Read on for a few beginner ways to use essential oils in your practice plus I share my top 3 beginner oils to try incorporating.
One of my favorite things to share with my yoga classes is my love of essential oils. I find that on the days I’m having a hard time focusing or even getting on the mat to practice, my oils help me to bridge that gap. There is harmony in using oils in your practice and can help you deepen and expand with just a few healing drops.
Just like yoga, the hardest thing about getting started is showing up, unrolling your yoga mat and opening the essential oil bottle. So many people tell me they don't know where to start with essential oils or they worry that they are going to use them "wrong". A single or blend essential oil can be use for a specific intended purpose yet that same oil may also effect many different aspects of healing body, mind, and spirit (Just like yoga does!). The most important part is to pick an oil that you like the smell of and start using it!
One of the easiest ways I like to incorporate oils is by using a diffuser. This is a ‘no brainer’ way to use oils, simply add a few drops of your selected oil and be invigorated by the aroma.
I also like to apply oils topically to the bottoms of my feet or over my heart in the beginning or end of the practice to help connect with my intention or deepen relaxation.
Finally, I also like to sip on my water with a 1-2 drops of lemon oil in it to help flush the system. Yoga is known for its detoxifying action on the body as you are stimulating all the different body systems so adding lemon helps this process further.
**Make sure you select essential oils from a reputable company to guarantee purity and potency.
Oils Aid the Relaxation Effect
The stressors of our daily lives: our commute, our work, technology, etc. all contribute to most of us living in fight or flight mode. This has a profound effect on us physically and mentally. We hold all this tension in our bodies and when we live in fight or flight our immune system becomes depressed, our digestive system shuts down, our muscles tense, and our adrenal glands secret stress hormones like cortisol or adrenaline.
When we practice yoga we nudge the body into parasympathetic nervous system which calms and relaxes us. We actually are able to change our brainwaves to calmer and slower patterns as well as bring the body back to balance. For many of us getting to this relaxed state is SOOO difficult. Enter your oils! When we breath in the scent of essential oils the aroma is directly connected to the parasympathetic nerveus system. Inhaling oils helps us to reach our subconscious quickly which is why our sense of scent is such a powerful emotional healing tool. The use of oils in your yoga practice accelerates the relaxation effect which ultimately reduces stress and thus supports a healthy immune system.
Three Oils Beginner Oils to Use in Yoga
Lemon: Previously mentioned, added 1-2 drops of lemon to your glass water bottle can help the cleansing and detox processes in the body. It also is know if its ability to help with heartburn & reflux which can be very helpful if you are sensitive to this as often in yoga your head is below your heart which can trigger heartburn or reflux. You can also try diffusing this oil to help aid concentration which can be especially beneficial if you are doing a lot of balance poses.
Lavender: The queen of the essential oils, lavender is know for its ability to reduce stress and anxiety. Try applying 1 drop of lavender over the heart during your yoga practice to take you fro feeling unheard to expressed. It is also very nice to add 1 drop of lavender to an eye pillow to be using during final relaxation.
Peppermint: This oil is know for its stimulant qualities: it helps you to be alert and increase energy. Try applying 1 drop to your yoga mat and the aroma will help to stimulate your mind. Those of you that practice hot yoga may also like to keep this in your yoga bag as if you become overheated it will bring down your body temperature. Try applying it to the back of your neck, spine, or bottoms of your feet. You can also use peppermint topically before or after class to help with stiff, tense, or exhausted muscles.
Our yoga mats are the place we realize and process our emotions with this connection to the parasympathetic nervous system. The oils activate the part of the brain that stores memories-good or bad. Yoga & oils deepen our emotional, physical and mental release one pose at a time. So crack open a bottle of your favorite oil, take a deep breath, and practice.