Have you been thinking about incorporating essential oils into your yoga practice but you aren’t sure where to start?
Yoga is an ancient discipline that originated in India. It focuses on joining the physical and spiritual bodies through poses (asanas) and meditation. Archaeological discoveries suggest that yoga originated sometime between 3300 to 1700 B.C.E.
Today, yoga is experiencing increased popularity worldwide as a form of relaxation, a way of deepening the mind/body connection, and as a method of total-body exercise.
The Science of Yoga and Essential Oils
Essential oils naturally complement yoga by supporting physical and mental strength and focus through the science of aromatherapy.
Practitioners of aromatherapy believe that the fragrances in essential oils, particularly pure essential oils such as Young Living’s essential oils, stimulate nerves in the nose. Those nerves send impulses to the limbic system, where memories, instincts, and vital functions are controlled and processed.
Main bodily functions can be regulated through the connection between the limbic system and other parts of the brain and body, such as digestion, respiration, cardiovascular activity, and stress levels.
Depending on the specific constituents in the oil, incorporating certain oils throughout a yoga routine may lead to increased energy, relaxation or focus, decreased stress, or deeper meditation. By incorporating the use of essential oils into your practice, you can experience:
- Refined focus and mental clarity.
- Deepened mental and emotional grounding.
- Strengthened body-mind connection.
- Increased stamina.
- Reduced muscle and joint tension.
Practical Applications of essential oils and yoga
Essential oils are extremely versatile and have many practical applications in yoga, including techniques for complementing pranayama, meditation, relaxation, post-practice, and for cleansing and purifying. Essential oils can also be inhaled or applied topically to certain areas of the body to increase energy, relaxation or focus, decrease stress, or deepen meditation.
Below is a basic guide of how to use oils during your yoga practice.
Purify: Diffusing oils like lemon essential oil, grapefruit essential oil, Citrus Fresh™ essential oil, Thieves® essential oil or Purification™ essential oil before or in between yoga class will purify the air while bringing a refreshing, uplifting energy to the space.
Cleanse: For cleaning the studio floor, use Thieves Household Cleaner. This non-toxic product is safe for hardwood floors and can also be used for cleaning yoga mats and bathroom surfaces.
Meditation (dhyana): Diffuse or directly inhale oils such as lavender essential oil, Peace & Calming™ essential oil, or frankincense essential oil for a deepened, more relaxed experience.
Breathing (pranayama): The pure aroma of essential oils such as frankincense essential oil, peppermint essential oil, and Raven™ essential oil assist in opening pathways to a more emotional state of mind via the pineal gland. Directly inhaling peppermint can help bring more oxygen to the brain.
Exercise (asana): Topical application of oils such as Deep Relief™ essential oil roll-on, Pan Away™ essential oil, or peppermint essential oil may help alleviate muscle soreness and tension. Peppermint can also aid to increase focus and mental clarity, and when added to a cool glass of water, can help sooth minor stomach discomfort. Lavender essential oil can also be used to decrease post-practice muscle irritation.
Essential oils are also used to activate and balance the energy centres—or Chakra System —of the body. The following is a basic reference for how to use essential oils for activating and balancing the energy centres—chakras—of the body.
First Earth: The Root (or Base) Chakra
Apply topically to the bottoms of the feet and sacrum.
The root (or base) chakra is the first and most important chakra for yoga or any kind of healing work. The key words here are courage, security, safety, grounding, and boundaries.
Second Water: The Sacral Chakra
Apply topically below the navel.
The sacral chakra is the centre of your creativity, desire, emotion, sexuality, and intuition. This is where you learn how to give and receive pleasure.
Third Fire: The Solar Plexus Chakra
Apply topically below the sternum and behind the stomach.
The solar plexus chakra is the centre of personal power, ambition, intellect, astral force, desire, and emotions based on intellect and touch.
Fourth Air: The Heart Chakra
Essential oil: Joy™ essential oil.
Apply topically to the centre of the chest at heart level. The heart chakra is the centre of compassion, love, group consciousness, and spiritually associated with “oneness” with “all that is.”
Fifth Ether: The Throat Chakra
Apply topically to the posterior neck and the base of the occiput (the back part of the head or skull).
The throat chakra is the centre of communication, sound, and expression of creativity via thought, speech, and writing.
Sixth Light: Third Eye Chakra
Apply topically to the middle of the forehead and above the eyebrows. The third eye chakra is the centre of physic power, higher intuition, the energies of the spirit, magnetic forces, and light. This centre is about Divine Thought, balanced intuition, and intellect.
Seventh Crown: The Crown Chakra
Apply to the crown of the head. The crown chakra is the centre of spirituality, enlightenment, dynamic thought, and energy. The keyword is inspiration. This is the connecting link to your highest and finest self.
Want to learn more about chakras and essential oils? Check out my online course.