For humans, the sense of smell triggers deep emotions and memories – some positive and some negative.
In fact, studies have revealed that scents can trigger more intense memories than images.
One of the five basic senses, smell, is vital for survival.
Humans and animals use scent to track food, find water, and communicate across great distances.
One study even showed that unpleasant smells warn us to danger through pain signals to the brain.
With such a powerful influence on our bodies and minds, it is no wonder that meditation uses scent to enhance the process and outcome.
- Should I Burn Incense When I Meditate?
- How to Choose the Best Incense for Meditation
- The Best Meditation Incense: 11 Excellent Options to Consider
- 1. Satya-Champa-Meditation-Incense-Sticks
- 2. Simply-Vedic-Meditation-Aromatherapy
- 3. Chakras-Natural-Meditation-Incense-Cones
- 4. 7 Mindroling Monastery Incense
- 5. Healing-Lama-Meditation-Traditional-Asthasugandha
- 6. HOLY BLEND Artisan Incense and Smudge Sticks
- 7. Nitiraj Platinum Natural Incense – Meditation
- 8. Tibetan-Incense-Sticks-Meditation
- 9. Vijayshree-Golden-Meditation-Agarbathi-Incense
- 10. Hem-Meditation
- 11. Prabhujis-Matsya-Hand-Rolled-Spiritual-Incense
Should I Burn Incense When I Meditate?
Incense is the perfect companion for meditation. It quiets the mind and increases concentration.
Burning incense during meditation engages our sense of smell and enhances the session.
With each breath, the restorative powers of diffused oil or burning incense signal your body and brain to clear and calm.
There are dozens of choices of incense sticks for meditation.
Each scent has different uses. Some, like eucalyptus or lemon, clear the mind, and some, like lavender, calm the body. Which therapeutic scent you use depends in large part on the meditative purpose.
Multiple studies have found that certain scents can relax the body, reduce anxiety and lower the heart rate.
Common calming incense includes:
- Clary sage
And while there are many effective aromatherapies, lavender is probably the most well-known calming scent.
Studies show that it can help combat mild insomnia, reduce anxiety, and even ease the symptoms of post-partum depression.
How to Choose the Best Incense for Meditation
We know that incense has been used to complement spiritual practice for thousands of years. But there is more to incense than just the scent.
How do we choose the best type of incense for meditation?
An incense stick should be both fragrant and healthy. So, look for quality incense with natural ingredients.
Incense is best made from a natural material. While most will have a bamboo core covered in quality oil, the highest quality solid incense sticks are made of pure rolled plant material.
These types are known as the Japanese style of incense.
In India, many contemporary sticks are made of a masala-type paste of aromatic oil, plant base, and honey.
Unfortunately, the least healthy have charcoal or unwanted petroleum products.
1. Burning Incense
Another decision is how to burn the incense effectively for your unique space.
Essentially, there are also two methods of incense burning:
The direct method involves lighting an incense stick to release its fragrant smoke. The indirect way externally heats the oil or resin — releasing the smoke and scent.
Pure herbal incense burns cleaner with a whiter smoke. These incense stick types provide a delicate fragrance suitable for meditation.
Tibetan-styled incense sticks tend to be larger, thicker, and smokey. Many are pungent, which can be overpowering in smaller spaces.
In addition to smoke, another thing to look for in an incense stick is the amount of residue it leaves as it burns. Smoke and oil or chemical residue are factors in both incense burning styles.
2. Incense Holders
Another decision to make is where you will burn your incense. There are burners and holders of all shapes, sizes, and materials.
For sticks, the most common is the long wooden boat, which holds a burning incense stick horizontally. Another type is a simple bowl with sand – leaving room for three sticks.
There are many burners for incense cones, from a simple plate to creative clay work.
And for scented bricks, a small candle warms a brick of fragranced resin during the meditative session. Each choice has pros and cons, including space, intensity, and cost.
Once a method and style of incense are chosen, the fragrance is the next step to consider.
The Best Meditation Incense: 11 Excellent Options to Consider
Burning incense is the perfect companion for meditation sessions as it helps quiet the mind and increase concentration.
But the fragrance is critical. And since aromatherapy can make your meditation practice more effective, take the time to choose the most appropriate scent and delivery method.
Here are a few suggestions to help you choose the most appropriate scent for your meditative practice.
These sticks are made in the traditional Masala Method and combine the Classic Champa Fragrance with sandalwood into a calming and soothing scent.
Sandalwood is one of the foundational ingredients in incense. It has a creamy, smooth aroma that quickly calms the mind –creating a relaxing atmosphere.
Champa adds oils such as warm amber, floral rose, lily of the valley, and patchouli blend.
Simply Vedic White Sage Agarbatti sticks and holder is an excellent introduction to the clarifying and purifying features of White Sage.
White Sage is an excellent way to purify a space for meditation or clear the mind.
These sticks are charcoal and chemical-free and made with 100 % natural ingredients. The inner bamboo core is hand rolled in a natural herb paste extract.
Chakra Incense Cones are a coreless, condensed style of incense with a strong fragrance.
Supportive of most meditative practices, the scent combines sandalwood and sage to calm and purify the mind and space. Chakra Incense is made from natural, charcoal-free ingredients.
The Mindroling Monastery is one of the six monasteries of the Nyingma school. Monks learn astronomy, philosophy, and meditative practices to free the mind.
Made by monks, these incense sticks are an excellent combination of White and Red Sandal Wood, Musk, and Saffron. Using Musk during meditation helps protect from negativity.
In comparison, the rare leathery saffron is used for mental clarity.
Together, these specially blended scents relax, purify, heal, encourage a positive meditative state, and aid sleep.
Asthasugandha is a holy mixture of eight fragrant herbs – Sandlewood, Camphor, Saldhoop, Kesar, Rakta Chandan, Nilgiri Oil, Cedar, and Ghee.
Often rolled by hand in lokta paper into a short four to six-inch incense rope, these herbs are considered vital to the body’s centering and health.
Asthasugandha is used during meditation, religious offerings, prayers, and purification.
Holy Blend clears negative energy and draws on positive energy with a perfect blend of frankincense, myrrh, copal, white sage, and palo santo.
Frankincense is one of the most calming scents — relieving stress and anxiety. White sage and palo santo are cleansing and purifying scents.
Myrrh is a healing and rejuvenating scent, and copal encourages pure thought during meditation. Hand-made, these thicker than standard sticks burn white smoke for about an hour.
Many combination fragrances help prepare a space and focus the mind during meditation. Many meditative practitioners use the burning of the incense stick to time their session.
A cardboard core stabilizes the stick for a longer burn, while the sandalwood, lavender, and rose resins encourage a calmer state. Nitiraj Platinum Natural Incense allows for more extended sessions.
There are several ancient incense traditions and recipes in the world. Crafted by monks in the Songzanglin Temple in Shangri-La, these sticks use a 100% natural plant-based process.
This 300-year-old recipe combines saffron, sandalwood, and an agarwood base. It is commonly used for ceremonial prayers and meditation.
This meditation Aarbathi incense combines natural herbs and resins to offer a fragrant floral and sandalwood scent.
This combination is meant to soothe the body, reduce stress, and recentering the mind.
The Hem-Meditation incense is a well-respected meditative stick handmade in India.
A medium-burning incense stick with a sandalwood base, its oil combination is meant to focus the mind and relieve anxiety, stress, and negative energies.
Many incense offerings combine oils and are named for their purpose.
Prabhuji’s Gifts Matsya Hand-Rolled Spiritual Incense Sticks from India are hand-crafted from natural herbs, flowers, and resins.
The pure oil-scented sticks are intentionally designed for spiritual observances and encourage contemplation and meditation.
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Intended for meditation, yoga, and relaxation, they have a bamboo core with jasmine, rose, and Tulasi – a warm earthy, lemony scent that improves alertness by encouraging a state of peace.
The power of scent impacts our emotions and brings our brains and bodies into action. Meditation with incense is a perfect way to achieve a healthy center.