Commonly appearing in the form of bamboo sticks, Incense is a natural material that releases a fragrant smoke when burned. The term incense refers to the material itself, rather than the scent it produces. Typically, incense is burned during meditation and yoga, with the purpose of calming the body and mind; however, today the product is also used in the everyday household, well-loved for its relaxing, aromatic scent. Dating back thousands of years, the process of burning incense was first carried out by the Egyptians, who burned dried flowers to produce a pleasant aroma. Today, there are so many different types of incense to choose from, making it a challenge to understand how each incense benefits the body and mind, particularly when used in meditation. In this article, we explore the benefits of using incense alongside meditation, and discuss the most popular types, along with their benefits so you can make an informed decision.
Commonly referred to as fragrance sticks, incense sticks hold a wide variety of benefits for use with meditation. Releasing calming aromas when burned, Incense sticks encourage the mind to focus while meditating, in addition to helping you get into the right mindset before you begin, often being used alongside a premeditation ritual at the beginning of each session. For example, before meditating, many Buddhists take the time to light a candle, which they then proceed to light an incense stick from; they believe that this process will enable the mind to clear, leaving it fresh and ready for meditation. As with any routine, the more you practice a ritual before sitting down meditate, the more focused you will become as the brain will start to link the lighting of the candle and incense, with the start of meditation, signaling to the mind that it is time to focus.
When experimenting with incense for the first time, it is sensible to try out a variety of different types in order to find out what works best for you. Obviously, different people associate different scents with relaxation, so finding a fragrance that best suits your needs is important.
Although all incense has general benefits, the effects can differ depending on what kind of incense you use. For instance, cinnamon is thought to boost energy levels, lust, and passion while lavender promotes beauty; Frankincense relieves stress and anxiety; and rose promotes love, desire, and sex.
Below, explore a selection of our favorite incense and their benefits.
Providing you have the right equipment, burning incense sticks is a perfectly simple and safe task. After choosing your incense stick, carefully remove it from its box, holding the uncoated end of the stick. Using a match, light the coated end of the bamboo – wait for a flame – then snuff out the match and place it somewhere safe, for instance, on your incense burner. Next, you need to extinguish the flame on your incense, which you can simply do by blowing gently on the flame. The end of the incense stick should now be a mere glowing ember, releasing a soft wisp of fragrant smoke into the air. It is important to now place the stick in an incense burner, which is designed to catch the ash and prevent it from falling onto the table, floor, or window ledge.
Much like incense sticks, you burn incense cones in a similar fashion. First, light the tip of the cone, snuff out the flame leaving only a smoldering ember, then place the cone on a specially-designer holder. Differing slightly to the previous two, to burn incense oils you will need to purchase an oil burner. Once prepared with your burner, fill the dish on the top of the burner with water, before placing in a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil. Placing a tea light underneath the dish will cause the water to evaporate, releasing a scented vapor into the room, of which you can enjoy the relaxing benefits.
With thousands of different types of incense out there, in the form of sticks, essential oils and incense cones, finding the right incense for you can be a difficult task. With each type of incense boasting different characteristics and benefits, finding your perfect match can take time. Below, we discuss some of our favorite kinds of incense.
A popular choice for meditation, Frankincense is thought to be one of the most calming incenses. Widely available as both incense sticks and essential oils, burning frankincense has never been easier. The calming scent promotes relaxation and peace, while also relieving stress and anxiety.
For thousands of years, tribes in North America have been burning sage. Considered by Shamans to hold a cleansing property, dried white sage is believed to cleanse your energy field of conflict, anger, evil and illness. Today, you can purchase sage incense and essential oils; however, traditionally, dried white sage is bunched together and left to smoulder in an abalone shell.
The fire associative, cinnamon, can be used to deal with fire elements, including passion and warmth. The popular scent is believed to promote sexual desire, and increase energy levels, too. Today, many people enjoy burning cinnamon incense sticks during sex, rather than lighting candles.
Commonly used to promote renewal in life and for purification, myrrh has an array of spiritual connections. If you are looking to cleanse your mind, or open it up to the truth, try burning myrrh.
Popular to burn when experiencing changes in life, amber incense sticks can encourage a journey of self-discovery. Boasting connections to knowledge and history, amber incense is a perfect choice if you’re attempting to understand a complicated situation.
Whether you’re simply interested in winding down your mind after a long and stressful day, or you’re about to embark on a new chapter of self-discovery or change, burn incense during meditation to enhance your experience. Additionally, always make sure you are wearing comfortable yoga clothes during meditation, as this can considerably boost your concentration and overall mood.