Enhance Your Yoga Practice With The Natural Power Of Aromatherapy
Since ancient times, Yoga and Aromatherapy have been deeply connected to each other.
Not only do they share the same historical root, as they’re both part of the ancestral Indian tradition, but what’s really fascinating about them is that they also share the same purpose: improving our physical, mental and spiritual health.
Yoga and Aromatherapy are in fact two holistic disciplines that revolve around our life-giving force, our breath, which they use to naturally help the body heal itself.
As we all well know, controlling our breathing is indeed crucial in yoga, but what’s frequently ignored by some is that the quality of the air we breathe also does matter.
Here’s why diffusing essential oils during our daily practice may not only help us clean the air of our sacred space but they can even, depending on the chosen fragrance, help us staying focused, feeling uplifted or relaxed.
The old Indian alternative medicine, Ayurveda, which origins trace back to the 5.000 BC, had developed an effective technique that allowed the extraction of the plant’s nutrients, which were then transformed into a cold-pressed and highly concentrated oil, the essential oil and started to use it to treat several diseases.
Don’t forget that less is more, so try not to overuse essential oils
Despite their many properties, using essential oils during a yoga class has always been a quite controversial topic, as many people might find some smells too strong and even unpleasant.
As a yoga student I’ve experienced this myself when I attended classes where teachers’ notion of aromatherapy simply translated into “filling every corner of the room with the utmost sophisticated incense sticks”, which intensity was so unbearable that I ended up with a dry throat and a slight migraine by the end of the class.
But that’s not the case with essential oils: they may be highly concentrated, which means that they can be too aggressive if used carelessly, but if you follow me through this reading you will know how to use them properly so that you can concretely benefit from these amazing natural superpowers.
How to choose the right oil?
A good way to start your journey through aromatherapy is obviously just to follow your nose!
Choose any scent you like and then try to classify the different types of oil based on the effect they trigger on your body and mind. Remember, it’s always best to know what we want to achieve through their use before actually including them into our practice; my tip is to check out an essential oils’ chart online, just in case.
Crucially important is also the choice of the diffuser: try to use an automatic or a candle-heated diffuser and place it in a corner of the room, making sure to keep a window slightly ajar at all times so that there’s always fresh air in your environment and the smell becomes less persistent.
Little reminder: don’t forget that less is more, so try not to overuse essential oils (2-6 drops will do for an entire day!)
Oils with energising effects
Some oils, as aforementioned, have incredible uplifting and energising effects, like Bergamot (which is also a powerful stress-reliever) Lemon or Mint.
My suggestion would be to use these oils for a more intense and energetic practice like Vinyasa or Ashtanga and you will feel the benefits in no time.
Moreover, lemon essential oil is commonly known for its detoxifying properties but what some might don’t yet know is that it can be also an amazing ally for your concentration, which means that it can be perfectly suitable for your meditation session.
Good to know: You can diffuse these oils singularly or you can try experimenting with some cool blending, like Bergamot+Ylang-ylang for a quick boost of energy!
Oils with deep restorative effects
If you’re seeking a calmer and more relaxed atmosphere you should go instead for scents like Lavender, Chamomile or Sweet orange.
Keep in mind that it's always good to ask for feedback from your students as you go
Lavender is surely the most efficient stress-reliever and when diffused it can act against anxiety issues, bringing an overall emotional balance to your body, mind and soul.
Try smelling its delicate notes while doing your Hatha, Yin Yoga lessons or diffuse it at the end of the class, while resting in Shavasana and you will feel immediately relaxed and restored.
Tip: using oils as air cleanser
Like we’ve said, essential oils are also powerful hygienic tools for our yoga studio, as they have inner natural cleansing properties that can kill some bacteria in the air and some scents, like basil, even work as useful bugs repellent.
The fresh and clearing smell of Eucalyptus is probably one of the most beloved scents of all times, widely known for being a great remedy against congestion, bronchitis, asthma and fever; when diffused it fills your lungs with healthy, fresh and purified air.
Alongside Eucalyptus there’s another mighty oil: Tea tree. Also known as Melaleuca oil, is an essential oil that comes from steaming the leaves of the Australian tea tree and is believed to have an incredible antibacterial power that can act as a great air purifier when diffused into a space. Thanks to its properties, when applied topically it helps to treat acne, nail fungus and insect bites.
Now that you have a clearer idea on how to use these fantastic natural tools, you can see how they can sensibly enrich not only your yoga practice, but also your everyday life!
Last but not least, please do keep in mind that it's always good to ask for feedback from your students as you go, so that you’ll know if everyone’s fully enjoying their benefits.
Please note: Be aware that some strong, persistent fragrances are not yet suitable to pregnant women, so it’s better to avoid them if your studio offers prenatal yoga classes!