One of the most powerful things we share in the Yoga Wisdom circles is our explorations of the elements and their corresponding sense, like the sweet grounding quality of the sense of smell. Becoming more aware of the senses and adopting them as portals into embodiment and a deeper connection with life around us is a real boon, and so readily available to all of us!
To start this new year, especially in the circumstances we’re in, let’s take five weeks to dedicate to the celebration and savouring of the senses, one each week:
Week 1: Earth/Smell
Week 2: Water/Taste
Week 3: Fire/Sight
Week 4: Air/Touch
Week 5: Ether/Sound
Mindfulness of Smell
Have you ever noticed that you can smell on the wind when it has snowed in the mountains nearby? I often find myself saying, “it smells like snow.” If you’re in the Southern hemisphere, you may be noticing petrichor, the smell of the earth after a rain. Taking time to notice and soak in these grounding aromas throughout your day, whenever you notice can give you a profound feeling of being connected to the nature and power of the elements around us.
In the Ayurvedic tradition, it is said that smelling the food cooking and the spices roasting as you prepare a meal is a vital first step in preparing for optimal digestion. Before learning to cook properly with herbs and spices, I used to just sprinkle the herbs into a soup when it was already cooking in the pot. The herbs never really released much of an aroma at all. When you dry roast spices in an iron skillet, or you drop them into warm oil, the spices release a wonderful aroma that starts salivation and truly make you feel ready to eat and digest. Think of when you smell warm pine needles baking in the sun on the forest floor. Or when you rub lavender sprigs between your hands. This summer I trimmed an abundant rosemary bush and there was enough both to dry and to steep in warm oil. This week, notice what comes when you rub some spices or toss them in the warm oil. Inhale and just be very present to the smell of these gifts of the earth.
Other ways I invite you to notice smell this week – take time to intentionally anoint yourself with your favourite scent in a carrier oil. Have a bath with Epsom salts and put an aroma in the bath. I have an amazing Waleda rose body oil that makes me feel so grounded and nourished when I put it on. If you doing have time every day to oil your body, this week, place some scented oil in your navel every night, as well as on your feet.
Finally, commit to noticing throughout the day whenever an aroma comes to you. Then stop and just savour. Notice how you relate to the aroma. Take those few moments enjoying the embodied feeling of fully experiencing the sense of smell.
Would you like to join together in the soaking in the poetic teachings of the broader Yoga tradition? Check out the 2022 Circle dates here!