How to Use Scent & Breath Work in Meditation

Learning how to breathe properly might sound counterintuitive – it’s something we do everyday without thinking about it – but deep breathing techniques are especially useful when combined with fragrance. Offering full body and mind relaxation, these breathing strategies can help when no matter if you’re feeling a little anxious, or having a full-blown panic attack. What’s more, using a particular fragrance you find calming while practising the breathing techniques can aid the feeling of relaxation every time you use it. What’s more, it can even improve your sense of smell, and your appreciation of fragrances you already own.

Catherine Turner is a meditation and yoga guru, and explains, “Breath is life of course, and yet it sounds almost too good to be true that something so natural, free and right under our noses is one of our biggest wellness boosters.” She continues: “As any breath guru will tell you, when we breathe freely and deeply, we cultivate a balanced nervous system – the overseer of our digestion and sleep wake cycle. When these systems are functioning well, we feel energised, positive and open to life. In our super visualised world, we’re not necessarily aware that breathing is a sensorial process intrinsically linked to our sense of smell.”

 

 

Catherine’s advice is to practice simple breath work and then use it in our everyday lives whenever we feel overwhelmed. Each time we inhale, air moves up the nostrils; is warmed and filtered by the tiny hairs (cilia) and mucus lining; passes over a stamp sized piece of tissue at the back of the nose (the olfactory epithelium) where odorous molecules are processed and information is sent to the brain for interpretation.

 

 

All of this physiological process generally goes on in the background. Yet most of us can recall times we’ve experienced the effects of our breath: the ‘out of breath’ high during exercise; the giddy ‘breathlessness’ that comes with excitement. Or, how wonderful it is to fill our lungs with the wet earthy woodsy aroma in the forest or the salty zesty oceanic breeze by the sea. Such moments of pure awareness hold the key to an ever present feeling of deep calm and unbounded joy which we miss when we’re so caught up in the worries and anxieties of the day…”

 

 

So, allow yourself to take a few minutes to watch Catherine perform these breath work techniques here, and join in this mini scent and breath work session whenever you feel the need to re-set your mind, and draw a line under any stresses plaguing you throughout the day.

Don’t forget – the scent you choose should be easy to carry around with you, so you can have it on hand at all times in a bag or pocket. We suggest looking for a travel size, smaller roll-on bottle, or simply decanting a favourite soothing fragrance into a portable, re-fillable spritz for on-the-go scented meditation whenever you need it. Consider trying these wonderfully soothing scents while practicing your breath work…

 

Nancy Meiland explains that she felt ‘intuitively drawn’ to creating her first attar during the early days of the pandemic. ‘GAIA’s ultra-soothing concentrated blend of Calabrian bergamot, nutmeg and jasmine sambac is centred around blue lotus absolute, which traditionally is seen as “a flower that can open your mind and is powerfully protective during times of transformation.”’ Perfect, then, for use in meditation and breath work.

Nancy Meiland GAIA from £4.95 for 2ml (£50 for 30ml) nancymeiland.com

 

 

COSMOSS Sacred Mist

Kate Moss taps into powerful ingredients to showcase into her spiritual side, embracing meditation  and mindfulness with her signature gusto. And we couldn’t be happier with that metamorphosis, expressed via her Cocomoss skincare collection, also offering us an astonishingly accomplished Chypre creation in which subtle jasmine and tuberose fuse with geranium and bergamot. It’s the sense-soothing, calming notes of oakmoss, cedarwood and tonka that we’re spritzing and re-spritzing – on and off the yoga mat.

Try a sample (plus 11 other scents & a body care treat) in our Garden of Delights Discovery Box £23 / £19 for VIPs

 

An unexpectedly soul-soothing mix of spice-infused bergamot and plum with a ‘your-skin-but-so-much-better’, creamy leather dry-down, the warm tingle of amber then simmers for hours. The roller-ball bottle makes this especially useful for travelling or touching up your scent as you breathe deeply and let go while on the go.

Malin & Goetz Dark Rum Perfume Oil £32 for 9ml malinandgoetz.co.uk

 

 

 

Sleep Knot is a soothing come-hither scent, featuring four of eastern tradition’s aphrodisiac aromas: sandalwood, jasmine, ylang ylang and black pepper. Jasmine absolute is described in Indian literature as calming and seductive: ylang ylang is named “the oil of tranquillity” and black pepper is traditionally used as a stimulant. Together, you have a beautifully sensual spiced white floral.

4160 Tuesdays Sleep Knot £85 for 50ml eau de parfum in our shop

 

mNPA – China’s first niche perfumery awards

The passion for niche perfumes is growing worldwide, and fragrance houses have been telling us for some time that the Chinese market has been expanding. Once written off as only liking quiet or subdued scents, or outsiders assuming the majority of consumers don’t feel comfortable wearing personal scent at all, it’s fascinating to see that China have just held their first ever awards for niche perfumery: the mNPA

Set to become an annual event, the mNPA – Minorité Niche Perfumery Awards – is a collaboration between the niche Chinese fine fragrance and distribution company Minorité and Firmenich, the largest privately-owned fragrance and flavour company.

Minorité founder Song Yuan said ‘This is the first time we have held the awards for niche perfumes in China… We hope these awards will help Chinese consumers learn more about our local niche brands and inspire domestic perfumes.’ Paul Andersson, Firmenich China President, explained why China was the perfect setting for these awards. ‘Following the opening of our first Fine Fragrance Atelier in China in September last year, Firmenich’s participation in mNPA demonstrates our commitment to developing the fine fragrance industry in China. Firmenich is honored to support worldwide exposure for the outstanding fine fragrance players in China by leveraging our global network and our understanding of the local Chinese consumers and market.’

‘The awards encourage the creation of innovative fragrances with an artistic touch, based on a unique approach. The nomination jury included leading perfumers, senior fragrance critics and Key Opinion Leaders who were responsible for nominating the candidates and shortlisting the finalists for each award category. Winners were then chosen by public vote.’

And the winners were…

  • Best Independent Niche Perfumes 2019: Fig-Tea by Nicolaï; Hermann A Mes Cotes Me Paraissait Une Ombre by Etat Libre d`Orange; The Orchid Man by Frapin.
  • Best Niche Perfumes Affiliated with a Group 2019: Oolang Infini by Atelier Cologne; L`Ombre Dans L`Eau (EDT) by diptyque; Florabellio by diptyque.
  • Best Chinese Niche Perfume 2019: Insects Awaken by KONG BAI; Wind by UTTORI; Rosmanthus by O D’HORA.

 

 

These awards work both ways: showing the fragrances that are making significant scent waves in China while also showcasing home-grown Chinese niche houses that perhaps aren’t widely known about even in their own country. We applaud this initiative and would love to explore more truly niche fragrances from around the world, wouldn’t you? Anything that helps diversify our olfactive palate, and the voices and memories creating their own unique stories in scent, can only be a good thing.

Written by Suzy Nightingale