Incense sticks are a great tool to use during your spiritual practices. They help calm the chaos in your mind and assist you to focus on one task at a time.
Certain scents like rose or jasmine are known to be natural aphrodisiacs, while Biziou notes that cedar and vetiver are good scents to use for grounding yourself.
1. Choose Your Scents Wisely
If you’re looking for a natural alternative to artificial air fresheners, incense sticks are the way to go. But, in order to get the best out of them, you need to choose your scents wisely.
Choose a gentle, relaxing scent such as lavender or sandalwood. Or, try something a little more exotic like frankincense incense. It’s been proven to relieve stress, soothe anxiety and boost mental clarity.
You can also find a variety of incense sticks that are naturally energizing and uplifting. Some, like rose and jasmine, are also known as natural aphrodisiacs. And others, such as vetiver and cedar, can help to ground the mind.
Ensure that your incense is high-quality and free of harmful chemicals by choosing a brand that’s personally dipped. Look for incense that has been dipped with the highest ratio of fragrance oils to ensure a strong and consistent scent throughout the stick.
2. Keep Them Clean
If you’re using your incense sticks to cleanse your space, it is important to keep the incense clean. You want the smoke from the incense to be clear and free of any debris that may fall off during the burning process.
A quick way to do this is by simply placing your incense stick into a holder that sits on a heat-resistant surface that can catch any falling ash. You can also purchase a shaped censer, which is designed to hold your incense sticks and has a hole at the top to allow the smoke to escape.
A popular use for incense is during meditation. This is especially useful if you’re feeling stressed or anxious, as the scent from incense can help to reduce these feelings. We recommend choosing a floral scent like lavender, rose or jasmine for this purpose as it is known to calm and soothe the mind and body. You can also choose a resin incense such as frankincense, which is known to reduce anxiety by awakening brain pathways.
3. Keep Them Away From Children
The smoke from burning incense sticks contains toxins that can be harmful to your lungs, especially if you have asthma or another respiratory condition. Ensure that indoor air flow is adequate and avoid breathing in the smoke for long periods of time. Moreover, pregnant women and babies should not be exposed to incense smoke for long, as it can interfere with their healthy development.
It’s a good idea to use a holder or burner that has been designed specifically for incense sticks and is safe to place near flammable materials. If you do not have one, use a plate or bowl filled with grain, rice, salt or sand.
Light a stick of incense as you get ready for bed in the evening or start your day in the morning and focus on the different patterns that the trail of smoke takes. The fragrant scents can help you decompress and unwind, improving your sleep quality. They can also neutralize odours, remove bacteria and viruses from the air, and improve your concentration and focus.
4. Keep Them in a Safe Place
Stored properly, incense sticks can last a few years. Store them in paper or wax papers to preserve their scent, and make sure they’re away from light sources. Avoid plastic bags as the chemicals in them can affect the incense’s scent.
Use incense to create a calm atmosphere for meditation and relaxation. Choose a scent that helps you to relax, such as frankincense, sandalwood, or cedarwood. These fragrances are known to reduce heart rate and blood pressure, encourage deep breathing, and promote general relaxation.
You can also use incense to enhance your meditation by watching the trails of smoke it creates. Try to focus on the different paths and patterns the smoke takes, and be aware of your surroundings. If other thoughts start to creep in, gently bring your attention back to the trail of smoke. According to Biziou, this will help you to clear your mind and focus on meditating or relaxing.