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How to Smudge: A Simple, Sacred Practice for Mind Body Wellness

smudge sage palo santo

“Clear your energy, honor your rhythm, live your vision.” ~ George Denslow

Self-care time with cannabis

Many people partake in some form of routine cannabis session, often in the evening to unwind from the day. It is a welcomed ritual and self-care time, used often in conjunction with meditation, yoga, or other activities. In order to get the most relaxing, therapeutic experience, many people choose to first smudge their space. The most common reasons for doing so include for aromatherapy benefits, as well as energy clearing.

What is smudging?

Smudging is a lot like yoga – nearly everyone has heard of it, many practice it, but few really understand its true potential. Essentially, smudging is a type of cleansing ritual that has been utilized by cultures worldwide since ancient times. It may involve burning herbs, wood, or resin with the intention of purifying and balancing energy – making it a simple yet very powerful practice.

Many people reap the benefits and partake in smudging in a passive sense, such as when a yoga teacher burns sage prior to a class. In most cannabis-friendly yoga studios, this same practice is also kept.

Smudging can serve as a great cleansing ritual for many other occasions as well. It is said that smudging changes the ionic composition of the air, which can influence the stress response – thereby helping promote relaxation. Further, scientific evidence has shown that medicinal smoke can even reduce airborne bacteria by up to 94%.

Bonus: it's also a great way to hide the smell of cannabis naturally, if needed.

Pick your smudge: Sage vs. Palo Santo

What form of smudge you use is really up to personal preference, as well as the purpose you wish to fulfill. Sage and Palo Santo are two of the most popular options, each with their own unique benefits.

There are many different varieties of sage, but most have a rather strong earthy, minty scent. White sage is one of the most popular types for smudging. Sage has a decent burn time once it begins to smolder, so it is ideal for a larger space. Energetically speaking, sage is associated with clearing all energy, both good and bad. This is often why many people turn to smudging with sage to cleanse a space or themselves during major events, like moving into a new home, starting a new job, or after a breakup, since it “cleans the slate” entirely for a fresh start.

Palo Santo, on the other hand, has a much milder scent with slightly sweeter notes of pine, mint, and lemon. It doesn’t burn as long as sage, so is better suited for a quick cleansing ritual or for use in a smaller space. However, it can be re-lit as needed. Palo Santo is said to cleanse negative energy and help promote good energy, making it a favorite for someone wanting a pleasant and
mildly scented smudge for everyday or more regular use. Regardless of the type of smudge you use, always be sure to choose only sustainably harvested sage and Palo Santo.

When to smudge

As previously mentioned, when to smudge is really dependent on your personal preference, keeping in mind your specific space and intention. That said, smudging is a great way to enhance your self-care time at home. Sometimes it can be difficult to clear the mind after a busy and stressful day. Before practicing yoga or meditation at home, or even before a bath, lighting some Palo Santo
can produce an immediately calming effect. Palo Santo can also be utilized during difficulty concentrating, as it is said to help remove obstacles and allow the mind to focus. 

In addition, many people turn to sage to cleanse their space and themselves after an argument, or when healing from illness. For highly sensitive empaths, it is suggested to use some form of smudging after spending time in crowded situations, or when unwelcome guests visit your home or office.

How to smudge

You’ll need your choice of smudge, a candle or matches, and a fireproof container such as an abalone shell or glass jar filled with sand. Keep in mind that smudging is an ancient and sacred practice, so it should be done mindfully and with awareness of your intention. Light your smudge stick or wood using the candle or match, and gently wave it until it starts to smolder. Circulate the smoke as you wish, around the room or yourself. Use the fireproof container to
catch any falling ashes, and to extinguish when you’re done.