How Aromatherapy Can Enhance Your Yoga Routine
Yoga and aromatherapy are synergistic practices that complement one another. Both enhance our physical, mental and spiritual experience. You’ll derive more from your yoga routine when you incorporate the two.
What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is an ancient holistic practice that yields increased energy levels, better mental clarity, and lessens feelings of stress and melancholy. The therapy involves the use of various natural essential oils derived from botanical sources. They’re called essential oils because they’re extracted from the “essence” of the plant’s seed, flower or root. Essential oils are a highly-concentrated version of the plant, so it’s possible to reap extensive benefits using a tiny amount.
Why Aromatherapy is an Ideal Complement to Yoga
Essential oils are used to elicit a desired response. The use of one or another essential oil is carefully designed per what benefits that oil offers. The aromatherapist has thorough understanding of what each essential oil accomplishes, as well as what essential oil blends work well together.
This is akin to what yoga poses do for the body. Certain poses offer specific benefits to the practitioner. The transition from one pose to another elicits a desired response. The movements are carefully orchestrated by the instructor in a manner most likely to reap the needed benefit.
The Desired Benefits of Yoga are Shared with Aromatherapy
Yoga and aromatherapy share the same desired benefits. Yoga practitioners want to soothe aching muscles, get relief from stress, help balance hormones, realign the body’s chakras and achieve a sense of calm and harmony.
With aromatic scent therapy, essential oils are used to relieve pain, regain a sense of emotional balance, feel happier and more invigorated, or promote relaxation.
These are naturally mutual benefits both yoga and aromatherapists hope to achieve using these holistic methods.
Should You Use Blends or Single Oils?
You can use either single essential oils or essential oil blends during yoga. Those with limited knowledge of essential oils, might want to use a blend. Blends are fun to create at home, using your instincts and personal preferences.
Single oils best for use during yoga include lavender or geranium, which promote relaxation, and lemon, which re-energizes. Eucalyptus oil is effective against tension, while frankincense alleviates fatigue. How to use the oils offers several options for you to consider.
How Can Aromatherapy Be Used During Yoga?
Doing yoga at home allows you many ways to use essential oils during your routine. One of the easiest ways is to use an electric diffuser.
A diffuser is a vessel that holds a quantity of water. Add a few drops of your essential oil to the water. The water is heated up and diffused as a mist into the air. You breathe in the air during yoga and inhale the essential oils into your system. A diffuser is an effective means to use essential oil during exercise because it’s passive—you don’t have to do anything more than combine the oil and water, plug it in, and let the diffuser do its work while you exercise.
Another way to use scent therapy is to mist the oils onto your mat or clothing. This is easily done by adding distilled water into a spray bottle along with several drops of essential oil. It’s a subtler way to use essential oils, but still effective as a mood enhancer.
Essential oils can also be applied directly to the skin, if first mixed with a carrier oil like jojoba, coconut, or olive oil. Place a small amount of the carrier oil into a glass bowl and add several drops of essential oil. Blend well and apply to pulse points. As your body heats up during exercise, the scent of the oil becomes more evident. The oil is also absorbed directly into the body through the skin, where it helps enhance your mood from the inside out.
Therapeutic scents also enhance your routine when you set out scented reed diffusers. Reed diffusers are self-sustainable and non-electric, so you don't need to place them near an outlet. They’re safe to use anyplace in your home or yoga studio. There’s no open flame so you can safely place them on bookshelves and near clothes or papers on a desk. You easily manipulate the power of the scent by adding more reeds or taking some away. The oil source is also easy to handle. Just add several drops of essential oil to the carrier oil. If the scent is too strong, add more carrier oil. If it's not strong enough, add a few drops of essential oil.
When you use therapeutic scents along with your regular exercise routine, you’ll notice how much better your yoga experience feels. You can even use two or more aromatherapy methods while doing your poses, such as burning a scented candle and applying an essential oil/carrier oil blend to your skin.
Experimenting with aromatherapy is a good idea. If one oil doesn’t make you feel as relaxed as you thought it would, try a different oil. Aromatherapy and yoga are highly flexible, healthy and always fun.