The Sense of Smell comes from special sensory cells in the nose. These cells are linked directly to the brain by nerves.
We get a sense of smell when molecules enter our nose and send a signal to the scent cells. This signal then goes to the brain and gives information to the emotion and memory parts of the brain.
A 2012 study published in Psychological Science showed that we can sense the emotions of others through the smell of their sweat.
Besides sensing emotions, we can also sense flavors through smell. Unlike other scents, flavors are smelled on exhaling air instead of inhaling air. When food is chewed, the scent is released up the back of the throat and out the nose. This is how taste and smell work together.
Our sense of smell can diminish if exposed to the same scent for a prolonged period of time. It has been suggested that smelling coffee beans can renew a person’s sense of smell. The scent cells in the nose do renew every 30-60 days, which improves the sense of smell with time and fresh air.
Our sense of smell can also diminish if the nasal passage becomes clogged with foreign particles, such as dust, allergins, bacteria, etc. Our nose collects these particles to protect the brain and lungs from infection.
The brain is protected by the mucus lining of the nasal passage. The mucus lining collects tiny particles and prevents them from entering the brain. If the mucus lining dries out, the protection to the brain is reduced. It is important to stay hydrated and breathe moist air to prevent this from happening.
The lungs are protected by hairs inside the nose. The hairs trap large particles as a filter for our lungs. Everytime we breathe out, we eject particles from this filter. If the nose becomes irritated, we sneeze to dislodge the irritation.
Breathing in and out is very important to our sense of smell. Breathing exercises can strengthen our lungs, clean our nose, and enhance our sense of smell. Pranayama is the art of yoga breathing and breath exercising.
Practicing Pranayama Yoga in the morning before breakfast is a great way to clean the nose and strengthen the lungs before starting the day. It will enhance your sense of smell and help you be more alert to your environment.