Whether you are practicing yoga or teaching a yoga class, high-quality essential oils can be a hugely effective way to soothe and calm, boost energy, ground, enhance a meditative state, increase focus and more.
Essential oils get to work on your body and soul – physically, emotionally and spiritually – remarkably quickly. They are naturally occurring so your body lets them in, allowing them to penetrate the walls of every single cell. All you need to do is know which oils have the most beneficial qualities for what you’re trying to achieve and how best to use them.
Diffusing and spritzing: In one yoga class I used to attend the teacher would walk around while we were in savasana spraying a blend of wild orange and lavender oil into the air. It deepened my relaxation so much that it was incredible. That one simple act is actually the reason that I went on to spend so much time researching oils and incorporating them into every part of my life. Wild orange is a mood booster and lavender is incredibly relaxing, so the combination was intoxicating.
If you choose to use oils in this capacity you can (assuming you choose good quality oils – they are by no means created equal) mix a few drops into water in a spray bottle. Try to get your hands on a glass bottle because the oils can leach the chemicals out of plastic. They are so strongly detoxifying that they will essentially try to detox plastic! This method is probably best used by teachers.
For personal practice, or for a lower maintenance way of distributing oils in your class, you can buy a diffuser. They can be picked up relatively cheaply online and will throw oils out into the atmosphere, setting the tone for your practice. Whatever you do, just don’t put essential oils in a burner. They will still smell nice but heating oil dulls its active qualities, so you’ll be left with a natural air freshener but without any of the amazing medicinal benefits that essential oils provide.
Applying topically: if you’ve had a particularly hectic day, applying a grounding or centreing oil to your wrists a few minutes before hitting the mat will help to get you in the zone. Of course it will absorb into your body but you’ll also get a whiff of it every time you move. If you’ve had a blocked nose or sore chest, applying peppermint, or a respiratory blend to your chest could help to open up your airways and allow you to breathe more deeply.
My personal favourite topical application is a blend of frankincense, the king of oils, and cedarwood on the third eye point and below the nose (so I can smell it) before a meditation. Those are both oils that can open you up spiritually, as well as helping you to find your centre.
I’m a big believer that there’s pretty much nothing essential oils can’t do. They can help to balance the chakras and even assist you in connecting to your angels, so these brief guidelines below are super simplistic and mostly focused on the physical and emotional, rather than the spiritual value of oils but if you try one or two and like them I highly recommend looking into aromatherapy more deeply.
Amazing for a yin practice before bed, amongst many other things. This oil is incredibly soothing. Mix it with something zesty and uplifting like lemon if you want to relax into your after work practice without feeling sleepy.
Lemon, lime and wild orange will all give you an uplifting boost, elevating and lightening your mood.
Brilliant for focus and great used in blends. If you want to keep the room high energy and ‘in the zone’, diffuse a blend of peppermint mixed with a citrus oil. Peppermint’s menthol qualities also help to open the airways, so it’s a great tool during cold and flu season.
Melaleuca (otherwise known as tea tree)
The best there is when it comes to keeping your mat clean! Not the most spiritual or enlightening tip but we’ve all got to think of the practicalities of getting hot and sweaty on our mats every day. Those things are not easy to keep fresh, particularly if you practice hot yoga. If you want an antibacterial wipe that’s chemical-free, get yourself some melaleuca and dilute it in a spray bottle of water. Wild orange is another good disinfectant and can be mixed in with it to make your mat smell sweet.
by Gillian Torres
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gillian Torres is a writer and intuitive, who advocates acts of ‘radical everyday creativity’. She supports people to reconnect with their intuition, unbridle their imagination and liberate themselves creatively. She is also the creator of the Soul Scripting meditative writing process. Find more about Gillian’s work at www.gilliantorres.com.