Essential oils have been used for thousands of years to aid in healing and boost physical and mental well-being. Using aromatherapy and essential oils in your yoga practice can enhance your physical asana practice and help soothe the nervous system to aid meditation and increase mental clarity.
Here are a few of my favourite ways to incorporate aromatherapy and essential oils into my yoga practice:
*Tip* use 2-3 oils throughout the practice, rather than all at once. Using a variety of essential oils can be overwhelming to the senses.
*These techniques are great to use in your home practice or to incorporate while teaching *If using oils while leading a class, make sure scents are allowed in the studio and that students do not have allergies
Patchouli, cinnamon: grounding/centering at the beginning of your practice – take a few deep breaths smelling this oil.
Japanese mint oil: to aid muscle tensions (using in pigeon, or shoulder openers) – massage oil into tight areas of the body, may use a foam roller to enhance intensity.
Eucalyptus, peppermint: for pranayama (i.e. alternate nostril breath – for congestion) – Take a few deep breaths before pranayama practice.
Frankincense, bergamot: for mediation and spiritual awakening – use oil or burn incense during meditation.
Lavender: this scent is known for its calming benefits – aiding headaches, reducing stress, aiding sleep, etc. Use during savasana – spray onto an an eye pillow or head pillow and/or take a few deep breaths before laying down for savasana.
Sage: centering/meditation/cleanse a space before practice. This scent is extremely cleansing and has been used for centuries to purify and cast out negative energy – burning sage is best *alternatively, you can use sage oil in a diffuser before your meditation or asana practice.
Tea tree oil: tea tree is antibacterial and a great way to clean your yoga mat and props naturally – add a few drops into a spray bottle and spray props.
Aromatherapy and essential oils are a fantastic way to stimulate the senses and sooth the nervous system. Whether you are incorporating one or a few essential oils in your yoga practice, the benefits to both body and mind can vastly enhance your yoga practice.
Allison Haromy has been practicing yoga for 7 years, and began her teaching journey 5 years ago- teaching hatha yoga, vinyasa, ashtanga, yin, yoga nidra. Yoga has presented her with some amazing opportunities; managing yoga studios, teaching full time and part time, travelling, leading workshops, etc. This is Allison’s 4th year as a Victoria Yoga Conference Ambassador.