To open every yoga practice I like to light an incense or burn sage. Students often ask what I am lighting and why. This powerful offering is known as smudging.
Smudging is an ancient |Native American| practice used for healing and energy clearing. Often used in ceremonial and ritual spaces, the burning of herbs is said to purify and protect the physical and spiritual bodies.
It is best to light your choice of herb/plant from the flame of a candle and set a clear intention as it begins to burn. If you are cleansing a room, move the smudge stick in a clockwise direction around the room. It is good to spend extra time in the corners of the room because this is a place where energy can become stagnant. If you are smudging yourself or another person, move the smudge stick in small circles around the body from head to toe. If there is a place in your body that needs extra care, attention or healing it is nice to spend a few moments over that area while calling in a positive intention/affirmation/mantra.
Two of my favorite plants with which to smudge my home, my practice space and myself are:
Sage; said to increase intuition, it is used to ward off evil spirits and negative energies. it offers protection, blessings and clearing.
Palo Santo or ‘Holy Wood’ ; meant to raise your vibration, enhance creativity and bring good fortune. a mystical tree that grows on the coast of South America, it’s scent is both grounding and uplifting.
other suggestions: cedar, sweet grass, myrrh, copal and frankincense
Collect the herbs, light a candle, and smudge! Please let us know how it went and how you feel afterwards.