A few weekends ago, my husband and I went on a little weekend getaway to the Catskills, and also visited Beacon, NY - which by the way, is a very cute little town. I highly recommend adding it to your list of places to visit in New York. There were tons of cute little shops, galleries, cafes and book stores along Main Street. I stumbled into NY Heart and Soul, an apothecary store. Filled with stones, essential oils, teas and candles, there were also dried sage bundles for purchase. I had heard of sage burning or smudging, and have definitely smelled it in a few of my favorite yoga studios, but I had never done it on my own.
My first try was actually not super successful, and I don't mean spiritually, the flame grew very quickly and I had to rush to blow it out, which meant their was tons of smoke billowing off of my dried sage stick. So I decided to read a little bit here and there about sage and its spiritual benefits, and gave it another whirl.
First and foremost I learned how important it is to set your intention before you even start to burn the sage. For me, I have a different intention in each room of my apartment. It wouldn't make sense to say the same affirmations in my home office and my bedroom, so I took some time to think about that before I started. Once I figured out how to light it, I started in my living room and then went into each room, making sure to cover all four corners of the room while thinking about my intentions, and sometimes saying them out loud.
On a psychological level, it felt really good to take a moment to stop and think about life, goals and positive vibes. It's a nice way to set the tone for the week or the month (if you don't get around to it every week).
I felt more positive and relaxed. I didn't know this while I was burning the sage, but burning sage actually releases negative ions into the air, that can have a direct effect on our stress levels. This is good news! In a city like New York, it can be very hard to avoid stressful situations - riding the subway is stressful! Am I right?
So, do I believe that I felt more relaxed solely because of the sage burning? No. But I do I think the combination of slowing down, taking a moment for myself, to gather my thoughts, (and perhaps the negative ions), gave me good vibrations.
I will update this post periodically as I gain more sage smudging experience. Please tell me about yours below!