Healthy, Happy and Wise: Come to our Senses

Written by ryan. Posted in Uncategorized


Published on September 16, 2010 with No Comments

The more we practice yoga, the more heightened our senses become. We also develop a greater awareness of things around us. Things that may have always been there might seem to just appear one day. Our sense of smell, taste, hearing and touch become more sensitive. This can be a good, and a not so good, thing.

I love being able to catch the distant scent of a lilac bush or honeysuckle on the wind, or being able to see the reflection of a rainbow in a dew drop. Life becomes so rich when our senses are in touch and in tune. The other side of that is when we encounter scents that are disturbing to our senses or witness something that challenges our psyche, this is when we have to discipline our responses and emotions to those experiences and not attach to them.
I am particularly sensitive to chemical smells and too much noise. This was not always the case however. Before I started meditating 15 years ago, I was accustomed to a lot of chemical smells since I was using colognes, detergents, shampoos and soaps full of chemicals. My life was hectic, busy and very noisy.
I did not realize how frazzled my nervous system was until I changed my lifestyle and became virtually chemical free and started practicing meditation and being silent on a regular basis. In time I started to see my old life as being very toxic and unhealthy. The rewards of having greater awareness and heightened senses far outweigh the other, but we must learn how to navigate this in a sensory overloaded world. We need to care for our senses and nurture them.
When we overload our senses, we overload our nervous system creating stress. When we are accustomed to sensory overload, we adapt and stress becomes a way of being. When we are subjected to chemical smells regularly, we adapt and our sense of smell becomes dulled. When we see disturbing images too often, our emotional response becomes dulled and so on.
It is very common for me to be in a situation where there is the scent of strong cologne or cleaner and the odor is so offensive to me but not to those around me because they are so use to it, they do not smell it. Most people do not realize how much they have lost of their senses until they get them back. I know I was one of them.
These basic chemicals are being recognized more and more as a source to greater disturbances in the body and not just dulling our senses. Coming to our senses can cause us to make different choices in our lives so that we are protecting and nurturing our senses.
Step by step, sense by sense.
Take time out for your senses.
For the eyes and ears – Try fasting from the television and the computer at different times in the week. When you wake in the morning, let the lights be dim for a while and do not turn on things that make noise right away. Let the senses transition into day.
For the touch – Explore and enjoy different fabrics, touch plants and trees, when picking up an object bring mindfulness into your sense of touch and see it intensify immediately.
For the smell – This one may take more time to develop or regain. Try essential oils instead of chemical based colognes or perfume. Many essential oils are soothing, medicinal and long lasting, and you can also make your own cleaning products using your favorite essential oil scents. Try a fresh rosemary sprig or lavender to sooth your senses and your soul.
For the taste – This will naturally improve as your sense of smell improves, once you start to explore improving your senses you will notice very subtle tastes and scents.
As the old sayings go, “come to your senses” and “stop to smell the roses.”

This column is a guide only for the general population, not all practice is good for every body, please consult with your health practitioner before engaging in physical movement and positions. Having physical presence with a teacher is always best but these instructions can offer a guide to the basic practice of yoga.

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