A practice known as yoga has become especially popular in the 21st century, particularly in the western world, with an estimated 2 billion people globally participating in some form of yoga according to UN News.
Yoga is not only said to be a beneficial means of gaining flexibility and core strength, it is equally as useful for remaining active and soothing the mind, body, and spirit. In fact, for many, yoga is more of a spiritual practice than a sport. Often linked with meditation and mindfulness, yoga’s origins date far back into ancient times, and regardless of why yoga is practiced, every form of it is said to exist in order to promote an increase in some type of wellbeing.
There are numerous complementary activities that can be coupled with regular yoga practice, and one that is sometimes utilized by yogis is the inclusion of essential oils to enhance the experience for students, participants, and practitioners.
Sometimes during arranged yoga classes, instructors will either diffuse essential oils in the form of aromatherapy, or they will walk around and have students smell various diffusions of essential oils (EOs), typically while students are relaxing and rejuvenating after the core of the practice when they’re in the final period of rest – Shavasana or Corpse Pose.
Although once practiced primarily by those interested in eastern medicine and eastern methods of living, yoga has now grown to become one of the most popular physical activities in the world. Essential oils, also growing ever popular, do not simply need to be diffused by yoga instructors. Those seeking at-home techniques to boost a yoga session can add essential oils into the mix, and certain individual oils or combinations are potentially the most suitable.
There are plenty of essential oils out there to choose from, but the 4 EOs we will discuss in this article could improve your yoga practice.
Each individual’s yoga practice is personal, therefore not everyone likes outside stimuli. On the other hand, those that are desiring a layer or two of additional factors to help them feel even more grounded, could likely benefit from the inclusion of essential oils.
What Is Yoga?
Created in India around 5,000 years ago, yoga was developed as a holistic solution for balancing the emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical self, tackling all aspects of overall health and wellbeing. Now, yoga is used for purposes beyond the metaphysical, with many opting to practice for a reduction in stress levels and anxiety levels, as well as in order to boost overall mood and mental state. Furthermore, some choose yoga as a form of sport and fitness or to build strength and flexibility. Regardless of your reason for practicing yoga, it can be quite unanimously agreed that this activity is beneficial for a number of reasons, hence the mass number of people who partake in this activity.
Today, there are numerous forms and types of yoga that are practiced, but originally Hatha Yoga was the primary system. Some popular existing types include Hatha Yoga, Bikram Yoga (Hot Yoga), Iyengar Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, and Kripalu Yoga. Practitioners are constantly creating new forms of yoga, as well as modifying already existent practices and, certainly, yoga with continue to transform and change as the years progress.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are potent and highly aromatic oils that are produced through a specialized process of distillation. They are of organic origin, being created from some type of organic plant matter. There’s an endless number of EO types on the market, each one possessing its own benefits and specialized properties.
It’s important to note that essential oils vary in quality and purity, therefore it is immensely important to always choose a reliable supplier to buy from.
How Could Essential Oils Complement a Yoga Practice?
Because a yoga practice should be all about promoting wellbeing in one way or another, essential oils can boost this purpose by aiding in relaxation, tranquility, and the potential advancement of a deeper, inner calm. Not all combinations of oils might be well-fit for the specific purpose of boosting a yoga practice, but the 4 essential oils that we are about to mention could prove to be particularly effective.
The 4 Essential Oils That Could Improve Your Yoga Practice
These 4 essential oil selections are tailored towards boosting your yoga practice, with each blend or individual oil being suitable for its own respective reasons. It is important to note, however, that limited science and research exists to back up the effectiveness of these oils, so if you do decide to incorporate one of these EOs into your practice, know that the results you could potentially get would be more so experiential.
With all essential oils, it is vital to mix them with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, sweet almond oil, or apricot oil before applying them onto the skin for sensitivities and reactions can occur otherwise. Most essential oils should not be ingested orally either but if you do intend to consume them, be sure to speak with your doctor or medical practitioner first and get an expert opinion.
- Rose Essential Oil
Often times utilized in aromatherapy, rose essential oil is a distillation of the Rosa damascena crop, and therefore possesses many of the qualities of this plant. Many yoga practitioners integrate rose essential oil into their practices because of its heart-opening properties.
A longtime representation of love and passion, the rose flower is known by those interested in holistic practices as a wonderful heart opener, helping you to get more interconnected with the world around you and your loving and compassionate self.
Rose essential oil brings about greater calm and tranquility with its floral aromas that are relaxing and stress-relieving. Additionally, some individuals really love how refreshing and rejuvenating rose essential can be, especially when paired up with a citrus EO such as lemon or sweet orange. Overall, this essential oil has a light and airy vibe, ideal to give your mid-morning or mid-day yoga session an extra boost.
- Ylang Ylang and Clove Essential Oil Blend
The bright, flora aroma of the ylang ylang flower when combined with the fiery, earthy warmth of clove creates an excellent combination for those looking to connect deeper with their grounded inner selves. This oil is also said to reduce muscle tension, which will aid in your overall increase in flexibility during your session so that you can sink into each pose with further intensity.
When you’ve finally reached the mat after a long day of work or a stressful daily routine, the result you’ll likely want to achieve from your practice is becoming more centered and present in the moment. Having a few big breaths of a carrier oil or aromatherapy diffuser packed with ylang ylang and clove essential oils can assist in centering your mind and soul overall, so that you can feel in tune with your body and live in the moment. Not only is yoga a brilliant way to unwind from a hectic day, this specific essential oil blend complements the practice exquisitely supporting overall joy and happiness.
- Lemongrass and Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Lemongrass, an herb very commonly used in cooking, particularly in Thai cuisine, creates an unbelievably refreshing and rejuvenating essential oil that, when diffused or applied alongside a carrier oil can serve as a wonderful addition to a morning yoga routine or your AM sun salutation.
Eucalyptus essential oil helps with mental clarity and aids in clearing brain fog, which can be particularly present in the mornings and on difficult days when you don’t quite feel like yourself. Lemongrass and Eucalyptus in combination produce an oil that carries the same refreshing elements of mint or menthol, but the potentially overwhelming aspects are softened by the grassiness and citrus qualities of the lemongrass. Diffuse a little of this essential oil combo and start your day off the right way with your practice complete and your mind in full focus.
- Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense essential oil is considered one of the most meditative of all the available oils, and the plant itself has been used for many centuries not only in Eastern regions such as India and China, but also even in the Western world by the Catholic Church in Europe. For its close association with religion and spirituality, frankincense has been regarded as a sanctifying oil or holy substance.
With its spiritual properties, frankincense is nourishing for the soul, which is particularly important for a yoga practice, an activity that also helps to feed the core. On top of being wholesome, frankincense is also quite soothing and decompressing, which is what makes it such a special option for an evening or before bed yoga routine. Furthermore, some say that this essential oil assists in balancing emotions, which is definitely a useful quality for those who would like to quiet their brain chatter before falling asleep.
What’s the Best Way to Enjoy Essential Oils?
There’s a number of ways you can go about using essential oils. The most common methods are typically through an aromatherapy diffuser, a room spray, a carrier oil, or diffusing jewelry.
Aromatherapy Diffuser: This method utilizes a specialized device called an aromatherapy diffuser to release essential oils into the air through a stream of water vapor. This method is especially gentle and has been said to help improve breathing and the functioning of the respiratory system. Additionally, diffusing essential oils in this manner is quite cost efficient, for these devices require very few drops of an EO to distribute the healing aspects into the space you’re in.
Room Spray: Room sprays are water or alcohol perfume tinctures made with infused essential oils that are then sprayed in any specific space for the aroma to be distributed.
Carrier Oil: Essential oils blended into carrier oils such as coconut oil, apricot oil, or sweet almond oil are convenient for on-the-body application, making it possible to wear essential oils on your skin throughout the day.
Diffusing Jewelry: Some jewelry is designed to hold the scents of potent essential oils. Often made with lava stone or some similar porous material, a few drops of oil can be placed on the piece and then worn all day for a lasting aroma.
Our Final Thoughts on the 4 Essentials Oils That Could Improve Your Yoga Practice
Regardless of your reasons for choosing to practice yoga, it is vital to opt for a routine that fits your own personal needs and desires as best as possible.
Yoga and essential oils are both considered aspects of holistic health. If you are looking for career colleges in San Diego that offer a holistic health practitioner program, ICOHS is a non-profit, accredited vocational school offering a fully comprehensive, tailored-to-you holistic health practitioner track.