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Season 2 - Episode 4

Day 3: Smelling

45 min - Practice


Consider the intimate nature of inviting input into the body through smell.In Day 3, we explore the sense of smell. We orient towards the midline of the body through symmetrical and asymmetrical movements. We notice that we turn our nose and face towards what we wish to give our attention to, and practice allowing the nose and face to lead us through transitions in familiar poses, remaining present and experiencing them anew in each unique moment. Suniti suggests going for a walk after this practice and noticing what memories, stories, and preferences might be conjured up by the different smells encountered outside.
What You'll Need: Mat


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Welcome to day three, where we'll be exploring the sense of smell. And there's a couple of things that I wanted to name before we get moving. One is that your nose is directly on your midline. You have your nasal bones, you could bring your hands up and say hello to your own nasal bones right here on the midline. And then directly behind from that, you have two midline bones, your vomer and your ethmoid.

And they're directing or orienting you towards your own midline just as your sternum is and just as your sacrum is and your tailbone. These are all one-of-a-kind bones that are right here on your midline. And the other thing I wanted to share is that when we smell, we are breathing in and there's certainly an amount of intimacy to that. What are you bringing in and what do you turn your head to? So what do you give your attention to?

So we'll play with some of those questions. Let's bring the hands together and rub them together. Feel your hands, feel your hands meeting. Allow for a hello, your two hands touching, being touched. And now bring your hands up towards your nose and breathe in and breathe out and smell yourself and bring yourself all the way in through smell.

This is quite intimate, isn't it? And release your arms down. Turn your head a little bit up towards the sky and turn your nose a little bit down towards the floor. And do that a few times for yourself. So turning your nose like you're breathing in what's above you and then turning your nose down.

And notice how the movement initiated by your nose's curiosity is affecting your whole spine. And when we turn or lead from our nose, we're giving our whole face. Again, we're orienting towards midline and turning towards nose up and nose down. And now we'll add the arms. So you'll lift your arms up towards the sky, let your nose turn slightly up and let your hands lower and the nose will come slightly down.

So this is a gesture we do often. Continue like that on your own, arms up, letting the nose reach up and arms come down and the nose will point slightly down. Few more times like that. What are you giving your attention to? What are you turning towards?

So already you've turned towards your practice. And you give yourself all of your attention, turning into your practice, into your process. So again, arms will go up and the nose turns slightly up and the arms will come down and the nose will turn slightly down. And then look straight forward, looking out on the horizon and again feeling your midline your nose, your sternum, your sacrum and tail, all very unique, one-of-a-kind bones here orienting us to our own midlines. Lift your heels up off the floor so you're shifting your weight to the balls of the feet and then lifting heels.

Drop your heels and find a little shake. So some big inhales and really generous exhales, bringing in and letting go. What would you like to bring in? What would you like to bring all the way into your life? And what would you like to offer like a gift?

Inhaling, bringing in and exhaling, making an offering, letting go. Feel your skin shaking, shake all of your skin all at once and notice what it feels like to be with all of your skin. I know for me it wakes up more of my back body, makes me feel more round, more whole when I can feel all of my skin. Feel, inhaling and exhaling, bringing in, releasing, keep shaking and turn your torso just a little bit to the right so there's a little bit of a twist and we're turning our nose now to the diagonal, give some attention to how that moves your spine. And then we'll turn, twist just a little bit to the left, still shaking and then we'll travel back through center.

One more minute of shake and really find your own rhythm, let this be as vigorous as you like, as small and quiet and tender as you like. Find your own way of shaking and now shake all of your contents. Slow breathing in deeply and releasing. One more big inhale and a full exhale and then turn the volume down on your shake so it's going to get smaller and smaller and smaller until you pause and notice the aftergo, the after effect of your shake. You might find a little wakefulness, a little tingling, openness to your skin and imagine that your skin was breathing.

Imagine that the pores of your skin could dilate to breathe. What does it feel like to breathe with all of your skin? To feel that bringing in and releasing. Let your arms float forward out in front of you and wide to the side, up towards the sky and float your arms forward and down. We'll do that one more time so your arms will float up, your arms are moving in symmetry and the arms will go wide, arms go up and forward and down.

So now move in your own way but let your arms continue to play in symmetry so the elbows can bend, the wrists can bend, the fingers can creatively gesture in space but the form is at their in symmetry to each other, mirror images. I have a teacher that once told me, Suniti, how could I possibly tell you how to move? It would be like telling the ocean how to move. So now I offer that to you. How could I possibly tell you how to move?

It would be like trying to tell the ocean, move like this. So now we'll free this up and let the arms move in asymmetry. So the arms are moving through space, you might find some diagonals and some spirals and certainly as the arms move in these creative gestures, it will begin to move the spine. Let your spine move if that feels good. Now as you're playing with arms moving through space and asymmetry, include your breath.

Like your breath could fill you, expand your skin and condense you, bring you back towards center. What are you bringing in? What are you releasing? What are you turning towards? Where is your attention?

What are you giving your attention to? One more minute with this creatively gesturing through space, honoring your uniqueness, your own way of moving, playing with the arms, and they are creatively moving through space and being received by space. And we'll release that finding Tadasana and again this sweet, sweet moment, the afterglow of some movement, the afterglow of giving our attention to ourselves and to our breath. Bend your knees and begin to roll your shoulders. So the shoulders will go forward and up and then back and down and as the shoulders go down, bend your knees and then as the shoulders go forward and up, begin to elongate your legs back and down, knees bent, legs extend as the arms, the shoulders go forward and up and then back and down and several times like that.

So there's a lot of movement here, of course, through the collarbones and the shoulder blades and spine and can that be initiated from your feet touching and being touched by the ground. So I'm pushing my feet down to inspire this roll of the shoulders. A couple more times, include your breath, be moved by what you are bringing in. And now whole arm circles, so your fingertips will go forward and up and back and down a few times like that. Again, you can let your spine move, you can include your breath and now feel midline, your nose orienting you to your midline, the core of you, the center of you, your sternum orienting you towards midline, your sacrum and tailbone orienting you to your own midline.

One more time, circle your arms and release your arms down, little wiggle and then widen your feet. Taking up a little bit more room, we'll bring our hands to our hips, root down into your feet and begin to lengthen the front of your spine, turning your nose up towards the sky. Deep crease in your hips will fold forward and bring your hands to the floor. Underneath your shoulders, begin to bend your left knee and then shift your weight to the right side, bending your right knee. A few more times like that, again, always finding your own rhythm and even in the instruction, it can feel like I'm telling you what to do now, but still stay in that, oh, I'm an ocean.

How can I move like myself? Bending your knee, rocking to the left and then rocking to the right. The next time you rock to the right, take a quarter turn, so your right foot will be in front and lower your back knee down. Walk your hands up to your front leg and maybe lift your arms up for your low lunge. Play with where your nose is facing and as your nose faces up, breathing in, giving your attention to this posture, lengthening up through each fingertip and we'll release the hands down.

Tuck your back toes, lift your back knee, take a quarter turn back through center and then we'll go right to the second side. So walking yourself over, take a quarter turn, left leg in front, lower your back knee down and then we'll walk the hands up, starting to get centered and balanced and then lift your arms up, finding your low lunge. Notice your nose in relation to the sternum, so again, these midline bones, one of a kind. What is it like to feel your sternum, your breastbone and then your nose? And release your hands down, tuck your back toe, lift your back knee and take a quarter turn, we're back through center and then again rocking yourself, left knee bends, move through center, right knee bends and move through center, left knee bends, move through center, right knee bends, one more time like that.

Moving through center, you can let your spine be fluid, easy and then next time your right knee bends, we'll take a quarter turn, heading back to that low lunge, lower your back knee down, reach your arms up and smell, breathe, bring in. Release both hands down, tuck your back toes, lift your back knee, we'll keep the left hand down and reach the right arm skyward, breathing in, releasing, breathing out. Release your right hand down and take a quarter turn, heading back to the middle, legs nice and wide, again we'll rock a bit side to side, so the right knee will bend and then left knee will bend, right knee will bend, rocking the spine, left knee will bend and let's take a quarter turn, heading to the left, lower your back knee down, move down through both feet and rise up for your low lunge. Release your relationship between nose and mouth and then letting your nose bring you into the back bend, just testing that out. Release both hands down, tuck your back toes, lift your back knee, bring your right hand down and reach your left arm up, root down through the inner legs, also a helpful tool to find your midline, can your tailbone face back towards your back heel, again orienting towards the midline, sternum and nose and release your hand down and make your way back to the side and then again we'll bend the right knee and move through center and bend your left knee, move through center and bend your right knee, move through center, bend your left knee and then if you like you can come on down to your forearms and continue that movement of side to side, letting the spine have a fluidity to it, an easiness, rocking and notice the difference in smell down here, maybe you smell your mat or different parts of your body, our sense of smell developed based on our experiences, notice when you smell if there are stories, memories associated with smell, expectations and then we'll travel through center and release the hands into your prasarita padottanasana, your wide legged forward fold, what are you giving your attention to, I think about this a lot with the relationship I have to my phone, do I really want to be giving my attention to this, so much of my attention and certainly if you're around children they really demand your attention to turn your head, give someone you love your whole face, lengthen up part way, bring your hands underneath you, bring your hands right underneath your sternum and then reach your right arm up towards the sky and give your face to the side of the room, to the floor, to the sky, give your attention and release your right hand down and second side, so right hand is planted, left arm will start to rise, we keep rooting through both feet and then we give our attention, we breathe in, we let the breath come all the way in and release your hand down, shift your way to your heels, bring your hands to your hips, begin to rise all the way up and wiggle your feet closer together, coming back to stand, little wiggle, make it feel nice and let's travel towards a downward facing dog, so inhale, lift your arms up to the sky, exhale, fold forward, lengthen half way arda uttanasana and make your way back to a downward facing dog, bend your knees here, find a nice big exhale and on an inhale push through the balls of your feet and come forward to plank and now a sharp exhale come back to down dog with the knees bent, inhale forward to plank, exhale sharply, hips up high knees bend, couple times like that, so inhale forward, strong exhale, inhale forward and exhale back, keep going, find your own rhythm and give a lot of connection to that sharp exhale, really letting go, releasing and then pause and plank, circle your hips you're going to go a little to right, a little to the floor, little to the left, little to the sky, little to the left, little to the floor, little to the right, little to the sky, one more time each direction, what happened to your nose, what happened to your breath, what happened to your attention, circling the hips to the left, circulation the hips to the right, then lower all the way down to your belly.

Rise up into a low cobra and we'll turn our heads to the right. Keep turning so that you look back towards your right heel and then we'll come back through center and turn. So imagine that there is something that you want to move towards back over there, down there and then come back to center then again turning to the right to look back to the right heel and notice how that curiosity of moving towards affects the movement of your whole body. We'll come back through center and then looking over your left shoulder back towards your left heel so the spine moves, the legs move, there's movement through the whole body and then we'll come back to center, lower down. Push into your hands and find your child's pose.

Notice the smell here of your mat, of your own body. There's such intimacy in that of breathing in, of experiencing what lives here. We learned about our world through smell, through touch, through taste, through sound, through sight. Come all the way up, bring your hands right behind you to find a little backbend. Moving forward to plank and make your way back to a downward facing dog.

We learned about our world through our senses and we learned about ourselves and we continue to do that. What are you bringing in and what are you releasing with each breath? And now lift your right leg up towards the sky like your inhale could do that for you. And exhale, step your right foot forward between your hands, rise up for high crescent lunge and come slightly forward on the diagonal. And now again we'll put something, maybe there is something there that you want, have a little reach, a little curiosity and we'll reach with our fingers, our faces, keep reaching to lift your back foot up off the floor, let it move your whole body until you're in your version of warrior three.

You can stay on the diagonal or you can start to lift your back leg to lower the torso. Now again feel your midline and bring your left foot down, arms up and fold forward, folding in, lengthen halfway and step back to a downward facing dog. Feel free to stay steady here, if you'd like to find an upward facing dog or cobra, feel free to move in those directions. So a few breaths to move like yourself, making some choices that feel nourishing to you. We'll meet back up in downward facing dog, lift your left leg up towards the sky, step your left foot forward between your hands, rise up for high crescent lunge and come slightly forward in the diagonal, reach, explore the space in front of you, keep reaching until it moves you through space, lifting your back leg up off the floor and then maybe staying there in the diagonal or lifting your back leg up a little bit more.

That's what happens here if you include your breath, include all of your skin and bring your right foot to meet your left foot standing and release your arms down. Shift your weight into your right foot and hug your left knee into your chest. And your left leg back for warrior two and first turn your gaze straight out in front of you so it's in line with your sternum and your tailbone. And now turn your nose so you're looking towards your right hand and give your attention to your right hand. View with your breath strong in your legs so that your arms, they're still in this creative gesture, creative gesture into space and they have the support of your strong legs.

Push down into the right foot to extend the right leg, turn your right toes in, your left toes out, bend your left knee coming into warrior two second side. Turn your head so it's straight out in front of you, aligning your nose with your sacrum with your tailbone, feeling your own midline, the center of you, the core of you. And now turn your head so it's like the desire of your midline of your core to offer its attention. What are you bringing your attention to? And then returning to breath, bringing in, down, releasing.

Push down into your left foot, extend your left leg, turn your left foot in and then once again bring your hands down in one more time. Rock yourself a little to the left and a little to the right and a little to the left and a little bit to the right and then take a quarter turn, head back to a downward facing dog. Then last time, if you'd like to find another back bend here, please feel free or stay steady in downward facing dog. From downward facing dog, step your feet behind your hands, lengthen part way and turn your toes out, bend both knees and come into a wide squat. Your version, so of course you can stay up a little bit higher.

Push down into both feet, rise up to stand and bend and crease in the joints and come back down. Again we'll root down to rise and we'll travel back to the squat and this time, with the help of your hands, bring your seat all the way down to the floor and then bring your legs together. Reach your hands forward and then just tip slightly back to hover your feet up off the floor, maybe bringing the shins so they're parallel to the floor for your Navasana. You can play with extending your legs and from here, we'll release the feet down, let your knees turn out and then the arms will come out in the diagonal as you tip your pelvis forward and lengthen the front of your spine. And now tip your pelvis back, coming to the backside of the sitting bones to find your Navasana again.

And again, we'll bring the feet down, tip the hips forward, knees turn out, arms rise and we'll come back to Navasana. Just a couple more times like that, feet down, arms out and as you do that, notice what you're giving your face to, what you're giving your attention to. Release your feet down and we'll start to transition down to our backs. So bring your hands forward out in front of you, feet down and slowly, slowly begin to lower down into constructive rest. So a moment here now with the support of the ground.

The support of the ground is always there but now we have more contact so maybe it's easier to feel that or to release into it. Very gently rock your head a little bit to the right and to the left. So one of the pieces with coming to be in our senses is that there can be a lot of expectations there. So if we, you know, see something then we might already think we know what it smells like or what the touch would be like or if I say a posture we might already think we know what that posture will feel like. So that can all be very useful sometimes and then sometimes it can be very limiting.

So as you turn your head side to side like this, let it be fresh by releasing into present time and feel into your breath passing the inner walls of your nostrils, smells coming in. We'll bring the heels a little bit closer to the pelvis preparing for bridge Satubandasana. So as you feel ready, again coming in with freshness it's like well we don't know what this is going to feel like, taste like, smell like, be like, so as you're ready we'll push through the feet to rise up. You can choose your arm variation today, you can roll your shoulders underneath your back and clasp your hands or you can bend your elbows and let your feet turn up or sorry your fingers point up towards the ceiling or sky. Root down through the inner feet to again connect to the midline, those unique bones that are on the midline.

Your tail, sacrum, your sternum, the nasal bones and then the couple of bones behind the nasal bones, very unique and they orient us to our own midlines and very gently we'll release and lower the hips and breathing. Again turn your head a little bit to the right and a little bit to the left, noticing what that's like to move from the nose. And one more time rising up into Satu Bandhasana, so pushing down into the feet to rise, again you're choosing your arm variation, rooting down through the inner feet connecting to your own midline, the center of you and giving your attention over to your breath. And gently release your hands, lower down, another breath here in constructive rest. Bring your knees in towards your chest and let your legs go to the left, your right arm can head to the right for a supine twist.

Where do you want to turn your nose right now? What if you were to move from the curiosity and the desire of your nose? How does that affect your whole spine? And gently travel back through center and then send your legs over to the right, letting your left arm move to the left for your supine twist. Then again where do you want to place your nose in space?

What do you want to give your whole face to, what direction? And then of course that affects the movement of the whole spine. And we'll gently travel back through center, hug your knees in and now please prepare yourself There's a practice I play with daily which is I approach the asana or I go for a walk outside and I say have your way with me. Magic of the sunset, have your way with me. People breeze, have your way with me.

Shavasana, have your way with me. I don't have to do anything here but simply move through me, share with me your wisdom. Breath, have your way with me. Very gently begin to explore some movement and move from the curiosity of your skin to the curiosity of your mouth and nose and ears and eyes and eventually we'll let this movement bring us up to our seat. You can take some time rolling to your side and once seated well once again rub our hands together and bring your nose towards your hands and feel the breeze coming off your hands and again just some big breaths breathing in your own sense.

Notice if anything has shifted in the last 45 minutes and then we'll pause allow the hands to move slightly apart and gently bring your hands all the way together and as they touch feel them touch and again orient to your own midline the center of you, your hands on your midline now just like your nose, your sternum, your tail, your whole spine and we'll close our practice today with a bow. Thank you so much for sharing in this practice with me, truly thank you. For a homework suggestion I would recommend going for a little walk and breathing in, noticing smells, tending to smells and notice memories that show up and stories that show up and preferences that show up and simply be in the the inquiry of what lives here in my sense of smell, so thank you.


Jenny S
6 people like this.
Another dreamy practice. I’m noticing that each practice plays off the others, and this shines a light on how our senses do the same. The sense of smell is a big one for me...I’m always aware of how certain smells can conjure up potent feelings and memories, some wonderful, some not so nice. But being able to really feel sensations through the sense of smell is one of the greatest gifts we have here in this realm of existence 🌹☕️🥧🥥🧄🔥🙏🏻
Michelle F
6 people like this.
Hi Suniti- I agree with Jenny S  that these practices are having a wonderful cumulative effect on my senses. And how useful to have pointed out -despite it being  "as clear as the nose on your face!" haha  that the nose bone sits right on the midline- wow this really helped me make tiny adjustments in my position throughout the session . Another lovely homework assignment on my way to work....the rain is falling softly so the "petrichor" ( a favourite word of mine!) will be amazing - in fact I´m going to call this the petrichor practice. Thank you Suniti,
have a wonderful day!
1 person likes this.
Thank you Jenny S! Smelling is a big one for me too. I appreciate your share!
1 person likes this.
Michelle F, Oh I bet the petrichor was amazing after the rain. :)  I too get so much out of orienting towards midline. I find it so useful in asana. It can be interesting to feel nose, sternum and tailbone all at the same time. Thank you for writing! 
Alana Mitnick
Thank you for this beautiful practice Suniti. I loved every moment of our exploration. XoA
1 person likes this.
Alana Mitnick you are welcome! What a treat to have you practicing with me. Xo
Laura M
1 person likes this.
Another practice that is pure magic! I am so grateful to have stumbled upon your teachings. Thank you!!
1 person likes this.
Hi Laura M, Aw thanks. I also love the way Yoga Anytime has connected me to so many lovely practitioners. Sometimes the connection lands at just the right time and it feels like magic. Thanks for being here with me!
Leesa N
1 person likes this.
thank you suniti. I love practicing with you. 
Fern S
3 people like this.
Oh dearest Suniti, 
What an AMAZING practice. I feel so much gratitude. Thank you for your presence and guiding me to find my own curiosity. I will go for a walk and inhale all the beautiful flowers and think of you! xoxox
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