I still remember an evening, many years ago, in the Mission district of San Francisco as I wandered for hours, drunkenly drawn along by the intoxicating scent of cherry blossoms. When I first traveled to India, it was the scents, as I stepped off of the airplane, that first signaled to me that I had arrived somewhere that would transform me.

Now that I am a mama, I could lie for hours, cuddling my little guy, taking in the smell of his hair (granted, he’s only 4 😉 ). The smell is uniquely him.

What are some of your favorite (or most memory-inducing) scents?

Smells have incredible power to inform you, transport you or uncover memories long stored away. Smelling requires an intimacy that we don’t often consider. In order for you to smell something, small molecules of it have to enter your body. Your sense of smell connects you to your most ancient animal origins.

In holistic medicine, scented oils, incense and flowers are all used as therapeutic components. While the effects of smell may seem subtle, the impact is profound and pervasive.

Connecting with your sense of smell:

      • For this contemplation, you will need something strongly (naturally) scented. Some ideas include incense, essential oil, fragrant tea or a fresh flower.
      • Sit comfortably with your chosen scent nearby. After a few moments of connecting with your deep breath, light the incense or cradle the flower, tea cup or a few drops of essential oil in your hands.
      • Inhale the scent deeply and allow it to permeate your mind.
      • Notice what thoughts or sensations arise in your awareness. Inhale deeply again as the impression of the scent on your experience starts to fade.
      • After a few minutes, close with a few deep breaths into your belly.

If you don’t own any essential oils, you might consider buying one of the ones in the list below to experiment with a bit. I love the oils from Floracopeia.

Stimulating and invigorating scents (clear dullness and lethargy)

– Camphor
– Eucalyptus
– Clove

Cooling and irritation-soothing scents (soothe anger, irritability and frustration).

– Sandalwood
– Rose
– Lavender

Calming and grounding scents (help ease anxiety and settle down for sleep)

– Orange
– Geranium
– Amber
– Vanilla

What are some of your favorite scents? Share in the comments below!