How Aromas Affect Meditation

Aroma, Meditation, and Brainwaves

Incense, attar oils, and meditation have been used for thousands of years to focus the mind, promote relaxation, and foster a spiritual connection.

Almost every spiritual path includes the burning of incense as part of its ritual and practice, and many paths believe that the burning of incense is cleansing for the soul. Recent scientific studies confirm this ancient belief and support its practice with the revelation that burning herbs and plant resins not only cleanses the air of bacteria, but that the air actually becomes charged with negative ions that refresh and renew our environments, as well as our bodies. Negative ions have been proven to promote positive mood and an overall sense of well-being. Being immersed in an environment
that has been charged with negative ions helps us  to block out negative, intrusive thoughts and immerse fully in our practice.

Many spiritual paths also use sacred attar oils. (The word “attar” is derived from the Persian word “
atr,” meaning “essence” or “sweet fragrance.”) Sufi masters used to choose special fragrances that had different spiritual and inspiring effects. When disciples arrived to meet their master, they encountered this beautifully scented perfume in the entrance. Because aromas make strong impressions and have the ability to transport us to moments that have passed, disciples would bring small bottles of these attar oils whenever they had to travel far away from their master. They would then apply the master’s special oil to invoke their presence before undertaking any spiritual practice. Today attar oils help us to prepare for our religious or spiritual pursuits through the ritual of applying the oil to our bodies as we begin to focus on the Now. The fragrances provide a focal point to keep our thoughts from straying. When applied to the third eye, many people feel a deeper sense of connection to the Divine.

Science confirms that these ancient practices that have been carried through to today indeed have merit. The study of fragrance and its effect on mood is known as “aromatherapy” and is believed to be at least 6,000 years old. As a matter of fact, the burning of incense and the application of sacred attar oils are the oldest forms of aromatherapy. The science of Aromatherapy confirms that scent, whether inhaled or applied topically, exerts dramatic effects on our minds and bodies.

wave imagesThe study of brain waves further demonstrates the  profound effects that aromas exert on our minds and offers insight into how scent can enable us to reach ever-deepening levels of meditation and achieve meaningful spiritual experiences.

The Five Main Frequency Brainwaves

There are five main frequency brain waves: Beta, Alpha, Theta, Delta, and Gamma which are in constant motion. This means that the brain produces waves consistently and at all frequencies. Beta operates at a wave frequency of 14 - 28 cycles per second, and is the state in which you are at your most alert. In Alpha, your brain waves move at a frequency of 7 - 14 cycles per second. A mental state of deep relaxation and meditation, it is the bridge between Beta and Theta. Alpha oversees daydreams and fantasies, and produces marked feelings of detached consciousness. In those who have trouble with remembering things, such as dreams, or what occurred during their meditation session, it can be an indication of problems with this frequency. (The problem may be that there is no bridge between the subconscious and the conscious mind because the Alpha frequency has not been tapped into sufficiently.) Theta is the state of mind where it is believed that you can create anything you wish and change your reality in an instant. This is the first stage at which we begin to dream while we sleep, and the stage at which we begin to manifest what we desire when awake. Theta is a powerful, almost magical state of mind in which people can literally walk on hot
coals without getting burned, or are able to actually heal their bodies of undesirable or diseased states. Delta is the state of mind when we enter deep sleep, and the brain wave frequency varies between 0 - 4 cycles per second. Gamma waves are associated with higher brain activity and includes perception and consciousness. The frequency operates at approximately the same speed as Delta.

It is believed that when we are in the Gamma - Theta state, which can be achieved with a regular, dedicated meditation practice, we experience the most favorable brainwaves for mind/body healing.  In this state, our brains can go from 4 cycles per second to 500 per second! Scientists have discovered that time spent in meditation while in the Gamma - Theta state is conducive to significantly releasing stress and overall anxiety. It facilitates deep relaxation and renewed mental clarity that last for days after the meditation session has ended. Gamma - Theta enables the hemispheres of the brain to become more synchronized and to function more efficiently, leading to better verbal skills. Creative thinking and imagination are also enhanced. Lastly, the sense of euphoria is greatly increased, and significant pain reduction is achieved through the release of endorphins (any of a group of hormones secreted within the brain and nervous system and having a number of physiological functions. They are peptides that activate the body's opiate receptors, causing an analgesic effect.)

Stimulating Gamma - Theta Brainwaves

Studies using brainwave frequencies show that the brain reacts to every scent, but there are particular scents that stimulate particular brainwaves more than others. For example, the scent of lavender increases the alpha brainwaves, which we know are associated with relaxation. Jasmine increases the beta brainwaves, resulting in a relaxed, yet alert and clear state of mind. Patchouli, musk, sandalwood  and amber exert their effects on the theta brainwave, making them ideal aromas to use when meditating. Frankincense, cedarwood, and palo santo are also fragrances that have been used for centuries in spiritual and religious pursuits. The ancient practitioners certainly didn't have a scientific basis for deciding to use any particular botanical; they simply selected what was most appealing to them. You really don't need to know precisely which scents activate which brainwaves because the correct scent will reveal itself to you based on your own personal preference. The fragrance that is the most pleasing to you is guaranteed to enhance your meditation or spiritual practice simply by putting you in a positive frame of mind.  It is a good idea to have an assortment of fragrances at the ready so that you may choose the one most appealing on any particular day. If having access to scents with proven aromatherapy and brainwave-stimulating properties is important to you because you have specific goals or wishes that you want to manifest, Prabhuji's Gifts offers incense and attar oils that are carefully crafted from these botanical's.

Natural Versus Synthetic

Science has proven that in order for scents to have an effect on our minds and bodies, they must be 100% natural. Synthetic scents cannot exert an effect on our minds or bodies because they contain chemical structures that simply do not fit into our cell receptors the way that natural scents do. Fragrances comprised of purely natural ingredients can impart a profound influence over our bodies because the limbic system is directly connected to the parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, stress levels, and hormone balance in addition to memory. Of our five senses, it is only our sense of smell that links directly to the limbic system. Our emotional center, fear, anxiety, anger, happiness, and sadness all come from this region of the brain. It is widely accepted among medical professionals that smells can impact a person’s mood faster than anything else. If you have lost your sense of smell, there's no need to worry that the spiritual and physical benefits of aromatherapy can't be realized. Aromatherapy works due to the natural constituents exerting their influence on the brain, regardless of ability to perceive odors.

Incense and Meditation

We now understand that incense affects brain waves and increases the mind’s ability to disassociate from our bodies. We also know that burning certain botanical's can deepen our introspection and transport the mind to realms previously not accessed. Prabhuji's Gifts ensures a profound meditation experience with the hand-rolled stick incense found in their Meditation line of three exotic fragrances. Blended in accordance with ancient wisdom, and crafted by skilled artisans in India, their incense is 100% natural and of the highest quality. Sacred mantras are infused into the blends of natural resins, herbs, and oils that have been masterfully selected to achieve powerful aroma-therapeutic benefits and facilitate deep meditation, inner tranquility, and total relaxation. Each ingredient is harvested, blended, and rolled by hand in the traditional Indian method, producing minimal waste and employing artisans in India’s rural cottage industry. Their artistic packaging is from 100% recycled cardboard, and the beauty of the illustrations of the Divine Mother offers hints to the stunning beauty of the fragrances inside.

Prabhuji's Gifts Meditation Stick Incense

Shrisha, is a fresh and enchanting scent that is sweetly feminine, yet not at all overbearing. A true Gardenia scent, it is light, uplifting and inspiring! Calming to the nervous system, the scent is a known anti-depressant in the science of Aromatherapy. Lending subtle aphrodisiac properties, it assists with deep meditation and relaxation.

Shubha features a complex blend of jasmine, lavender, and rose lily that is breathtakingly lovely! The velvety aroma is an invitation to be present in the Now, while allowing your mind to be transported to an oasis of tranquil delights. You will be delivered into a secret garden where profound meditation and inner peace are waiting for you to discover them...

Gati is a heady combination of sandalwood, amber, and musk. The warmth of the amber really shines through and releases its inherent Oriental note when burned. Perhaps the more masculine of the three scents, Gati invokes images of a lush forest as it enhances your meditation practice with a sense of stillness and wonder.

Prabhuji's Gifts Attar Perfume Oils

Fragrant works of art,  Prabhuji’s Gifts offers attar oils with proven aromatherapy benefits as well as the ability to enhance meditation practices and spiritual pursuits via their effects on our brainwaves. Crafted from naturally aromatic ingredients, they serve to attract positive vibrations of love, bliss, purity, vitality, protection and inner awakening. Each botanical exerts a positive influence on the brainwaves that help to facilitate and deepen the practice of meditation. These exotic fragrances will last the entire day, and are crafted strictly from ingredients that are permitted by the International Fragrance Association. These raw, natural ingredients which are responsibly gathered from around the world, are carefully distilled in a delicate process, then packaged in jewel-like bottles decorated with artwork reminiscent of India. Each beautiful bottle perfectly reflects its unique and exotic aroma. The thoughtfully created oils within are truly fragrances for the soul that enhance meditation and spiritual pursuits as they forever link you to the ancient masters.

Atma is a mesmerizing blend of lime, violet, patchouli, cedarwood, cinnamon, fir, and amber. Intended to assist with achieving enlightenment, the scent is a sensual floral perfectly balanced with more masculine notes that make it alluring and wearable by members of either sex. Atma is the Self, the essential plane that expresses itself as diversity: the One becoming many, the Unity manifesting as multiplicity. This unique scent will attract positive vibrations of love, happiness, sensuality, and all that is good.

Padma, the Sanskrit name for the sacred water lily or lotus flower, encourages awakening.  A sophisticated blend of chamomile, ylang ylang, rose, raspberry, clove, patchouli, and cashmere accord, the mystical fragrance is ideal for creating conditions in which spiritual awakening can occur. It, too, is suitable for members of both sexes, with its uplifting and positive vibrations. This inspiring scent will make you feel happy and carefree as the aroma unfolds and develops throughout the day.

In Summation

Since ancient times, people have used incense and attar oils to reach deep levels of meditation. The practice is now proven to have scientific merit due to numerous studies that show the profound influence that natural aromas have on our brainwaves. The science of Aromatherapy further confirms the benefits of using scent during meditation due to profound effects on the mind and body when natural botanical's are inhaled and also applied topically. These effects include the slowing of the pulse rate, calming the nervous system, and regulating physiological body functions. Synthetic (man-made) fragrances cannot duplicate the constituents found in nature. This makes high-quality incense and attar oils that are crafted from purely natural botanical's vital if you want to achieve the necessary brain state for deep meditation.   The scents which exert the most profound effect on our brains include those that comprise the main ingredients in Prabhuji's Gifts lines of incense and attar oils.


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