boom of energy births in the atmosphere 30 minutes before the sun rises, awakening your consciousness and channelling your energies throughout your body. This is considered the best time to refocus, meditate and set your intentions for the day ahead.
Whilst waking up at such an early hour sounds counterproductive, the physical and mental benefits you obtain by waking up early are permanent and amazing. You don’t need to aim to wake up before the sunrise straight away, you can gradually develop this habit, try going to sleep half an hour earlier and waking up 30 minutes earlier, follow this for week before continuing the process until you adapt.
Rise with the sun, as you seize every day exploring the bounty of India with our special Golden Triangle journey that includes magnificent palaces and enigmatic bazaars.
Outside State of Mind – Norway
For most, time outside is now restricted to once a day for exercise, whether that be a walk, run or cycle. This ritual encourages you to step outside (whilst adhering to the social distancing rules) and embody the Scandinavians passion for nature with the Norwegian custom known as Friluftsliv (“Free-looft-sleeve”), which means “free air life”.
Research proves the benefits of spending time outdoors are numerous for both mental and physical wellbeing, and this concept of Friluftsliv can make a big difference to your daily routine helping to decrease negative thoughts, uplift your mood and create a mindful connection to nature.
Making time to for things that will bring value to your life is so important as we adjust to self-isolation and find a new routine. Schedule your Friluftsliv now to find your 15, 30, 45 minutes of daily escapism and mindfulness as this habit goes beyond spending time outside, it’s a state of mind.
Live the Friluftsliv lifestyle with our Enchanting Norwegian Islands trip where you can soak up the picturesque surroundings and learn about the small communities with big spirits that make up the beautiful islands of these northern archipelagos.
Seize The Moment – Turkey
There is an art to relaxation and Keyif, pronounced “kay-eef” is the pursuit of idle pleasure – an art-form that has been perfected by Turks. It is about truly living in the moment, separating it from daily life and savouring it.
Keyif is a skill which many of us may feel we have lost however it can be reacquired with little thought and is a ritual you can combine with others in this list and more. Simply find a few minutes in your day to appreciate the present moment; that could be the smell of mint filling the room as you prepare your mint tea, it could be as you watch the sun set on your daily Friluftsliv, as your Spotify shuffle lands on that very song you wanted to hear or as you spend time catching up with long-overdue friends on Zoom. Let Keyif help you find pleasure in the everyday and be a silver lining to being in quarantine.
In Turkey, the indulgence in keyif is taken so seriously that it has become an integral part of day-to-day life with Istanbul as the undisputed national capital of keyif – experience it first-hand with our A Taste of Turkey itinerary which is best enjoyed anytime from September – November.
Small Steps – China
China has long been a destination that has been looked to for self-care practices and the art of Yang Sheng, the Chinese art of self-healing is a holistic approach meaning to ‘nurture life’. Yang Sheng works on eliminating those small health issues and balancing the body to stay healthy. The key here is to implement small daily rituals that will be effortless and will leave you feeling more energised.
Simple Yang Sheng rituals to try at home:
1. ‘Wu Ji’ grounding
Stand with your shoulders relaxed, arms lose at your sides, palms facing backwards, knees slightly bent, feet hip-width apart. Visualise a stream of flowing energy running from the top of your head, down through the centre of your body following a nice ‘S-shape’ in your spine, and then out between your legs and into the ground.
Notice any areas of tension or discomfort in your body. Imagine breathing deeply into and softening the muscles in these areas.
2. Drop your shoulders
We tend to hold a lot of tension within our bodies and our shoulders is one of the most affected areas. Over time, this build of tension and stress can develop into more serious help problems.
Take one minute out, several times a day, to observe the position of your shoulders and how tense they are. Consciously drop and lower your shoulders away from your neck and chin and visualise exhaling out tension in your body as you do so.
3. Eat the rainbow
The ancient Chinese Taoists enjoyed a seasonal local diet and this ritual encourages you to spend one minute mindfully choosing food items of different colours to help ensure a balanced and notorious diet that will aid a healthy mind and body.
4. Mindful eating
The one-minute ritual is to mindfully choose a fork or spoonful of food from your plate and chew your food slowly for 1-minute at a time, noticing the flavour and texture of each mouthful. By slowing down the act of your meals and taking time to appreciate your food, not only will your meals become more satisfying, but you also aid your digestion.
5. Give gratitude
An important ritual for the end of the day, take a minute to write out a short list of everything you are grateful for that day. There’s no need to overthink it, just write out the first things that come to mind – this is great way to unwind and prepare for a restful nights’ sleep.
Nourish your soul, mind and eyes with a 10-day Journey Through Time and History in China that includes discovering the Forbidden City, visiting the city wall of Xi’an and wandering around the Shanghai Museum.
To achieve balance in our lives we must therefore achieve balance between our spiritual and physical.
The Sacred Space – USA
You’d be forgiven for thinking there was just the inhale and exhale, however this Native American wisdom describes the space between the in-breath and out-breath as the Sacred Space. If you’re already partial to meditating, you will be familiar with this concept and will be attuned to the stillness it provides. This space is often described as our natural state where “I” falls away and we exist as “one” with the world around us.
Wakan Tanka, Great Mystery, Teach me how to trust My heart, My mind, My intuition, My inner knowing, The senses of my body, The blessings of my spirit. Teach me to trust these things So that I may enter my Sacred Space And love beyond my fear, And thus Walk in Balance With the passing of each glorious Sun.
- Lakota Prayer
This old prayer brings to life poetically what Eastern wisdom has said for thousands of years, that heaven (spirituality) and earth (physicality) are not mutually exclusive, with practice and patience we can understand that they are aspects of the same thing. To achieve balance in our lives we must therefore achieve balance between our spiritual and physical.
For those moments when you need to quieten the world inside of you, opt for this ritual. Simply breath in, pause for a few seconds and notice the inner peace, breathe out and repeat – for as long as you need.
Connect with the Native American landscapes and culture on our Exploring the South West road trip that is filled with extraordinary experiences from the lush mountains of the Rockies to the stunning red boulders of Sedona, Arizona.
Take a Break with Your Friends & Colleagues – Sweden
Fika, typically translated as “a coffee and cake break” is much more than just making yourself a coffee and tucking into a slice of your favourite cake. In Swedish culture this is considered a daily essential, to pause and make time for friends and colleagues to help strength relationships as well as give your brain a break and chance to reset.
In the age of Covid-19, with more people work remotely, bringing the ritual of fika to your virtually located workplace couldn’t be better poised for adoption because let’s be honest, who doesn’t love an excuse for a coffee break and better yet, with cake.
The Swedes say that the food should be fresh and ideally homemade, so why not share a recipe in advance or agree on which kind of cake to buy on your next grocery visit, either way its set to be sweet break from the solo set up that has come from self-isolation. So go forth and fika!
Bookmark for later, this chic mini break where you can soak up some Scandinavian cool in Stockholm whilst indulging in a burgeoning restaurant and bar scene and the captivating surroundings.