The first exercise on separating the in and out-smell, is an extension of a very informative TED video on how dogs "see" with their noses, (5 mins long)

Dogs have a slit at the side of their nostrils where they exhale the ‛out-smell’. This is an important factor for scenting. It allows the ‛in-smell’ scent to hang near the smell-receptors, and to build up over a series of ‛in-smells’, without being disturbed by the ‛out-smell’.

We can partially simulate what dogs do, by slightly opening the mouth to breathe out. Smell in through the nose and breath out through the mouth. Your mouth will open and close like a frog!

Then we can get one step better. If you leave your mouth slightly open while you are smelling-in, if your tongue is relaxed, the back of your tongue will automatically curl up, like a valve, ... where the 'K' sound or 'Q' sound is made. This restricts the in-scent from being felt in the mouth.

Now the out-smell will be felt, or rather, 'tasted', in the throat and the mouth; and the in-smell will remain undisturbed in the nostrils. This separates, isolates and amplifies the contrasts; both the in-smell and out-taste can build up over a series of breaths, and we can explore the pure residue of the in-smell in the nostrils and nasal canals.

With The Lips Closed - Combining the In-Smell and the Out-Smell

The 'Q' shape exercise is ideal to sense what is happening from a quasi-scientific point of view. But what it feels like normally for humans, when the mouth is closed, is that the breath and smell seem to curl round into the back and sides of the mouth, and (if your tongue is relaxed) the upper surface of the tongue and the roof of the mouth.

This 'normal' way we have of smelling with the mouth closed, disturbs the scents hanging in the nostrils, and the in and out smells become merged.

The roof of the mouth feels much higher and the mouth feels much larger than it actually is. It feels as though the smells fills up this larger mouth area. This is the felt-reality for humans, and thus also vital to realise. It can feel as though it is the roof of the mouth which actually does the sensing.

And the way it feels internally (and quite irrationally), is that the roof of the mouth is directly connected with the nostrils. I can't prove it, but i think it's easy to experience it yourself.

It can sometimes feel as though i'm smelling with my entire brain area, leaving about an inch of skull around it.

I use both the above methods at different times, and there are sure to be other methods which i haven't yet discovered.

These descriptions are purely subjective, and as such, may vary with different individuals. There is a subsidiary index page discussing 'Empathy with Animals' and the need to ask young children how it really feels, in order to guide us to a healthy and natural approach to our internal body senses.

Please continue with long route Smelling Basics and Development Games
or Savouring Scents

Back to Appendix : Smelling and Tasting Exercises