Meditation means different things to different individuals. Some do it to be happy, others to improve their concentration, health, energy level, and peacefulness. In the course, some love it and others struggle with it. No matter which group you fall into, you can definitely get better at meditation with practice and experience its benefits with time.
People often connect meditation with slow breathing or calming music. In reality, it’s all about engaging your five senses and connecting them to your body, mind, and soul. This theory of meditation sounds great and attractive, but can be somewhat difficult to put into practice. Thus, to make the most out of your meditation sessions, it’s important to make them a staple in your daily schedule.
What Is 5 Senses Meditation?
Humans are sensual beings. We have five important sensory organs: ears, eyes, nose, skin, tongue, which connect our ‘self’ with the world outside. Here, 5 senses meditation or sensory meditation refers to a technique that helps us to move beyond our senses to connect with our inner self.
To make the most out of meditation, it’s essential to observe all our senses. Thus, while you are sitting in a meditation position, ensure that you observe each of your senses such as the way you breathe, your eye movement, the ambience of the surrounding, and so on. Remember, in meditation, when your senses are steady, it becomes easy for your mind and spirit to calm down and experience peace.
Practicing sensory meditation helps your body to get completely relaxed and your brain to sharpen memories and strengthen intelligence. With regular practice, your senses become clearer, and thus, you can see, think, taste, hear, feel and smell better.
How 5 Senses are Used in Meditation?
Sensory meditation is a specialized technique to calm your mind using your five senses. In this mindfulness practice, each of your senses focuses on your environment rather than your thoughts. Here are some of the ways to practice meditation using your five senses.
Sight is one of the most important senses that allow us to perceive things through our eyes. It is important for enabling us to see our surroundings in visible light and helps us to recognize colors. To improve your meditation with the help of this important sense, surround yourself with cool shades. Light shades of blue for example are not only pleasing for your eyes but also create a relaxing atmosphere, appropriate for meditation. Apart from the walls, you can decorate your meditation room with cool-toned pillows, blankets, curtains, and so on.
You can also focus on pleasing objects like a flower, beautiful picture, and a candle flame while meditating. Ensure you are noticing every little detail around you. After a few minutes, close your eyes and visualize everything you saw as you can. When the image fades, reopen your eyes and do the exercise again. Stop thinking about everything else while practicing this exercise.
Hearing is yet another important sense that allows us to communicate with others and the world around us. As our eyes are not suited for the dark, ears can help us learn about the surroundings with ease. To get the most out of meditation, it’s important to have control over this sense as well. For using this sense in meditation, direct your full attention to the sounds of your surroundings such as the ticking of a clock, sound of rain, chirping of birds, and so on. Now, forget about everything else and get absorbed in the sound you are concentrating upon. Remember, every individual is different with their own sets of meditation styles. Some people prefer silence and others calming music while practicing their mindfulness. It’s best to choose the one that suits your needs.
To practice mindfulness at home, chant “Om” loudly in a quiet room and keep on repeating the sound for a minute or so. The echo that this sound makes will calm your mind. You can also sit tall and place fingers into your ears so that no sound from outside enters your ears. Now, breathe in and out gently. Listen to the sound of your breathing carefully. You will hear the sound of the ocean while breathing. This mindful activity is very impactful in making you calm and relaxed.
Taste is an important sense that aids digestion and helps us distinguish between good and bad food. We can make use of this important sense to experience the benefits of meditation as well. No matter what you are eating, have it slowly so that you can relish its taste completely. While doing so, you can close your eyes to recognize the tastes separately. This practice will not only develop your taste bud but also your level of concentration and satisfaction.
Before starting your meditation session, you may go for a cup of herbal tea for refreshment. Teas such as chamomile, jasmine, peppermint, and green teas have ample health benefits along with calming properties.
Touch allows us to detect the temperature of an object along with its form and shape. It is a sense that protects us from burns and freezing. Touch also helps us to detect pain and prevents us from getting hurt or wounded. Touch also plays an important role in meditation. Why? It’s because comfort is the basic necessity for all mindfulness practices. Thus, while practicing meditation, make your space comfortable. To do so, you can make use of textured rugs, blankets, cushions, and pillows that provide you with optimum warmth and reassurance. Remember, when you are uncomfortable with the space, you will experience less benefit from your practice.
To evolve your sense of touch, try to explore your body movement. Sitting straight on a chair, with your eyes closed, try to rock forward and back, make circles and spirals with your body. After a couple of minutes, sit still and experience the difference. After each mindfulness practice, you can also massage your body parts one by one. Here, make use of your whole body weight into the parts to experience the touch. However, while doing so, stop thinking about all the unnecessary things and concentrate on exploring your body parts.
Smell helps people to distinguish between objects on the basis of their scents. This is a sense that allows you to take the smell of food and determine if it’s safe to eat. Apart from the feature that it helps to distinguish between objects, smell plays an important role in your sense of taste. To make use of this sense to upgrade your meditation, keep your eyes close and try to concentrate on the smell of your surroundings like that of burning incense, flowers, essential oils, and so on. While practicing meditation, light a scented candle or incense for calming your mind. Here, you can make use of oil diffusers or oil burners as well. Scents of jasmine and lavender have calming properties and thus, can reduce emotional stress effectively.
The above-mentioned sensory meditation techniques are all about pointing our focus towards different senses, such as sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. Here, you train your brain that all we need is our senses to do meditation and other mindful practices. And you don’t need to sit quietly and take deep breaths to practice meditation. All you have to do is simply employ your senses as tools to bring awareness to your daily tasks and enjoy experiences.
Aromatherapy and Meditation
Aromatherapy is a holistic treatment that makes use of natural ingredients like plant extracts to promote health and well-being. This holistic healing method makes use of essential oils to uplift your body, mind, and soul. Considered to be both art and science, aromatherapy improves both your physical and emotional health.
This holistic treatment functions through the sense of smell using products like diffusers, body oil, incense, essential oil, aromatic spritzers, hot or cold compresses, and so on. With an array of unique healing properties, these products create a synergetic blend that aids mindfulness practices as well.
Natural, aromatic ingredients have both healing and therapeutic effects. In today’s fast-paced world, when life is becoming more stressful and wrangled, aromatherapy can help you to calm and relax your mind. Thus, experts always suggest meditating with aroma oils due to their curative effect on both body and mind. Meditating next to an aromatic ingredient with the right blends helps you to connect better with your inner self. When you inhale the aroma of these ingredients while focusing on breathing, it helps you to gain clarity along with a sense of inner peace.
Aromatherapy has an array of benefits and they are-
- Helps to reduce or manage pain
- Improves quality of sleep
- Reduce mood disorders including stress, anxiety, and agitation
- Effectively treats migraines and other headaches
- Soothes sore joints
- Improves immunity by fighting bacteria, viruses, and fungus
- Helps in digestion
- Relaxes your mind and bring calmness
Incorporate the benefits of aromatherapy in your mindfulness practices to experience the most out of them. Practice this regularly to feel less stressed and build more focus on important life activities. Remember, each of the five senses is important, as it helps you in navigating the surrounding environment in a better way and leading a more peaceful and fulfilled life.