Guide Introduction :: Sarah Scarborough
We are so thrilled to finally introduce our newest team member, Sarah Scarborough!
At EAT.PRAY.MOVE, we have been so lucky to cross paths with some incredible teachers in multiple fields of study, and Sarah is no exception. Not only is she a certified yoga teacher, but she is an expert in all things tea related: she is the creator and tea buyer for Firepot Nomadic Teas, a Nashville based company serving the highest quality organic and ethically sourced tea from around the world.
Like most creatives (and much of our team), Sarah's journey has been incredible and covered a lot of ground. Born to an American father and Finnish mother, she split her childhood between Finland and the US. Of this she says, "I grew up spending summers with my family at our lake house in central Finland. We pulled dinner from the old forests and deep lakes that surrounded the little cottage that my grandfather built after the Winter War. We gathered around a picnic table under the birch trees twice a day, feasting on homemade rye bread, my uncles smoked salmon and the love of family. At night, we bathed in the sauna and launched our naked bodies into the cold lake under the midnight sun. I learned more from my wanderings in those quiet woods full of berries and fairies and during my aunt, mother and grandmother’s sauna sessions than I did back home at school in Tennessee."
Her love of nature led her to college in Connecticut and Montana for sustainable agriculture. After school, she time spent in New Zealand creating he first tea company, eventually coming back to the US, spending time in Montana and California working in organic farming/sustainable agriculture and time with Republic of Tea as a buyer, traveling the world to find the best teas and studying the rituals and traditions of the cultures that used them. She used her world education to create Firepot Nomadic Teas, which are not only sold online, but can be found all over St. Louis and Nashville and now in their first ever Firepot Tea Bar. Still travels to source tea, but she spends most of her time in Nashville with her husband and 2 boys and just released her newest project, Tea Huntress.
She will be leading our Marrakesh Ritual+Renewal retreat, which is a combination of yoga (both more invigorating and yin styles) and tea rituals, including learning to brew your own Moroccan mint tea, gathering wild herbs on a mule trek into the Atlas Mountains, sipping traditional mint tea in a Berber tent and even a luxury high tea at one of the top hotels in Marrakesh. I talked with her to learn a little more about what makes her tick.
What hooked you about tea and kept you interested in it after all this time?
Dharma is the best word to describe my journey with Tea. When I was 25, I found myself for the first time unsure of my next step. I took a job cooking at a Tibetan teahouse in Montana and started making what would become Firepot Chai. From the very beginning, it felt like I was being led, like Tea was taking me on an adventure and I only had to follow along. It has always been that way, always changing and showing me new things, opening doors, teaching me about the world and myself. Now, I just sit back, waiting to see where we are heading next! I am endlessly grateful.
How did yoga become important to you?
I started practicing with my mom when I was 17 and it has been a thread running through my life ever since. My practice has waxed and waned over the years as I shifted from Iyengar to Ashtanga to Bikram to Yin. Yoga saved me once or twice, giving me peace and strength when I needed it. Again, I feel very lucky to have and share this practice.
How do yoga and tea work together to you?
Since ancient times, monks and shamen have used Tea as a spiritual guide, considering it to be a plant teacher, or a god plant, given to Man to heal and connect us. High vibrational, ancient and intentionally grown tea is medicine for body, mind and spirit, and daily tea ritual enhances yoga or any spiritual practice. In the end, the practice, or Way, of both Yoga and Tea are about leading us into the magic of the present moment, helping us feel that we are connected to Nature, our Self and to each other, bringing us peace, joy and connection.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about tea?
Tea is so much more than an alternative to coffee or a way to wake up. It is a tradition, a ritual, shared by almost every culture in the world, connecting us locally and globally. Once you start to look at tea as a practice and drinking teas that are ceremonial, Tea will change your life, gently.
What role has travel played in your life?
Travel has expanded my mind in so many ways. It has made me realize that cultural norms only exist within the borders of society and so allowed me to be more accepting of others and myself. My family is Finnish, so I grew up traveling there each summer. It has been incredibly grounding to connect with that heritage. The best part of a life traveling to (but also living in) different cultures is that now I have beautiful friendships around the world.
What is your favorite place you've been in your travels? What is still on your list?
I really loved living in New Zealand. There is a magical little valley north of Auckland on the Pacific Ocean where I could see myself settling down, growing tea and adding surfing to my daily rituals. Yunnan is pretty amazing as well, especially if you are into plants. Turkey and Rwanda are on my immediate lists, and I dream of visiting Budapest one winter to experience the Bohemian tea culture.
You can meet Sarah in Marrakesh, March 3-9, 2019 and experience these rituals for yourself! Thank you, Sarah, for letting us into your world and giving our readers some insight into your life.