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  • Writer's pictureBecky Proctor

Fragrance free in yoga, please

Genesis 8:21: "The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, "I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done."

That’s what God said after He had destroyed the earth with the great flood.

The scent emanating from Noah’s post-flood burnt offerings moved God in a powerful way, calling the essence a “soothing aroma.”

Unlike God, my idea of soothing aromas lean more in the direction of a freshly bathed baby and home baked bread hot from the oven, with one dramatic exception. I love to smell burning bituminous coal, an odor that for some might conjure images of the sulfurous fires of hell. For me, when I smell coal burning I think of visiting my grandmother in the coal mining town where my father grew up. I am seated in the sunny kitchen and my grandmother is placing a golden yeast roll in front of me dripping with butter.

Our scent receptors in our noses are highly sensitive and how we perceive scents can change with age and because of certain illnesses.

The perfume industry is still big business and the popularity of essential oils shows no signs of slowing down. Yet what is a pleasant scent to one person, may be noxious to another and actually threaten the good health of others with allergies or breathing problems.

I learned my lesson early on when I lit a lavender scented candle for one of my yoga classes and one poor woman was grasping for an inhaler before I could extinguish the flame and move the candle out of the room.

Years ago my dentist’s office posted signs asking patients to refrain from wearing fragrances on the days of their appointments.

Because we breathe deeply in yoga class and do not want our brains to be distracted or our lungs to be irritated, let’s leave the fragrances, scents and essential oils at home.

The best fragrance of all is that of the Holy Spirit moving within us and among us as we move and breathe and offer ourselves a living sacrifice.

Lord, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit, for our health and our fellowship. Amen.

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