There is nothing quite like a good yoga class. Yoga really is one of the most powerful and transformational practices you can give yourself—it is medicine for the mind, body, and soul. Pair that truth along with some carefully selected essential oils, and we’re talking about an experience like no other.
Essential oils have become an integral part of my life, and, lately, an essential part of my yoga practice. Being a yoga teacher, I found myself naturally drawn to aromatherapy, but still wondered at the hype around these essential oils. The answer, I’ve found, is simple: Now more than ever, we want to feel vibrant in our bodies, we want to lower the toxicity in our homes, we are seeking better sleep, better digestion. We are longing for glowing skin and hormonal harmony and a life that feels good! And crazily enough, thanks (at least in part) to essential oils: All of this is possible. After just a few years of teaching and slowly implementing essential oils into my practice, there is no going back.
Essential oils are volatile aromatic compounds that have been extracted from plants, leaves, bark, flowers, citrus, what have you that have a major effect on our emotional and physical well-being. They are powerful enough to shift our emotional state and create a sense of calmness or empowerment. And when we use essential oils during yoga, whether said oils are applied to our pulse points or scenting the room, they support our mind, body, soul—and the intentions we set towards living a more mindful life.
A win all around, if you ask me. Here, five oils to incorporate into your practice.
1. Lavender It’s no surprise that lavender is a must-have for every yogi. The calming properties of lavender are universal and extremely supportive when it comes to calming the mind and body. Lavender is high in linalool, which is known to help relax and sooth muscles making it the perfect oil to use before, during, and after your yoga practice. Lavender encourages authenticity and calms the nervous system.
How to use it:
- Before yin or restorative yoga class, add a few drops of lavender to the back of your neck or the bottoms of the feet.
- Bring your own eye pillow to class, add a few drops of lavender, and place over eyes during savasana.
- During or after practice, diffuse lavender to help shift into a state of relaxation.
- Lavender is the perfect oil to use before bed as well. I always notice that I have a more sound and restful sleep on the nights I apply it to the bottom of my feet before crawling under the covers.
2. Peppermint Peppermint is a natural stimulant for the mind, helping to support focus and memory. It is extremely invigorating and enlightening assisting you to focus on the sensations that arise through out your practice; encouraging breath and positive energy. It is the perfect oil to reduce tension after a long practice or to get you feeling energized before class.
How to use it:
- Place one drop on the top of your mat to increase concentration and promote mindfulness.
- To enhance memory and energy levels, apply to the back of neck or temples.
- Make the most epic peppermint tea to sooth any tummy issues or increase your antioxidant intake: Add one drop of peppermint to a pot of boiling water and you will never need to buy peppermint tea again!
3. Lemon Lemon essential oil mimics all things bright, light and clean. Known for its uplifting and detoxifying properties, lemon oil is the perfect addition to any yoga practice. I like to set the tone for my day by adding one drop of lemon oil to a glass of water (make sure you are using a certified pure therapeutic grade oils if taking internally). Lemon oil has powerful effects on mood and supports the body emotionally by simply inhaling the scent can cause major shifts.
How to use it:
- Add 1-2 drops to water before or after yoga practice to promote physical energy and purification.
- Add two drops of lemon to your yoga bag to keep things smelling fresh and clean.
- Diffuse 4-8 drops to boost and uplift mood, the perfect addition to any invigorating yoga class.
4. Eucalyptus Eucalyptus is the perfect oil to deeply connect you to your breath. The breath is the most important part of your yoga practice. Eucalyptus is used to reconnect and remind you to breathe throughout class. Promotes mind-body connection, too, which is especially beneficial to any yoga practice.
How to use it:
- Before class, place one drop into palms, rub together, cup your nose and take a deep inhale to clear airways.
- Place one drop on the top of your yoga mat. This will act as a reminder to breathe throughout class.
- Yoga is especially beneficial in strengthening muscles and injury prevention. Add a few drops to your night-time bath routine to ease any inflammation in the body.
5. Frankincense Frankincense is used to create a deeper emotional connection. Frankincense is the essential oils that cultivates a meditative state. It is the ultimate tool when looking to cultivate more mindfulness and meditation into your daily life. Use it both topically and aromatically to enhance mood, improve focus, and increase concentration.
How to use it:
- Place one drop over your heart and on pulse points before meditating. This is the perfect oil to stabilize and promote feelings of calm throughout the day.
- Dive deeper into your spiritual practice by creating a meditation blend, using three drops of frankincense, three drops of lavender, two drops of cedarwood, and two drops of sage. Add to roller bottle, and top off with fractionated coconut oil.
Note: It is important to note that not all essential oils are made equal. Before beginning your essential oil journey, do your research and make sure you truly align with the company and the product they are providing.
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