Using Smell To Enhance Meditation, Yoga and Energy Practices
“Each day has a color, a smell.” Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, The Mistress of Spices
Oh how true this quote is. We see this in nature all the time, each season with its own unique wonderful smells. The smell of a forest is quiet different after a shower of rain in winter than it is during a glorious hot summer day. Some people say they can smell rain before it actually comes!
Our sense of smell is the only one of the senses to have an effect on our body on a physiological level. Smell has the ability to bring us right back to a time in our past when we have a memory that reminders us of something.
Why use essential oils?
When we inhale a pure essential oil, which is medicine from mother nature’s pharmacy, it has the ability to change our mood. This is why using essential oils in our meditation or yoga or energy practice has such a profound effect.
We can choose the essence for the particular mood we want to create. One of the reasons we meditate is to clear the mind clatter and bring peace and harmony to our bodies. Some people genuinely find this hard to do and constantly berate themselves with feelings of inadequately for not being able to stop the mind clatter.
This is where we can use our sense of smell to support us with our mood and our ability to calm the mind and create a sense of peace throughout our entire body.
Accepting ourselves the way we are
At the beginning of our meditation/yoga/energy session we may want to support a feeling of letting go and accepting ourselves the way we are. When we let go feelings of self judgment we allow ourselves open to the wonders of who we really are.
A wonderful essential oil to aid with feelings of acceptance is Bergamot. It is a wonderful citrus oil that helps support the release of limiting beliefs we may be holding onto in our energy body. It supports with a complete sense of calm and raises our vibration so that lower vibrational emotions can come up for release. You can apply Bergamot topically (always checking the label on the bottle). I like to put it on my wrists and temples.
Symbol of Yin Yang
If we want to feel more grounded during a meditation or a yoga/energy practice we can simply choose an oil that is made up of compounds that support us being grounded. Tree oils are a natural choice in this regard. When I teach children about their emotions and about ways to feel grounded I get them to pretend they are trees. I get them to imagine themselves as a tree standing in the ground, feeling firmly rooted in the soil. I get them to imagine their arms as branches spreading upwards towards the sky. I liken the leaves, fruit and flowers to parts of their personalities and get them to imagine these traits beaming outwards inhaling the energies from the elements around them.
When we want to support a feeling of being grounded in the earth we can choose a grounding oil like Cedarwood, Arborvitae or Balance (a blend of tree oils). Smell like everything else is a personal choice and although some people suggest that if we dislike a smell then that is the one our body needs, I prefer people to go with a smell that they enjoy during a session.
From a place of grounding we may then want to go on and feel invigorated. We can either inhale or apply an essential oil to have this affect on our brain. Our nose picks up smell messenger molecules from the oils and everything else we smell and transports these messenger molecules, each with their own particular job to do, via our olfactory system directly into our brain. The limbic system which is located in the brain, is where our emotions are processed. If we want to have a specific affect on our emotions, like to feel invigorated, then we can choose an essential oil that has the chemical make up to do this job i.e. contains the messenger molecules that carry this particular message to the brain!
A favourite for many people to bring about a feeling of invigoration is Peppermint. It supports us by lifting us up from the doldrums we may find ourselves stuck in. When we open up to to these feelings we allow ourselves bring forward exactly what we need to move forward.
Working with the energy of the Heart
A great essential oil to use in any type of practice where we are working with the energy of our heart is Geranium. It feels like a warm protective blanket to support the release of energy blocks from our heart. Some people do not want to experience an avalanche of emotions to pour out during a session and in this regard I feel Geranium offers support to allow a person to release in their own way. Again this essential oil can be applied topically to the heart area.
It we really want to use a particular essential oil but just cant stand the smell of it we can always put it on the soles of our feet. The soles of our feet have some of the largest pores in our body and so the oils can be absorbed directly into our body by applying them here.
Another way for bringing essential oils into our yoga practice is to clean yoga mates with Melaleuca which has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is a safe and effective way to keep mats naturally clean.
For an overall systemic effect the oils can also be diffused. Applying 2 drops in a diffuser is sufficient at any one time.
If you want any more information on any of the above please do not hesitate to contact me.
Until next time … keep the faith
Dolores Andrew-Gavin, Author, Assertivemess and Empowerment Coach, Energy and Soul Care Practitioner