Many people love yoga and find the benefits to their health – both mental and physical – are tremendous. How in the world a few simple poses and some deep breaths can bring up and release so much buried emotional baggage for me continues to baffle me. There is no doubt that my mind is much more centered, as is my emotional state, when I have a regular or daily practice.
When I first started going to class I felt a bit self-indulgent. I had a million things to do and going to class meant something on that mile-long list wasn’t getting done. But after a few classes my husband was practically pushing me out the door. He knew taking time for myself was allowing me to be more patient and present in the home. What’s that saying? Something about “when momma ain’t happy…?” So yes, I stuck with my yoga practice.
Aromatherapy and Yoga
After taking classes for a while I stumbled into an aromatherapy yoga class. It was an entirely new and wonderful experience! The first class mostly used essentials oils during the relaxation portion at the end, called savasana or corpse pose. The instructor put lavender on everyone and it took my relaxation to a deeper place and I couldn’t believe how it boosted the effects of yoga for me.
Now I enjoy them aromatically, topically and internally before, during and/or after my yoga practice. I love lemon and peppermint before the class, frankincense during meditation and lavender at the end. I find that they release and enhance the emotional support and therapy yoga brings me.
A friend of mine says “essential oils create a bridge for both the novice and the expert who may have been doing yoga for a long time, but was never taught the purpose behind it. By using the essential oils, they can bridge that gap. When you breathe them in, you get it.”
It’s also a good idea to limit the amount of oils you use during a yoga practice, especially if you’re new to oils and/or yoga. A good rule is to use no more than three or four oils in your routine, because there is a lot of energy being processed in a yoga session, and you want to prevent overload.
Also, if you are sensitive to oils make sure you dilute them with a carrier oil such as coconut, sesame, olive, etc. And if you are introducing essential oils to your yoga class keep a carrier oil on hand so you can dilute for sensitive individuals.
There is also a fantastic workshop I once attended where we incorporated essential oils into each chakra. When you’re ready to take your practice to the next level I highly recommend it!
Essential Oil Routines with Yoga
Example: Mood Balancing Routine
Begin with Breathe essential oil. To connect yourself more deeply to your breathing, place a drop or two in your palms and bring them in a tent to your face. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.
Use Peppermint to get going. Place a few drops at the top of the mat and create a circle. Peppermint works a lot like a mantra; it helps you to focus and has calming properties. It also is a great reminder to breathe.
Use Balance essential oil right before corpse pose. Place the oil on your feet to help you relax into the pose.
Example: Chakra Balancing Routine
I like to do this and incorporate poses to help open each chakra as I go.
1. ROOT CHAKRA- Balance blend
Location: Coccyx, legs, feet
Benefits: Stability, ground emotions, abundant health and energy, comfortable with own body, sense of safety and security, happiness in job/career, satisfied with life, material prosperity
2.SACRAL CHAKRA- Citrus Bliss blend
Location: Lower abdomen
Benefits: Creativity, healthy relationships, balanced hormones, ability to experience pleasure, generous and giving, nurturing to self, healthy boundaries
3. SOLAR PLEXUS- DigestZen blend
Location: Solar Plexus
Benefits: Self-confidence, willpower, responsible and reliable, spontaneity, playfulness, sense of humor, able to make decisions and meet challenges, warmth in personality
4.HEART CHAKRA- Breathe blend
Location: Center of heart
Benefits: Acceptance, compassionate, understanding, loving of self and others, empathetic, inner peace, strong immune system
5. THROAT CHAKRA- Whisper blend
Benefits: Communication, expression, good listener, communicates easily/clearly, lives creatively, speaks with confidence, good sense of timing/rhythm, expresses self freely, comfortable with body language
6. THIRD EYE CHAKRA- Serenity blend
Benefits: Perception, intuition, optimistic, perceptive, imaginative, watchful, aware, good memory, wise, able to plan and carry out plans, sleeps well, can recall dreams, calm mind
7. CROWN CHAKRA- Elevation blend
Location: Top of head
Benefits: Bliss, transcendence, love and acceptance of the Divine, intelligent, thoughtful, aware, open-minded, ability to recognize and receive spiritual guidance, sense of oneness, ability to transcend physical laws, comfortable on earth
DIY: Make a calming Lavender Eye Pillow
½ cup dried lavender flowers
¼ cup flax seed
5-7 drops Lavender essential oil (Balance or Serenity would work well too!)
28” x 4” pieces of fabric
Sew the fabric together and leave one short side open for filling, then fill the center with lavender flowers and flax seed. Place the Lavender essential oil on the inside of the pillow as well. To finish, close the open side with a sewing machine or by hand stitching.
Christi Flynn is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor and Essential Oil Educator. She’s been featured on Whole Health TV, is momma to 3 littles, and a relentless holistic health researcher. Essential oils classes are offered several times per year at National Integrated Health Associates. See website for current classes.