The scent of serenity: Improve your meditation with aromatherapy

You’ve created the perfect meditation space: the walls are painted a restful light blue, the music is soft and dreamy and you’ve picked out just the right cushion to sit on. What’s missing? A carefully selected fragrance to soothe and relax body, mind and soul.

 

There’s nothing quite like meditation to strengthen the connection between body and mind. Focused breathing, being aware of how your body feels and clearing your head from distraction: all of these things engage the senses and help you be present in the moment. But the little-known secret to a perfect meditation session comes from engaging your fifth sense: smell.

 

Scientists have found that certain scents, such as jasmine, yuzu and clary sage can direct the body to relax, working to lower your heart rate in as little as ten minutes. Lavender is perhaps the most celebrated calming scent: studies show that it can help combat mild insomnia, reduce anxiety and even ease depression in certain cases. It will come as no surprise, then, that engaging your sense of smell through aromatherapy can also make your meditation practice even more effective.

 

The serenity of scent

If you meditate to bring a sense of inner harmony to body and mind, adding a calming fragrance into the mix will increase your relaxation. Gently massaging your temples with oil that contains lavender gives your meditation practice an extra dimension. Lavender has been scientifically proven to slow down the sympathetic nervous system, otherwise known as the stress centre. When you smell it, both your brain and body go into relaxation mode.

 

If oil isn’t your thing, scented candles can be a great alternative. Throughout history, this has been a way for people to signify a sense of peace. There’s a certain ceremony in the act of lighting a candle and watching the flame. As you focus on your breath, you are also soaking in a relaxing scent, a signal to your smell receptors to calm down. Inhaling peace and exhaling negativity is an important aspect of meditation, after all.

 

Fragrance to help you focus

Sometimes meditation can be a useful tool for raising your concentration level. Imagine you have an intense project at work, so before going in, you decide to meditate.  The powerful, minty scent of eucalyptus is known to sharpen your senses and make you more alert. If you surround yourself with it while meditating, you’ll end your practice with a feeling of focus and determination, ready to take on your project.

 

Scent has a major impact on our emotions, but it also triggers our brains and bodies into action. Next time you’re in your meditation space, don’t forget the fragrance.