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

 

Fragrances for… comfort & protection

Sometimes we all need some extra comfort, the protection of a reassuring hug. So, if you’ve been feeling particularly anxious, over-worked or just more than usually stressed (and frankly, who can blame you?!) we suggest reaching for one of these recently released scents to help soothe your cares away in fragrant form…

 


INITIO PARFUMS Musk Therapy
Initio fragrances ‘initiate perfume as an object of power’ – a concept we very much connect with. We could all do with some therapy after the past year, and the feather-soft white musk here fluffs around the edges of magnolia (we told you last year this flower would be blooming!) Blackcurrant provides a piquant edge, immediately smoothed and soothed by the assuring purity of sandalwood. Spray whenever you need a ‘me-moment’ of escape.
£205 for 90ml eau de parfum
harrods.com

ISSEY MIYAKE A Drop d’Issey
Almost 30 years on from the launch of the iconic l’Eau d’Issey, it’s still blazing a trail. This exquisite droplet-design bottle is created from recycled glass, the outer box with 70% recycled paper, many ingredients are sourced via ethical and sustainable partnerships – and oh, did we mention that Ane Ayo’s creation smells sublime? A gauzy, feminine veil pairing lilac and orange blossom, star anise and jasmine, resting on creamy musks, biovanillin and Ambrox.
£56 for 50ml eau de parfum
boots.com

 

AMAN Haru
Aman’s sculpturally-bottled scents are inspired by their peerless, understated luxury destinations around the world – in this case, Aman Tokyo. ‘Haru’ translates as ‘spring’; Tokyo is renowned for its cherry blossom festival, thus perfumer Jacques Chabert (who has applied his talents across all the Aman scents) layers the floatiest petalled floral notes with apricot and green tea, fluttering towards a dry-down that whispers with tobacco and maté tea, delivering a sense of calming harmony.
£220 for 50ml eau de parfum
shop.aman.com 

BVLGARI Splendida Patchouli Tentation
We happen to be fully signed-up members of the filthy patchouli fan club at TPS, marvelling that many are still put off by the ‘hippy headshop’ legacy. Fear not, naysayers, this contains a patchouli accord exclusively designed for the house – but it’s a gauzy shimmer of orris-dusted white peach on a sumptuously soft caress of white musk. Enough to convert anyone, we feel, and fresh enough for the most humid of days.
£78 for 50ml eau de parfum
selfridges.com

 

PARLE MOI DE PARFUM Haute Provence / 89
Endless vistas of Provençal lavender fields and their ‘glorious explosion of purple, mauve, lilac and blue’ were the inspiration behind this wonderfully soothing, aromatic ‘memory of France in high summer.’ Until we can wander those fields first-hand, this cool, dry and immediately nostalgic scent spirits us there with every spritz. Refreshing watermelon and hypnotic narcissus only add to the bucolic charms, and once again we praise the nose of Michel Almairac. Mais oui!
£98 for 50ml eau de parfum
lessenteurs.com

 By Suzy Nightingale

 

Fragrances for ‘when this is all over’ – soothing scents + party perfumes

How often have you heard the phrase when this is all over during the past year? Well, the “when” is soon – at least in the U.K. with the government’s ‘roadmap’ for easing restrictions seeing the return of shops and outdoor hospitality services reopening on Monday, April 12th.

However, while our hearts may be full to bursting at the prospect of seeing loved ones we’ve missed for so long – there’s some real anxiety in the mix, too.

Because we know the ‘new normal’ (ugh, another saying that needs to get in the sea) is still far from resembling what our lives looked like in those hazy ‘before’ days, when many of us (perhaps lazily) took our freedom foregranted. To travel, to meet a friend for coffee, to hug them when we arrived – blimey, just to walk into a shop! And things will remain strange for some time. So we’re going to need some extra help, still, to get through this together.

 

 

If you’re feeling anxious about mixing in public again, you’re certainly not alone. The medical website patient.info has a great article with tips to combat stress in a post-Covid world, quoting psychologist and well-being consultant Lee Chambers, who says of course we’re all still worried, because ‘Over the course of the past 12 months, there has been significant change to adapt and acclimatise to.’ and explains: ‘Without a clear future anchor and the ability to create a longer-term plan, we lack the ability to prepare, and the constantly changing rules lower our tolerance to uncertainty.’

We know that so many more of you have been finding comfort and great mental-health support from scent during lockdown. It stands to reason we’ll need a fragrant anchor to help us get through the next few months as well. So, here are some soothing scents to help calm your nerves and help you feel grounded, but also some party perfumes for when the celebratory spirit strikes and you need an instant spritz of glamour.

Whatever your mood, there’s a fragrance to match or counteract, if needs be. Think of them as bravery: bottled. For when this is all over? For right now, or whenever you need them…

 

 

Nancy Meiland Gaia £45 for 30ml perfume attar
A beautifully nurturing scent delievered via a handy rollerball. A nuzzle of jasmine wrapped in warming nutmeg, brightening bergamot and a soft breeze of blue lotus on a caressing base of cedar and sandalwood.

 

Vines House Parfum Signature Story £75 for 30ml eau de parfum
Founder Rebecca Harrison shares her signature scent ‘for a mood of composure and contentment’ – a veriutable hug in a bottle. Cool lychee snuggles with ginger lily in a whisper of warm amber-rippled vanilla.

 

Angela Flanders Bleu de Chine £79 for 50ml eau de parfum
Swathe yourself in the hush of dry lavender, grounding patchouli aged for extra depth and the woody heart of bois de rose. Inspired by vintage Chinese textiles, it’s immediately comforting yet effortlessly elegant.

 

 

Histoires de Parfums 1899 £35 for 15ml eau de parfum
With a pop of Champagne corks flying, the bohemians emerge from the clubs of Paris into the dazzling lights of the city. The fizz of bergamot and juniper floats on orange blossom ablaze with amber in the vibrant base.

[Try a sample in our Scented Retreat Discovery Box]

 

HERMES_LOMBRE_DE_MERVEILLES

Hermes L’Ombre de Merveilles  £75 for 50ml eau de toilette
Perfumer Christine Nagel encourages us to ‘see the world from new and marvellous angles’ via contrasting light and shade. Shimmering tops notes swirl to black tea and simmering tonka.

 

Kierin NYC Nitro Noir £65 for 50ml eau de parfum
Mathieu Nardin’s powerhouse gourmand/floral positively swings its hips, with ripe berries swirled through rich patchouli and dusted with orris for a hypnotic, individualistic ‘hurrah!’

[Try a sample in the Kierin NYC Discovery Set]

Whether you need soothing or a chance to celebrate, there’s a whole world of fragrances out there to support and reflect how you’re feeling (or would like to feel). If you’re still wondering what would be the best scent to suit your mood, take a look at our genius Fragrance Finder. Simply type in the name of a fragrance you love and it will suggest six others, thanks to the so-clever personality-matching algorithm…

By Suzy Nightingale

Scent to sleep…? Gorgeously fragranced relaxing products that REALLY work

Do you need to wind down, are desperate to be ‘scent to sleep’…? Silly question right now, I guess, but we have ways to help!

It turns out we could all do with slowing down, taking time for ourselves, learning to properly relax and get more sleep – a shame a global pandemic was the tipping point to realising this; but with sleep-disorders and reports of nightmares off the chart, we need to take action.

Luckily, before the whole Covid-19 thing kicked off, The Beauty Bible Awards 2020 were able to go ahead, and so we have a great list of products to go from. For those of you who don’t know, our Co-Founder, Jo Fairley, has been running The Beauty Bible Awards (and the many, many editions of the books) with Sarah Stacey for an incredible 24 years! These are products tested each year by over 1,000 women, who fill in extensive reports about each heavily-tested item. So when some products rise to the top and obtain Gold status, you know they’re the ones to reach for first.

Interestingly, a number of relaxingly scented or sleep-promoting products were trialled for this year’s awards. You can read their full descriptions and reviews on The Beauty Bible website, which I’ve linked below, but I’ve chosen some of my personal favourites (and items on my Wishlist) to share with you, here. I’ve picked them not only because they smell incredible but because they ‘do what they say on the tin’ (or bottle, or box…)

 

L’Occitane Lavande Foaming Bath £26 for 500ml
Tester comment: ‘The aromatherapy effect makes feeling relaxed very easy. I definitely became calmer when using it.’

Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil £49 for 55ml
Tester comment: ‘It promises to be calming and promote good sleep. I felt it exceeded the claims. It’s amazing.’

Spacemasks Interstellar Relaxation Masks £15 for 5
Tester comment: ‘I was tired and stressed before using this self-heating eye mask but it gives me 20 minutes of heaven, very relaxing especially with the jasmine fragrance. Spacemasks help hugely with sending me off to sleep…’

This Works Deep Sleep Superblend £70 for 10ml oil & diffuser
Tester comment: ‘I have trouble sleeping all the time and yes, this helped a lot both with sending me off to sleep and being able to get back to sleep after I wake during the night.’

Beatitude Peace Pillow Spray £16 for 50ml
Tester comment: ‘Lovely evening scent that’s perfect for bed. I felt relaxed once I sprayed it on and looked forward to sniffing it before I fell asleep. It did assist me sleeping. Makes the bedroom smell lovely too.’

Temple Spa Quietude Pillow Mist £25 for 100ml
Tester comment: ‘I am a Play Therapist and I work with some very hyper children so I spray this in my room to help them feel calm and give a lovely soothing scent to the room. I would definitely by this again. Just perfect and exactly what I was looking for’

By Suzy Nightingale