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Cleansing Your Space: Everything You Need to Know About Smudging

Jenn Bauer
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Sometimes cleaning your house just isn’t enough. Clearing the energy and creating the desired positive vibes in your space is also needed. A great way to purify and cleanse your space is to smudge the air and energy. Smudging is a quick and easy way to give yourself and your space an energetic boost. And we have all the tips you need to get started.
 
So what exactly is smudging?
Smudging is the ancient practice of burning dried plants to remove negative and stagnant energy from a space or person. Smudging has been common among Native American tribes for over 2,000 years to not only cleanse negative energy, but negative spirits as well. Many different religions and other spiritual followings now practice similar smudging rituals as well.
 
Smudging is primarily used to cleanse a physical space, but you can also smudge your own aura, or that of another person if needed. If you’ve gone through something emotionally difficult or spiritually troubling, smudging can help clear your own spiritual center and give you the space to heal. Smudging can help bring a sense of harmony and renewal to your energy and your life.
 

Here are 5 things you need to begin smudging:

 
 

1. A smudge stick

A smudge stick is a tied bundle of dried herbs used to smudge a space. The traditional blend of sage, lavender and cedar work well for general cleansing, but there are many resources on what plants to burn for different intentions.
 
Fragrant and easy to track down, sage, lavender and cedar are good for purification and resetting the energy of your space. You can find this mix of herbs at a local health food store or online.
 
 

2. Large seashell or small clay pot

A sea shell or clay pot to hold your smoldering dried herbs are the traditional vessels used during a smudging ritual, but any burn-proof container will work. Be sure to research which vessel serves your smudging ritual best, as many vessels have different meanings.
 
 

3. Lighter or matches

Yes, this is obvious but add it to your list anyway. There are a couple options when lighting your smudge stick. You can light the smudge stick itself, or you can light a ceremonial candle (preferably one that doesn’t interfere with the scent of the herbs) and use that to ignite the smudge stick. These options help make this cleansing ritual more your own.
 
 

4. Feather to waft the smoke

A feather is not necessary, but is an option to make the smudging ritual more your own. Using an object like a feather to move the smoke can further connect your spirit to mother nature and the earth’s energy. Feel free to incorporate other elements you are connected to for a more personalized experience.
 
 

5. Time to yourself

While smudging does not need to take all day, it is important to allow yourself the time and space to fully be present during your ritual. 10-15 minutes of uninterrupted alone time is enough for you to get the most from your smudging ritual. The cleaning and clearing of energy will need your full attention and commitment in order to reap the many benefits.
 

Now that you have the tools you need, follow these 4 simple steps to smudge your space to cleanse and clear the energy:

 
 

Step 1: Prepare your space

Take a few minutes to clear any clutter in the space you wish you smudge. Just like your yoga or meditation practice, having a clean and clear area will help your mind focus and make the practice more effective.
 
 

Step 2: Set your intention

It is important to have a clear vision of the energy you want to create for your space. Take a moment to set your intention with a few deep breaths. On your inhale, focus on what you’re bringing into your environment, and on your exhale focus on everything you want to leave behind.
 
 

Step 2: Light it up

Carefully light your chosen smudge stick and allow it to smolder. Keep the bowl underneath your smudge stick to catch any burning embers that may fall. If you’re using loose herbs, place them in the bowl and light them, allowing the herbs to burn until they create smoke. Remember, the smoke is the key part of our smudging ritual, so take your time with this step.
 
 

Step 3: Cleanse the air

There are several ceremonies and methods used to smudge your space depending on your intention or objective. A general practice to smudge your space is to walk clockwise around your space with the smudge stick (continue to carry the bowl under it to catch any falling embers) and allow the smoke to reach each corner of the space.
 
While you slowly make your way around, repeat your intention and allow the smoke to clear the energy. Really embody the ritual and connect to the positive energy to fill the space. Feel free to sit for a moment and meditate on the new energy and intention for the space. When you’ve finished smudging, gently stamp out the smudge stick in the bowl to be sure nothing is still burning.
 
Pro tip: Be mindful of your smoke detectors. The last thing you want to do is interrupt your ceremony with epic screeching.
 

 

Step 4: Reflect

One last but important step of smudging is reflection. Take another moment to pause, breathe in gratitude and let go of anything no longer serving you. A great way to seal in the ritual is with a prayer or chant if you are comfortable with either. The important part of reflection is allowing your new energy and intention to settle before you rush back into the rest of your day.
 
 
Smudge as often as you like. It is great to smudge at the change of seasons, before guests come to visit, after a breakup, before starting a new job or school, or anytime you’re feeling emotionally stuck. Smudging helps you connect with ancient magic and wisdom and deepens your spiritual self. Be open to the possibilities and enjoy the renewed feeling of your purified and balanced space.
 
Image Credit: Brittney Carmichael

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Jenn Bauer

Jenn discovered yoga through a college class 9 years ago and never left her mat. She is a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance and shares her passion for wellness with the community in State College, Pennsylvania, where she currently resides.

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