Incense for Meditation: 11 Scents to Help You Relax

Do you have a hectic schedule and can’t seem to meditate at all? Don’t worry, and you’re not alone.

Burning incense provides a delightful sensory experience and helps one break free from earthly worries. 

Incense for meditation has little to do with aesthetic purposes. It promotes a deep sense of calm and feels therapeutic for the soul.

Today we will be talking about the history, fragrance profiles, benefits, and use of 13 incense that we have come to like.

So, if you’re new to incense meditation or want to switch up your home fragrance, you’re at the right place to get all the information. 

Benefits of Burning Incense

The smell of incense can help you feel grounded and relaxed during meditation. It’s an olfactory delight, leading to a lasting state of Zen.

But easing your mind and body to meditate is easier said than done. Here’s how a good quality incense stick can help—

  • Incense helps you unwind after a long day at work 
  • Has a calming effect on the nervous system
  • Meditating with incense relieves depression  
  • Increase concentration, creativity, and energy
  • Relieves nervous tension, and breathing irregularities

Pro Tip: To find good quality incense, look for organic incense that uses safe, natural ingredients and essential oils.

The Best Incense for Meditation: 13 Fragrances to Try 

These popular choices are backed by ancient culture and will help you get started with incense right away. Have a look.

  1. Frankincense
frankincense incense for meditation

Burning frankincense incense is rooted in ancient cultures. It’s a traditional incense choice for healing and practicing meditation. It has medicinal properties that— 

  • Enhance focus and memory 
  • Increase mental clarity
  • Fight inflammatory diseases  
  • Make depressive episodes less intense 

Its calming smoke is loaded with biochemicals that promote the healthy functioning of our cerebral cortex, breathing, limbic systems, and gut. 

We describe the smell of Frankincense as earthy, piney, and citrusy— all in the right amounts. For anyone who prefers a sweet, woody scent that is not too overpowering, this one will be your perfect companion.

  1. Sage Incense
sage incense for meditation

Among different types of incense, sage is our favorite for its herbaceous aroma. It smells crisp and earthy and comes in varieties such as Bergamot, White Sage, and Clary. 

Also, it is believed that sage cleanses spiritual impurities and draws out negative energies from home. The antimicrobial properties of sage are scientifically proven. 

Benefits of sage incense at a glance:

  • A few types of incense, including the white prairie sage, are psychoactive— helping you reach a calming state 
  • Burning garden sage during meditation can alleviate anxiety 
  • Sage has cognitive-enhancing properties to reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease 

Fun Fact: According to research conducted by the University of Mississippi in 2016, white sage has a chemical compound that can elevate mood and reduce bodily pain.

  1. Sandalwood Incense
sandalwood incense for meditation

If you visit Buddhist monasteries, recall the woody smell in the air. This sweet, balsamic fragrance comes from burning sandalwood incense.

A natural relaxant, sandalwood is the right incense for people with anxiety.   

Sandalwood incense has a calming effect on the human nervous system. Also known as the best incense for anxiety, it helps mitigate feelings of distress, aggression, and panic.

As you practice special breathing techniques for meditation, take in the sweet aroma of sandalwood. When absorbed by inhalation, it is believed to promote—

  • Emotional healing
  • Inner peace
  • Positive energy 
  • Concentration  
  • Better sleep

Fun Fact: Frankincense and sandalwood incense are part of age-old Chinese medicine— believed to ease stress and depression and activate the chakras. 

  1. Amber Incense
amber incense for meditation

Amber incense comes from plant secretions and resinoids found in the tropical forests of India. The aromatic compound of amber leaves a delicate scent that feels warm and musky with time. 

If you are fond of light, natural fragrances, you can try different scents from the amber group— tonka bean, Frankincense, pine, and vanilla.

With rich, woodsy notes, amber’s scent profile is on the masculine side.  Historically, amber is believed to attract positive energy and help with luck, love, and healing. 

We love amber for its spicy incense scent. Burning amber incense should be a staple to your meditation routine if you want—

  • Peace and tranquility 
  • Mindfulness and spiritual awakening 
  • A musky fragrance to fill up your meditation space 
  • Activate the Solar Plexus Chakra 

Fun Fact: Amber is considered a sacred scent in many cultures and is called “The Nectar of Gods,” or commonly “Ambrosia.”

  1. Jasmine Incense
jasmine incense for meditation

Jasmine incense has a sensual aroma that soothes the mind and inspires happy emotions. It helps one feel energetic, making this incense a good choice for daily yoga and meditation. 

Widely used in aromatherapy, jasmine incense is one of the most refreshing incense choices out there. This uplifting, floral scent leaves you feeling amazing long after your meditation session is over!

  • Invigorates the soul 
  • Helps with stress relief
  • Works as an aphrodisiac 
  • Used for energy cleansing

Fun Fact: In the fragrance world, jasmine is known as a masculine floral scent.

  1. Lavender Incense
lavender incense for meditation

We first came across lavender incense while looking for essential oils. It creates a calming environment, which is perfect for finding your ‘Zen’ after a hard day’s work.  

Burning lavender incense sticks can treat fatigue, fear, insomnia, stress, menstrual cramps, and migraine. Outside meditation, burn incense on your nightstand for a restful sleep. 

But does lavender incense help with stress? 

The floral, smoky scent of lavender helps quiet an anxious mind. Inhaled lavender works through our limbic system, most importantly the amygdala, which regulates many of our emotions and behaviors.

  1. Oud Incense
oud incense for meditation

Smelling earthy, warm, and slightly sweet, oud incense has sublime scents that are sure to elevate your present moment.

Oud is one of the best incense for meditation, used by not just mystics but also modern-day meditators. The use of oud incense dates back to the third century AD in central Vietnam.

Agarwood, or oud, was also one of the fragrances that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) loved greatly. In Sahih al-Bukhari Book 60, Hadith 2, there are mentions of the Prophet using “Bakhoor” or incense during religious ceremonies. 

  1. Chamomile
chamomile incense for meditation

Chamomile incense has phytochemicals with valuable health benefits. It provides relief from neuralgia, arthritis, indigestion, and nausea. Chamomile increases serotonin and dopamine levels, which can brighten up your mood. It’s safe to breathe in its calming smoke and immerse yourself in meditation.  

  1. Pine
pine incense for meditation

Pine incense is made from the resin of Pinus colophoniae. It burns with a woody fragrance and is one of the healthiest incense to burn. For starters, it helps release feelings of guilt, and allows you to recover from deep-seated mental trauma. Pine scent is known to reduce stress, improve breathing, and boost the immune system.  

  1. Green Tea Incense
green tea incense for meditation

This fresh-smelling Japanese incense can be a source of serenity in your hectic lives. Its herby smell inspires the feeling of taking a walk in the forest. You can burn it with floral incense to balance out the notes.   

  1. Ylang Ylang

The Ylang Ylang incense is said to eliminate feelings of frustration and anxiety. When inhaled, Ylang Ylang promotes creativity and wellness. Studies have shown that this incense can improve the condition of people with dementia. Overall, it is a fitting incense for anyone dealing with emotional turbulence.

  1. Lotus  
lotus incense for meditation

In the middle east, burning lotus incense sticks is believed to enhance emotional clarity and mindfulness. It emanates positive energy and gives your happy hormones a healthy boost.  

  1. Lemongrass Incense 
lemongrass incense for meditation

Lemongrass incense cones are popular for their fresh fragrance and leafy aroma. Its lemony scent revitalizes your mind and helps you relax into a meditative state. The smell of lavender also acts as a natural insect repellent.

How to Burn Incense for Ultimate Relaxation – The Correct Way

Burning incense is a straightforward process. Before we begin, incense smoke in a closed room may be damaging to your respiratory health. 

So, place your incense burners in a well-ventilated area, and make sure that the scents are not drifting directly into your nose.

  • Place the incense stick inside the incense burner or censer.
  • Light the covered end with a match or a lighter. 
  • Let the flame stay on for 10 seconds, and wait for a glowing ember.
  • For safety reasons, do not leave lit incense unattended.

Incense Sticks Vs. Incense Cones 

When it comes to meditation, incense sticks are preferable to incense cones. Incense cones are better suited for perfuming the room because of their fast-burning and strong burst of fragrance. 

In terms of longevity, incense cones burn unevenly, that too for a short time. Incense sticks burn for much longer, allowing you to take in the incense smoke slowly in a meditative state.  

One of the plus points of cones is that the ash does not spread all over the place. However, they do take a lot of time to start burning because of their triangular structure. 

Exciting Facts About Incense You Should Know

Burning incense is not just limited to yoga and meditation. For thousands of years, incense has been used in spiritual awakening and prayer. Here are a few facts about incense from ancient history and religions of the world.

  • Burning incense is a common practice in Islam to purify mosques, homes, and holy places. Incense cleanses the air around Kaaba, comforting Muslims during heartfelt prayer and pilgrimage.
  • In Indian culture, “Agarbatti,” or Indian incense sticks, are used for worshiping Hindu deities, meditating, and purifying the home.  
  • Most Buddhists associate the smell of incense with an ethereal fragrance— meant to awaken divinities. Lighting incense during meditation can be traced back to their oldest scriptures. 
  • In many cultures, it is believed that burning incense wards off evil spirits and negative energy. Egyptians offer “incense blessing” as a means to protect their loved ones from evil. 

How Long Does an Incense Stick Last? 

Depending on the material and thickness, incense sticks typically burn for 20 to 40 minutes. You can burn three incense sticks together to get a lingering scent.

Once the incense stick is done burning, the fragrance stays anywhere between 1 to 12 hours.

If you want long-lasting incense, you can look at the ‘Hem’ meditation incense sticks. They have authentic fragrance profiles and come in a lot of different scents to choose from.

Rounding Up

Burning incense with different fragrances adds new heights to your meditation practice. For us, it made the experience more personal.

We talked about our best-liked incense for meditation, and we hope lighting incense will change your meditation journey for the better!