Yoga & Aromatherapy: Interview with Red Diamond Yoga Founder Sheryl Utal
While there are many seemingly silly holidays that are recognized every day on social media, there are only a few (besides National Donut Day) that are actually worth celebrating. The next time you pick a mid-year celebration to partake in, consider adding International Yoga Day to the top of your list!
In honor of International Yoga Day 2018, artnaturals® went out into the community to connect with local LA yoga studio founder, Sheryl Utal. We discussed the benefits of practicing yoga at every level and using yoga along with aromatherapy for well-being.
We met with Sheryl at her studio, Red Diamond Yoga, located in west Los Angeles. During our conversation, we were delighted to hear several creative ways sheuses essential oil aromatherapy in her studio. Off camera she even gave us her secret recipes to share with our readers— spoiler alert: these DIY essential oil recipes are fantastic!
What is International Yoga Day?
The United Nations (UN) General Assembly officially recognizes June 21st as the International Day of Yoga, more commonly known as International Yoga Day. This special day for appreciating the practice of yoga is also often referred to as World Yoga Day and even just Yoga Day. The theme for Yoga Day 2018 is “Yoga for Peace.”
Yoga practitioners and enthusiasts have been celebrating International Yoga Day annually on June 21st since the UN passed the resolution on December 11, 2011. (1) The idea of International Yoga Day originated in India and was introduced to the UN by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In his address to the General Assembly he said, “Yoga embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.” (2)
It was Narendra Modi’s first time addressing the UN General Assembly as Prime Minister and the proposal for International Yoga Day was endorsed by 175 members of the UN.
Yoga & Aromatherapy Working Together
For thousands of years essential oils have been used by humans to improve their health and well-being. If we think about Prime Minister Modi’s description of yoga, it’s easy to see why yoga practitioners are often enthusiastic about incorporating essential oil aromatherapy into their practice.
In our conversation with Sheryl, she mentioned using an oil diffuser in her yoga classes. She described how this creates different moods to complement the style of class being taught. For example, her personal favorite, peppermint oil might be used in a more rigorous, high-energy class or lavender oil would be used during a more restorative class.
The unique properties inherent in each kind of oil influences how the instructor decides which essential oil to use in each class. Peppermint oil is considered to create an uplifting mood that promotes mental clarity and alertness— just what you would want to feel in a rigorous high-energy yoga class. Lavender essential oil, on the other hand, creates a peaceful soothing environment that complements the mood of a restorative class.
Visiting Red Diamond Yoga Studio
You can find Red Diamond Yoga Studio situated between the 10 and 405 freeways and Highway 187, just west of the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. Physically, the small unassuming commercial building which houses the studio, does not prepare you for the beautiful space inside.
When you walk in, the picturesque lobby feels modern and chic, yet still cozy and welcoming. The classrooms are spacious with gorgeous wood floors, peaceful contemporary accents, and plenty of mood lighting.
The three individual bathrooms and separate showers are absolutely spotless, very beautifully decorated and well-stocked with bathroom amenities. Separate lockers are provided for storing valuables, and each practice room has plenty of cubbies for personal items such as shoes and water bottles during class. A fridge in the lobby is kept stocked with snacks and drinks for purchase. Everywhere we looked, it was apparent that Sheryl and her staff really care about the space and want you to enjoy being there.
During our tour, we saw firsthand how the studio is run with love, care, and attention to detail. Red Diamond Yoga students are treated to cold eucalyptus towels after class, and each yoga mat is thoroughly cleaned after every single use withhomemade essential oil cleaning spray. Sheryl even let us take a peek into herbinder filled with day-to-day procedures, which included her DIY essential oil cleaning spray recipe and instructions on how to make eucalyptus towels.
Sheryl’s DIY Essential Oil Yoga Mat Cleaner
Ingredients: 4 cups water, 20 drops tea tree essential oil*
Instructions: In a 32 ounce spray bottle, mix 4 cups of water with 20 drops of tea tree oil.
* It’s important to use quality tea tree essential oil and not a generic extract. Authentic natural tea tree essential oil has antibacterial properties, which is why it’s great for cleaning. (3)
How to Make Eucalyptus Towels
At Red Diamond Yoga, several trays of refreshing eucalyptus towels are used each day. Sheryl loves offering the cold, eucalyptus essential oil infused towels as a post-class treat and the students love them. The essential oil infusion also has several beauty and wellness benefits.
Firstly, the cold damp towels wipe away sweat and the antibacterial properties of eucalyptus oil help promote clear skin. Secondly, the coolness helps lighten a flushed red face to a rosy glow. Lastly, eucalyptus essential oil is also used in aromatherapy to encourage a clean fresh feeling and clear the mind.
If you can’t make it to Red Diamond Yoga Studio for one of their signature towel treatments, you can easily make DIY cold eucalyptus towels at home for a post-workout refresh any time.
What you’ll need:
1 gallon water
3 tbsp eucalyptus essential oil*
Large bowl/basin that holds a little more that 1 gallon (4 quarts) of water Hot Tip: A 5.5 quart cooking pot works great!
Bowl, tray or plastic container for storing the washcloths
*Again, it's important to use quality eucalyptus essential oil and not a generic extract. Imposter extracts may smell nice, but they don't have the same antimicrobial properties as authentic eucalyptus essential oils. (4)
Step 1: Add 1 gallon of water to your mixing vessel.
Step 2: Add 3 tbsp of eucalyptus essential oil and mix well.
Step 3: One at a time, dip a washcloth into the mixture until it is fully saturated.
Step 4: Wring out excess moisture, roll up the cloth and place it in your storage container.
Step 5: Repeat steps 3 and 4 for each cloth.
Step 6: Place the container of damp washcloths in the fridge and let chill
Step 7: Refresh & enjoy!
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