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Incense
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7 Reasons To Use Incense

5 min
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Using incense needn’t be exclusive to religious worship or moments of self-reflection. They can be used at home, in the office, or to cover up unwanted smells. There has never been a better time to explore the potential of incense, and as you will find out, the burning of incense can be used to enhance many activities.

Although Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity have all utilised incense as a means of generating good karma, or pleasing an all-seeing deity, the benefits of incense go much further than that. The only difference is, many religious teachers realised the power of burning incense long before science could catch up.

THERE IS MORE TO BURNING INCENSE THAN YOU MAY THINK

Our sense of smell is directly linked to our brain—there is no middle man to mediate the sensation. As such, a particular smell can remind us of a place, memory, or person in mere seconds. It can also help us envisage a scenario we have never experienced before, opening up our imagination. Even if you use incense practically, rather than spiritually, the smell they produce is far more enjoyable than damp dog or stale smoke, for example.

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What Is Incense?

Incense, from the Latin word 'incendere' meaning 'to burn', emits an aromatic smoke that activates the senses and alters mood.

More than that though, burning incense can breath new life into numerous activities.

MEDITATION

MEDITATION Incense

Mediation seems a fitting activity to kick off our benefits to burning incense. The principle of mediation lies in clearing the mind and having a single, calming element to focus on. During a meditative state, the senses become heightened, allowing you to pick up on the subtlest changes. If you want to elevate your meditation to new heights of spiritualism, then try burning either Aastha Nag Champa or Goloka Nag Champa Dhoop.

Both originate from India, the birthplace of incense burning. Aastha Nag Champa has floral undertones that are highly effective at removing stale smells. Cleanse the space surrounding you to provide unwavering focus. The second choice, Goloka Nag Champa Dhoop, also does an excellent job of covering up stale aromas and giving you a pleasant smell to focus on during meditation. With both aromas used for centuries in Hindu ceremonies, you can rest assured that they have been tried, tested, and spiritually verified.

RELAXATION AND SLEEP

Lavender For Relaxation And Sleep

A peaceful night’s sleep or moments of relaxation are something all of us can benefit from. Despite modern technology’s best efforts to upset both activities, incense can help you take back control. In the same way that a single smell can help you focus during meditation, it can also allow you to concentrate on slowing your breathing, and in turn your heart rate.

The versatility of incense burning also means you can combine aromas like lavender, sandalwood, or rosemary with taking a bath or listening to a calming playlist. If you have to pick one particular fragrance to go for, make it lavender. The plant contains a potent terpene called linalool. This aromatic compound has a sedative effect, making it ideal for use before bed.

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With the therapeutic benefits of linalool scientifically proven, relaxing with incense is about more than just relying on the teachings of ancient cultures. It can be a crucial tool in recovering your mental wellbeing from our technology-driven society.

GETTING INSPIRED AND CREATIVE

GETTING INSPIRED AND CREATIVE palo santo

Ever think it’s strange that despite having never experienced the cherry blossom in bloom, a smell that replicates its aroma can promote vivid imagery? Whether the image we conjure is 100% accurate is irrelevant. What is relevant is that an aroma triggers your imagination, and can conceptualise an idea or notion. When you think of smells in this way, using incense to boost creativity seems an obvious choice. If you arrive at the same place every day, or you work from home and have to look at the same four walls, finding inspiration when it’s needed can be a tall order.

An aroma allows our mind to experience something that isn’t right in front of us. In doing so, we unlock the shackles of everyday routine and use the sensation to spur creativity. Palo Santo, a tree that grows naturally in South America, is the perfect candidate. Used during Ayahuasca ceremonies, it is praised for its energising properties.

MAKING LOVE

MAKING LOVE nah champa

Smell has been at the core of mating rituals and the attraction of prospective partners since our prehistoric ancestors roamed the land. Although the process of finding a partner has become more sophisticated, it can still be boiled down to the same core principles. A person’s scent can heighten anticipation, conjure pleasurable thoughts, and help us get in the mood. Incense act as an excellent means of first clearing the mind, then allowing us to relax and remove thoughts that may be causing us stress. Many of us are all too familiar with how stress severely impacts our desire to make love.

Aside from the obvious benefits of having your mind solely focussed on a partner, we can channel our more primal instincts by using a particular aroma. Incense infused with musk tap into the very heart of our animalistic urges. In its earliest uses, musk was the scent of rare secretions only available from the mammal reproductive glands. In isolation, the smell of musk maybe isn’t too appealing, however, Sai Baba Nag Champa incense combines musk with oils, flowers, and other natural herbs.

CLEANSING YOUR LIVING SPACE

CLEANSING YOUR LIVING SPACE white sage

Nothing beats a complete clear-out of your living space. Whether it means throwing out old clothes, reorganising your books and DVDs, or something more drastic like redecorating a whole room, there is no feeling like it. The sense of achievement combined with the revitalised atmosphere is refreshing. That is unless you miss one crucial aspect, the room's aroma.

We know how powerful our sense of smell is at reminding us of memories or places we have been before. What could be worse than putting in all that hard work, only to be reminded of the original living space by the smell of undesirable odours? To complete the physical reimagining of a room, we need to reset the spiritual too. White Sage is used by Native Americans to bless and cleanse a space, but it also does an excellent job of covering up old smells. Use White Sage incense the next time you want to cleanse your living space and feel the room take on an entirely new persona.

YOGA

yoga incense

Yoga is an activity synonymous with tranquillity and inner peace. If, however, you are not experienced at the cat pose, conquerors breath, or the bharadvaja’s twist, getting into position can be troublesome. Music can be too abrasive, distracting your practice rather than enhancing it. The same can be said for strong perfumes or artificial fragrances. They may cover the smell of hard work and determination, but they too can ruin the focus needed to be flexible.

You may have already guessed what the perfect middle ground would be—incense. Subtle enough not to distract you, but at the same time providing a pleasant aroma, incense are often used in a yogic setting to increase focus. Nag Champa incense has a long history of use in mediation, religious rituals, shamanic journey, and yoga. Because of its historical origins, Nag Champa is regarded as an incense of incredible quality. Thankfully, you don’t need to travel to India to get your hands on some yoga-boosting Ajaro Nag Champa. The ideal complement to beginner and advanced yoga, it will give you the focus and clarity needed to achieve those striking poses.

GAINING POSITIVITY

GAINING POSITIVITY incense

Positive vibes or the concept of karma exists in some form in virtually all religions. By giving gifts, being selfless, or having a positive outlook on life, what we receive back will be the same. If the bombardment of work emails, hours sitting in commuter traffic, and the noise from inconsiderate neighbours have got you feeling cynical and pessimistic, you need some positivity—stat.

A simple, effective, and calming way of gaining positivity is to burn incense. However, not just any incense will do. To reap the most significant benefit, you need to pick Nag Champa that contains sandalwood. The wood is considered holy in India as it consecrates and heals. Sandalwood incense is still used today to bless alters and empower benevolent forces, something all of us could do with. Make sure the TV is off and your phone is on silent. Once you have decided on an area to bless, take some time just sitting and breathing in the uplifting smell of sandalwood.

Repeat positive thoughts in your mind, and if you ever doubt the concept of karma, repeat this phrase—if I deserve it, the universe will serve it.

Lucas

Written by: Luke
Luke is a part-time writer and full-time visionary. An anonymous psychonaut blending into society with his suit and tie, he works to bring evidence-based rationality to the masses.

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