How Aromatherapy Can Enhance Your Yoga Practice
Yoga and aromatherapy are holistic and ancient practices, both offering physical, mental and spiritual benefits for the practitioner. The use of aromatherapy blends while practicing yoga can enhance the practitioner's experience and benefits from both therapeutic areas.
Not only are the senses enthralled by the beautiful aromas during your practice, but the focus and effects of your practice are intensified by the use of carefully chosen essential oil blends. The practitioner can use specially chosen aromatherapy blends to enhance a particular aspects of their practice, whether it's physical, spiritual or mental.
So what are aromatherapy essential oils?
Aromatherapy essential oils are the natural, fragrant liquids that we find in naturally growing materials. Essential oils, also referred to as "essences," are botanical extracts of various plant materials, and do not just come from flowers, but also from herbs, trees and various other plant material. Essential oils have been used throughout by shamans and healers who have made use of the healing power of these extracts for centuries.
Depending on the makeup of a particular essential oil, the practitioner will begin to experience or feel an enhanced range of emotions. This could include releasing old or negative emotions; experiencing a detoxifying or cleansing sensation; soothing tense or aching muscles; helping to balance hormonal fluctuations or even helping to realign the chakras and promote feelings of calm and peace.
How can aromatherapy be used to enhance my yoga practice?
Aromatherapy oils can be extremely potent and are best used under the guidance of an aromatherapist or yoga teacher qualified in aromatherapy. You can also purchase pre-blended oils with directions on how they should be used during your practice and which oils are best to use for the specific aspects of your practice you're aiming to enhance. For example, lavender can promote relaxation, or you can use lemongrass to revitalize and energize.
When practicing yoga with aromatherapy (let’s called it "yogaroma"), there are a few practicalities we must consider. There are numerous ways to make essential oils suitable for yoga practice, including diffusion or burning of the oils during the class and allowing the practitioner to inhale the aromas. This has a very calming effect and allows a small amount of oil to be dispersed throughout the room.
Another way you can use aromatherapy to enhance your practice is by using aromatherapy blends directly on the skin. Make sure you don’t apply neat essential oils onto the skin; they should be pre-blended or diluted in a carrier oil. Obviously applying oils with the hands then attempting a downward dog is not going to be very conducive to a safe practice. Using especially created "yogaroma" blends applied with a roller ball tip to the pulse points (wrists, behind the ears and even the third eye) is practical and safe.
Yogaroma oils can be applied as a fragrance or scent to the pulse points at any time of day or night. The added benefit of using the oils off the mat is that the beautiful fragrances will remind you of the feelings of bliss that you experience during your practice, further adding to the beneficial effects of the oils themselves. Even if you're using the oils out with hatha yoga practice, you'll still feel the benefits of using the oils.
What’s it like to make use of yogaroma oils during practice?
Let’s set the scene. Imagine walking into your yoga class, beautiful fresh clean mats, blocks, straps and silk eye masks are waiting in their place. A gorgeous aroma fills the candlelit room, the scent burning in the corner. As you take your place at the top of your mat, ready to begin your practice, you apply or massage your personal yogaroma oil into the pulse points and neck (either yourself or with your partner — entirely your choice). As you take the first inhale and begin to move, the beautiful, soothing aromas fill your lunges and start to work their magic as you begin to practice ...