Essential oils have been used for thousands of years for cosmetic purposes as well as for their spiritually and emotionally uplifting properties. So it was only a matter of time until essential oils arrived into the modern yoga class. Let’s discuss some ways you can use essential oils in your yoga classes.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are highly concentrated, aromatic, liquid plant essences typically derived from herbs, flowers, and trees. The oils contained in the seeds, bark, roots, resin, flower petals, rind and leaves are a part of the plant’s natural defense against disease, predators, and weather.
“They (oils) are stored in special cells, ducts or glandular hairs that are distributed among the flowers, leaves, bark, stems and roots of a plant. A single oil may contain hundreds of constituents that are molecularly aligned in exactly the right manner to trigger a number of responses in the human body.” –Pubmed.gov, US National Library of Medicine.
Use of Essential Oils
Essential oils can be diffused, sprayed, and topically applied. Diffusing allows a small mist of particles to uniformly circulate through the air filling it with the aroma of the essential oil. Spraying covers a wider area and disperses more of the oil, ideal for cleaning and disinfecting.
With essential oil’s fat solubility, massage then into your skin for additional benefits. Make sure to dilute the oil into a carrier oil such as almond or coconut oil before applying topically.
And this is a good place to drop this disclaimer: These statements made in this blog have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products discussed are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.
Lavender accelerates the relaxation effect by reducing stress and boosting mood and emotions. Hence, the yoga teacher spritzing lavender in the air during final relaxation. In addition to its relaxation effects, lavender soothes and cleanses cuts, and lessens skin irritations (like bug bites) and burns. Keep this oil in all your first aid kits.
And a bit of trivia regarding lavender: to make one 15mL bottle of lavender requires 27 square feet (or 35 pounds) of lavender plant (lavandula angustifolia). Depending on where you purchase, the quality and price varies. Reserve the higher quality lavender for home use and look to a more available brands for diluting in water and using during yoga classes.
Between hands, sweat, and feet touching a yoga mat, bacteria teems on this yoga prop. Keep mats clean and fresh-smelling with mat cleaner made from essential oils. Most of the recipes I found included Tea Tree oil (also known as Melaleuca) + another fave-smelling EO like lemon, lavender, or peppermint diluted in distilled water and witch hazel.
When combined, the witch hazel-tree tee oil-essential oil blend packs a powerful anti-bacterial, anti-microbial punch. This spray is ideal for disinfecting and can be applied to mats and chairs or sprayed throughout the room before and after yoga class.
Next time you’re feeling anxious, rub some lemon oil on your hands and inhale the fragrance. Not only does it ease your anxiety, it helps you concentrate and focus.
Other noted benefits of lemon oil: aids digestion, soothes a sore throat and ear infections, helps fight allergies, and ease and prevent cold sores. Add it to homemade cleaners and use it as a disinfectant. Its clean citrus scent makes it ideal to be diffused during yoga classes.
The Bible referenced Frankincense as one of the three gifts given to baby Jesus by the wise men.This all-around “king of oils” packs an impressive list of usages.
When you use this essential oil in yoga, it boosts mood and energy while relieving stress. If you like to meditate, Frankincense may help stimulate and elevate your mind, so try it for centering and visualizing.
With its comforting properties, rub it on the bottom of your feet to ease nervous energy.
Frankincense also promotes clear skin and is ideal for “mature” skin by lessening wrinkles, age spots, scars and stretch marks while also moisturizing. Some claim frankincense improves eyesight and eye health when topically applied around the eyes. Be careful not to get it IN the eyes.
For more peace and balance in your life, peppermint oil works well. Researchers at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia found peppermint diffused into the cars of commuters decreased their anxiety and fatigue.
Other uses for peppermint oil include reducing nausea and relieving headaches, improving concentration and focus, easing tummy troubles, and boosting energy.
Some individuals express relief from joint and muscle aches with this fresh, minty oil. Try peppermint oil in diffusers, a couple of drops in the bath, or in massage. Let the soothing aroma of peppermint keep you calm and focused during the crazy times of your life.
When you think of chamomile, I bet visions of tea pop into your head. But this oil’s uses and benefits rivals lavender’s. With its sedative quality, chamomile reduces stress and anxiety. You can use a few drops of this soothing oil in a diffuser to take the edge off. You could also combine 1-2 drops in a carrier oil and massage it into your skin to help relax muscles.
The best part: chamomile is gentle enough to use on children.
quality vs quantity
Do your research when you’re ready to use essential oils. Look for EOs with the highest level of purity which means the oils haven’t been diluted, cut, or adulterated. You may spend a little more, but the quality and efficacy will also be better.
Young Living and doTerra are two brands with high ratings for their oils. Rocky Mountain Oils is another one I’ve heard recommended by a couple of sources. Your local holistic market will carry essential oils, with some probably being a better quality than others.
For personal testimonials on using essential oils, you can register for free at OIl-Testimonials. I’ve also curated information about the different essential oils on this Pinterest board.