A client of mine kindly gave me some incense from Eau de Vie. Eau de Vie is a long standing health shop and center for practitioners on Cowley Road. It started in 1998 with a float tank. This is a novel idea- a darkened, salty tank which you float in to promote your sense withdrawal (pratyahara a yoga term for this)
Very niche and very lovely!
The smells I have been given are Sage and Paulo Santo and we are giving them the 'sniff test' today and this week (however long they last) during Yoga Quota classes.
Sage is to increase clarity in the room.
Paulo Santo means sacred wood and although it is from S. America, Shamans use it with sage to heal and clear your system too.
I'm not sure how the use of incense is 'officially' regarded in the yoga world (if there are official-doms in yoga) because on the one hand one of the limbs of yoga is about withdrawing from the senses, to become more centred. Then, on the other hand incense must only stimulate the senses? I suppose focusing on one sensation, removes the others from your mind. So focusing on smell can let worries fall from you. In the same way that in an asana (posture) you can be thinking so much on your balance that every thing else falls away- what luxury no worries!
Smells are so evocative of memories too. Someone told me they are both controlled in similar regions of the brain. Is it bad that I smelt the sage and thought of roast dinners at home? Happy memories before I turned veggie! (I realise this sounds sarcastic but I really don't regret the decision to become vegetarian despite the fond memories of roast dinners!)
But sense withdrawal or stimulation or distraction regardless, I use incense during the classes. I love a classic vanilla, not too pungent, not at all head-achey and reminiscent of ice cream.
Now these old classics are on the menu too! Let me know what you think.