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

 

Smell your way to wellness with Anima Vinci

Anima Vinci are a niche fragrance house with wellness at their core – not paying mere lip-service to a current trend, but building their scents around a central ethos of literally allowing yourself time to stop and smell the roses (and jasmine, Palo Santo, citrus, sesame seeds…)

With a background at the very first ‘niche’ perfumery house – and years at the creative helm of one of the UK’s most historic fragrance names – Nathalie Vinciguerra brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. But it’s her passion for authenticity and sustainability within the world of fragrance that finally drove her to create Anima Vinci. Starting her illustrious career in Paris at L’Oréal, over seven years, she ‘…acquired in-depth expertise in fragrance development and international launches.’

From 2006 until 2015, Nathalie was the Head of Fragrance Development for Penhaligon’s and L’Artisan Parfumeur – creating briefs and working directly with perfumers to create award-winning fragrances you’ll definitely have worn, including absolute classics like Penhaligon’s Juniper Sling. And it was Nathalie’s excellent working relationship with some of the best noses in the world that further prepared her for the massive leap in founding her own fragrance house, with a very particular aim in mind.

 

 

Nathalie genuinely believes in perfume’s power to uplift our senses, and to enhance our own ability to emotionally connect to our surroundings. ‘Anima Vinci is the creative expression of my strong belief in the power of fragrance,’ she says, ‘and the positive effect it can have on your heart, mind and spirit. I believe that scents have the power to immerse us in the universe’s energy and nature’s beauty.’

A devotee of yoga and meditation for over thirty years, Nathalie’s exuberantly expressed and enlightened concept can instantaneously be understood when actually smelling the beautiful bounty – with Rose Prana, for instance, you will find yourself fully immersed in the rose fields of Grasse, smelling the earth below the bushes abundant with fresh, almost raspberry-scented Rose de Mai blooms, and a sense of the sky above. Jasmine Ylang, meanwhile, is an altogether more exotic journey – symbolic of divine hope in India – opulence tempered with lucidity, sandalwood and frangipani, a holiday for the soul.

‘Scent is the most sensational of senses,’ Nathalie explains. ‘The world opens up before me. I’m taken back to my past and propelled towards my future. Timelessly I return to a specific place. Memories take me to my Eden. I enjoy every breath of the world and look forward defiantly. I create fragrances that encourage you to embrace life. All you have to do is breathe.’

 

 

For me, personally, the most immediately transportive fragrance in their collection is Wood of Life. Built around the remarkably calming ingredient palo santo (a wood prized for its cleansing and spiritual properties, and burned in many religious and meditative practices), I genuinely feel my shoulders drop an inch when I spray it. And it’s one of those fragrances that just makes you smile and breathe deeply – just as Nathalie describes. It’s so soothing, like wearing an invisible cloak of perfumed protection, and incredibly useful on days you just feel overwhelmed, at work, on the tube, in a stressful situation at home – wherever you are. A notorious insomniac for pretty much all my life, I sometimes wear this to bed. I’m not going to pretend it zonks me out immediately, but smelling it while breathing deeply has definitely helped slow my overactive mind a while – it brings stillness: a perfume to hit the pause button with.

I cannot recommend the Anima Vinci fragrances highly enough – each one has been carefully composed in a collaboration between Nathalie and some of the world’s foremost perfumers, names like Thomas Fontaine, Christian Provenzano, Randa Hammami, Fanny Bal, Beverley Bayne and Michel Roudnitska. Basically a who’s-who of the fragrance world, and an indication of Nathalie’s prowess for connecting and working with these noses she’s spent her entire career communicating with.

But which of the scents will communicate most deeply with you, I wonder? Perhaps it will depend what mood you’re in and how you want to address it on that day – and now, wonderfully, you are able to try the entire collection at home with the Anima Vinci Discovery Set. Try EIGHT fragrances for only £20, and get ready for some self-care with scents. How are you feeling…?

 

 

Lime Spirit — Lime acts as a stimulating tonic for the mind and body. Lime pacifies your mood and boost brain power. It is a powerful ancient remedy for cleansing the aura and restoring self-confidence

Rose Prana — It benefits the heart chakra that is responsible for love, spiritual wisdom and mental clarity. Influences the central nervous system, boosts self-confidence, self – esteem and positive feeling. Strengthens the aura and stimulate the body

Jasmine Yang — Tonic and relaxant, it generates a positive reaction in the mind, enhances self-confidence, helps to change the mood and increase spiritual well being

Wood of Life — This elevating, soft, uplifting and sweet woody scent has been used for thousands of years for attaining illumination of mind, awaking self-love

Oud Delight — Illuminates the mind and fortifies the power of thinking. Increase the sense of strength, bringing in tranquillity, increasing cerebral functioning and strengthening the nervous system.

Tudo Azul — The potion to put a smile on your face.

Neroli Wisdom — A relaxing potion.

Sesame Chān — A potion to provide a zen state of mind.

We may be in the depths of winter still, but soon the seasons will change, the green bugs will burst open again, the sunshine will return – and in the meantime, why not treat yourself to some moments of scented reflection and calm, to revive and uplift or simply put a smile on your face? Whichever Anima Vinci fragrance you choose to wear, they’ll really help carry you through.

Written by Suzy Nightingale