As humans, we often underappreciate the power of scent. The sense of smell, also known as olfaction, influences both brain function and behavior. For example: have you ever smelled an aroma that transported you to another place or time? Maybe it’s saltwater and the beach or gardenias and your grandmother’s garden. A single scent can light up our minds in unique, magical ways.
Thankfully, we have the ability to harness this power. Used with intention, scent can create calmness, provide tranquility, balance vitality, and cleanse energy debris. On a different day, it can be used to energize a space and increase performance.
While there are several ways to utilize smells (candles, aromatherapy drops, and room sprays) our favorite method right now is incense.
Stemming from the Latin word incendere (‘to burn’), incense refers to an aromatic arrangement of natural fibers—think resin, wood, and herbs—shaped into sticks, spirals, and cones. The practice of burning incense is an ancient art, with many historians tracing the activity back to classical Egypt and parts of Asia. At the time, ritual incense was used by priests as an offering to the gods and sacred incense was used by the religious as a part of their worship.
Today, people of all beliefs enjoy modern incense burning for a variety of reasons. And as a part of a new movement of home décor aromatherapy, incense sticks are sold with beautiful incense holders that double as diminutive works of art.
Whether you’re new to incense or just want to expand your practice, here are five reasons to add incense to your daily ritual.
1. Relaxation and Stress Relief
Our favorite way to enjoy incense is to relax and unwind after a long week/day/hour/you name it. When paired with a bath, incense lends the room a spa like quality—as you decompress from the day, the room fills with the heavenly aroma like frankincense, as essential oil used to reduce stress. With the air cleared, you can allow yourself the space and time to go within…physically and mentally washing the day away.
Do you prefer to unwind with a delightful book? Incense can help with pleasure reading too. As aroma elevates the mind-body connection, incense can help you pour into your book’s imaginary world while temporarily forgetting about the real one.
Whatever your idea of relaxation looks like, incense will only compliment your state of repose.
2. Support Your Meditation
Meditation is vital in balancing energy, improving your mindset, and adjusting your mood. Consider using incense to help set the conditions for a deeper meditative experience. Fragrance such as sandalwood and frankincense both promote relaxation by easing tension in the central nervous system.
As a bonus, the burning of incense can be used as a way to measure time during meditation. Instead of a jarring alarm, incense quietly and pleasantly burns out on its own while alerting you that your meditation period has ended.
3. Spiritual Health and Wellbeing
Energy debris , also known as other people’s emotions, can negatively impact the way we commune with ourselves and others. If you’re in need of some spiritual housecleaning (and let’s be honest—who isn’t?), incense is the perfect way to jumpstart spiritual health and wellbeing. Incense burning, like smudging, makes room for vitality in your home, studio, or office space.
Ready to clean house? Consider an incense stick made of myrrh, known for opening and clearing channels for spiritual manifestation. The smoky, sweet scent has been used for centuries for both emotional balance and medicinal uses.
4. Appreciation and Mindfulness
One of the hardest things to do in life is be present. Luckily, mindfulness can be worked on every single day during routine activities. Burning incense acts as an aromatic reminder of the purpose behind every task. Breathe in and re-center yourself.
Yoke Tip: When’s the last time you listened to incense—or watched incense? These questions may seem silly (one usually smells incense after all), however, try it next time your mind is feeling restless. It’s a brand-new experience! Burning incense activates your sense of smell, but it can also engage all your senses if you give it your full attention.
5. Stimulate Creativity and Productivity
It’s no secret that scent is a powerful thing. But a recent article in Psychology Today credits scent with influencing athletic performance, unlocking subconscious memories, determining physical attraction, and improving mindsets.
With that in mind, try being intentional about using scent in your places of productivity: home offices, art studios, and any other places of work included. Use incense to activate the portions of your brain linked to productivity and memory. A work tool that smells like luxury—what’s not to love?
At Made by Yoke, we believe our homes are both special and sacred. Home décor aromatherapy allows us to honor our living spaces by giving them the lift they need: balance, calmness, energy, or inspiration. Shop the complete collection here.
WRITEN BY VERONICA