Monday, January 17, 2011

Scents and sensibility

I am happy to say, that I AM BACK.
And with a vengeance! 
I have been a bit rubbish on the blogging front...a bit rubbish on the everything front come to think of it for the last few weeks. I have only run once since the New Year, I have been lax on the returning of emails, I have eaten so much chocolate that the share prices in Cadbury must be through the roof and I have not done a yoga class in....well I am too ashamed to even say! Here is where that all changes.  After a shaky and massively busy start to 2011 I finally feel, 17 days in, that I have my head above water. I am planning and getting organised and making changes and it feels great. 2010 was both the greatest and the worst year that I can remember for various reasons and I am not planning on repeating any of the "worst" any time soon, so look out  2011 I am here to kick some serious butt. I shall do it with love and respect and a generous measure of human kindness but a butt kicking it shall be!

I had an email forward last week. Now I usually hate forwards, who doesn't, but I was intrigued by the title so I broke that promise to myself about wasting time on junky email and I threw caution to the wind and clicked. 
The title was "Four". A list of four questions complete with four answers to each question about the sender. Now the first 3 were as you are guessing pointless and just a bit more than dull, but the fourth was so wonderful: Four favourite smells. 
My anonymous forwarder replied thus
  • Jo Malone Grapefruit cologne, 
  • tomato plants (in the grow bag)
  • Johnsons babies (all of them) 
  • the sweaty smell of my leather watch strap which reminds me that I've exercised (freak)

I immediately had a wave of warmth wash over me as I smelt in my minds nose (well if you can have a minds eye...) the chemical whiff of magic markers, the gorgeous fragrance of sweet peas, the wonderful aroma of freshly percolated coffee and the scent of my Mum's incredible turkey stew.
We all tend to have very strong reactions to smells, we either like or dislike them and as you know, smells are also really evocative of certain times in our lives. 
Did you know that our sense of smell is 10,000 times more sensitive than our sense of taste? Amazing huh?!
The reason why smells very often give us an emotional reaction starts at the olfactory receptors - the hairy mucusy bits. Once excited by an odour,they transmit their impulses to the brain along a pathway that is connected to your limbic system. This is the section of our fantastically complex head that deals with emotional reaction as well as memory storage, hence the strong feelings of happiness when I smell freshly mown grass, taking  me back to long summer days in my Mum and Dad's back garden when I was a child. Likewise the vomit inducing smell of Peach schnapps which reminds me of a hideously drunken afternoon in the park on my last ever day of school. 
"So what are you getting at Fee?" I hear you ask
Yoga simultaneously stimulates, relaxes, energizes and calms the entire body, allowing it to work more efficiently as well as be more open. This includes your sense of smell. I don't know about you but I have lost count of the amount of times I have been half way through a class and thought, "You know what, that candle smells hideous" or "Wow that guy next to me smells great!" 
The other day after a really invigorating session I sprang out of the studio and immediately could smell the scent of the rain about to drench me as I wandered to my car. I had never smelt the impending rain before! 
In conclusion, shower before you go to class and don't  get all perfumed up, the people around you may not have the desired olfactory reaction to your favourite scent. If you run a studio, think long and hard about the smell of your space. Does everyone like a strong whiff of sandalwood by means of a 10 year old joss stick or even a faint aroma of fresh cotton form a modest candle? And finally, if you have had sprouts for lunch, give everyone's limbic system  break and take a rain check on yoga!

Namaste Freedom sniffers!

1 comment:

  1. Good job Sophie :) had to pull a co worker aside yesterday and tell her to stop drowning herself in perfume for work. Asthma attack inducing, burning sinus, itchy skin scent that signals her arrival everyday even before I have actually laid eyes on her. Blech!