How To Use Essential Oils In Your Yoga Practice
Yoga and aromatherapy are very similar healing arts. Both entail more than just the physical aspects of therapy—they touch upon the essence of well-being, including your mental and emotional health. Since many yoga practitioners already use aromatherapy on a daily or weekly basis, the next step to ground emotions, activate energy, and enhance practice is the addition of aromatherapy during your next yoga session. Read on to learn which essential oils are best for yoga and how to maximize their effects.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are natural oils, extracted from flowers and other plants through distillation, steam tapping, or cold pressing. These oils are generally the most concentrated form of a plant and have the same characteristics and benefits in a far more potent composition.
These oils have been used by cultures around the globe for centuries—from the ancient Egyptians who used Frankincense and myrrh to alleviate symptoms of arthritis to the ancient Chinese, who used over 300 different aromatic plants.
Essential oils are even discussed in the 3,000 year old Indian system of medicine, called Ayurveda. In the Vedas—books containing the oldest scriptures of Hinduism—there is mention of over 700 herbs and aromatics, teaching the uses of perfumes and aromas for therapeutic purposes.
You can use essential oils to improve your emotional state, heighten your spiritual awareness, and boost your physical wellness.
The Best Oils For Yoga
The proliferation of different plants throughout the world may make it difficult to decide which essential oils are best for your yoga session. Consider your goals during practice, whether you wish to ground, center, or calm yourself, and research the essential oils most useful for your purposes. Some of the most common goals among practitioners include:
- Grounding—Use ginger, patchouli, and cedarwood.
- Strengthening and centering—Use sandalwood, cedarwood, myrrh, and frankincense.
- Clear Breathing—Use peppermint, basil, eucalyptus, rosemary, myrrh, and cardamom.
- Calming—Use lavender, geranium, chamomile, and vetiver.
- Spiritual Nourishment—Use bergamot, clary sage, and orange.
- Uplifting—Use cassia, orange, lemon, lime, and white fir.
- Purifying—Use grapefruit, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, and sweet orange.
- Soothing Sore Muscles—Use basil, coriander, cypress, lavender, rosemary, and peppermint.
You can use just one of the appropriate ingredients to remedy a specific ailment or a combination of several oils at the same time. Pre-mixed, aromatherapy oils are also available at stores like YUNI Beauty.
How to Use Oils in Yoga
There are several ways you can use essential oils in your daily life, and by extension, in your yoga practice. The three most common methods are anointing, diffusion, and cleansing.
Anointing essential oils means you apply them directly on your skin in an attempt to visualize, meditate, or focus during a session. You can massage the oils into your skin before you practice, dab it onto your skin at the wrists, chakras, and neck, or soak a towel with essential oils and use it on your face and body throughout a class.
Diffusing essential oils allows you to infuse a space with the scent of your choice to inspire a specific mood or spiritual presence. There are essential oil diffusers that spread the scent with steam made of water and small drops of oil. You can also place this same mixture in a soapstone container over a candle to disseminate the scent.
Using essential oils to cleanse your space, transforms cleaning the yoga studio into a spiritual ritual. Many essential oils have antibacterial and antiseptic properties, so using them does more than clean a your mat, it purifies the inherent energy around you as well.
Enjoy the Benefits
Essential oils are a powerful way to ensure each yoga session heals your mind, body, and spirit. Using these oils will energize and ground you in a much more meaningful way than yoga practice alone. Create your own scent combination today, and enjoy all the benefits essential oils have to offer.