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How to enhance the benefits of yoga with essential oils

Written By: Dr. Bo Hendgen Created Date: Wednesday, 17 August 2016

yoga_mat

Blog Yoga and pure, organic essential oils
Long overdue, I want to talk about how the purity of our artisan, medicinal-grade essential oils can offer a wonderful natural complement to a daily yoga practice.
Just as when we use them in professional natural health treatments to support healing, pure essential oils can enhance all the body’s natural physiological processes for optimum health and balance.
In other words, yoga and Aromatic Medicine are in perfect alignment!
But please notice the distinction before we go any further. At the Absolute Essential natural health clinics, we have spent over 25 years developing our own range of essential oils and carrier oils, sourcing slow-process artisan producers and becoming the only registered organic essential oil company in the world to do so.
This is Aromatic Medicine made to strict and adhering quality standards. Because, when the goal is to work towards complete natural balance and wellbeing, you need ingredients which perfectly match those inherent qualities.
So, it is important to know your essential oils and to know the difference.
(See What is the difference between Aromatherapy and Therapeutic Plant Oils  for more info)
How pure essential oils can enhance your yoga practice
Areas of benefit in yoga can be matched to areas of benefit from Therapeutic Plant Oils (pure essential oils and carrier oils).
Respiration
Whether you practice an advanced pranayama or you are simply learning to breathe more deeply through your evolving asana practice, there are a range of essential oils that can be used to promote a fuller and more relaxed breathing process. If you have congestion at any time, you can also use essential oils to help free your airways and fight infection.
Recommendations:
Lavender is really a great choice on many levels. It is cleansing and fortifying and wonderfully relaxing too. Lavender True or Lavender Sweet are both good choices. Lavender Spike has a little more punch for congestion. All the meditative oils (see Inner Peace and Awareness) are naturally cleansing and beneficial to the respiratory system as well.
rub a few drops into your hands and cup them around your nose to inhale.
Drop on a fingertip and rub inside the nostrils.
Diffuse 5-10 drops into your practice space or studio.
Strength, Stamina and Flexibility
Enhanced breathing (see above) will improve natural circulation that ensures that your organs, muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons all receive sufficient nutrients and oxygen for cell health and regeneration and to power detoxification. This promotes body strength, range of movement and fitness. To complement this process, we can also supplement the body’s nutrient input with a topical application of the right carrier oils and, through blending, enhance oxygenation and detoxification with specific essential oils. You can also treat sprain, strain or stiffness naturally, and help warm up and down the body to minimise the occurrence of such things. A drop or two of Lemon essential oil in drinking water can aid natural detoxification and fortify the body yet further.
Recommendations:
Lavender, Peppermint and Wintergreen are all good for aches and pains in muscles and body tissues.
Carrier Oils such as Arnica-infused oil, Castor oil and Avocado and Jojoba are all high in nutrients and especially beneficial to muscle and joint health.
Muscle Tonic is a clinical blend of pure essential oils that creates a synergy of active properties for focused body care. It can be used for bath or compress (10 drops), or diluted in carrier oil for massage (see below).
Body Repair Cream is a body-ready prescription blend that can be used to promote repair for any joint, muscle and tendon issues.
Massage a drop or two of Lavender or Peppermint direct to area (dilute for sensitive skin)
Dilute Wintergreen in carrier oil (see below) and massage in.
Add 10 drops of Wintergreen to bath, or combine with a further 10 drops of Lavender.
Dilute 5 drops of essential oil/s to a teaspoon of carrier oil.
Inner Peace and Awareness
More concentrate than the original incense aromas used for traditional meditation, certain pure essential oils work direct on the nervous system to help calm body and mind for restorative process and with a cleansing action to promote greater clarity and receptivity. I know yoga teachers who will use specific oils to set the intention for a class – allowing their students to inhale deeply on an oil or even giving mini-massage to enhance relaxation and sensation before meditation or Savasana.
Recommendations:
Pure Indian Sandalwood is increasingly hard to come by but Australian Sandalwood is a worthy alternative. Both are wonderfully calming and cleansing to mind and emotions. Frankincense is another classic meditative aroma that is powerful in its pure essential oil form. Cedarwood Atlas is a lovely fresh fragrance to help cleanse the mind and relax the body.  Tranquility & Meditation is a special blend that will help release attachment to daily concerns and aid peaceful contemplation and restoration.
Diffuse 10 drops into the yoga space or studio
Posture and alignment
As we activate physical intelligence, by improved breathing (see Respiration above), and thus learning to move from the depth of the breath, and as we become more present to the moment-to-moment messages of the body (see Awareness above), it becomes possible to improve posture and alignment with a minimum of effort. Therapeutic aroma in the yoga studio can also gently help to access the deeper, unconscious levels of physical process, including the release of habitual tensions and emotional blocks. (See also Energy below).
Energy and Balance
Even if a person’s yoga practice is more for fitness than for spirituality, the benefits of promoting greater flow through the body’s vitality centers can still be appreciated as a general improvement in energetic terms. Each chakra center coincides with a major nerve plexus and has a concentration of endocrine glands. Pure essential oils are known to support nervous and endocrine function at molecular level. It is also widely believed the distinct energy associated with each chakra can be complemented by essential oils to support the natural re-aligning and balancing of chakra energy – such as using nurturing, harmonic oils in a restorative class focused on gentle chest-opening postures; or grounding, fortifying oils for a focus on standing postures.
It can also be powerful to use uplifting, vitalizing oils for a high-power Vinyassa class, or for a morning sun salutation, and of course relaxation is an important process for energy restoration. (see below).
Recomendations:
The Chakra Blends – Base, Navel, Solar, Heart, Throat, Brow, Crown -  are body-ready synergies designed to complement balance and health at each chakra center. See each blend for essential oil choices.
Mandarin and Sweet Orange are both energising and comforting and offer gentle lift and harmony to a room.
Lemon and Lime are classic energy boosters and strengtheners.
Revitalize is a pure essential oil blend with a powerful energy synergy.
Diffuse up to 10 drops of essential oil/s to yoga space.
Add 3 drops essential oil to loofa for morning shower
Apply chakra blend direct to associated body area and inhale from hands.
Restoration and Relaxation
Ultimately, all the benefits of yoga lead to restoration and relaxation. At the end of a session or for a particularly restorative class, the more relaxing oils can help condition the body and heighten wellbeing through massage. Or a diffusion timed to coincide with savasana or meditation can help to carry a body to deeper levels of release and acceptance.
Recomendations:
Lavender, Sandalwood are wonderfully relaxing and restorative. Deep Relax Massage Oil is a clinical formula to help maximise the release of mind, body and emotions.
Diffuse 10 drops essential oil/s to yoga space.
Add 10 drops to bath.
Add 5 drops to carrier oil or use Deep Relax for massage.
Additional benefits of pure essential oils for enhanced yoga practice
Use pure essential oils to create an eco-clean environment to complement heightened senses and awareness. Lemon and Lavender are great for adding to water or water and soap to get the job done. Yoga mats can be quick-cleaned between sessions with a water and essential oil spray. Vitality Cleanse is an eco-spray created with an uplifting, inspiring aroma and deep-cleaning properties.
Add 15 drops essential oil/s to 1 liter of water
Spray yoga mats between sessions to keep fresh and clean.

Long overdue, I want to talk about how the purity of our artisan, medicinal-grade essential oils can offer a wonderful natural complement to a daily yoga practice.

Just as when we use pure essential oils in professional natural health treatments to support healing, they can also enhance the body’s natural physiological processes for optimum health and balance in yoga.

In other words, Yoga and Aromatic Medicine are in perfect alignment!

Click here for more information on pure essential oils.

How Organic Essential Oils can enhance your yoga practice

Areas of benefit in yoga can be matched to areas of benefit from Therapeutic Plant Oils (pure essential oils and carrier oils).

cobra

RESPIRATION

Whether you practice an advanced pranayama or you are simply learning to breathe more deeply through your evolving asana practice, there are a range of essential oils that can be used to promote a fuller and more relaxed breathing process.

If you are congested at any time, you can also use essential oils to help free your airways and fight infection.

Recommendations:

Lavender is a really great choice on many levels. It is cleansing and fortifying and wonderfully relaxing too. Lavender True or Lavender Sweet are both good choices. Lavender Spike has a little more punch for congestion.

All the meditative oils (see Inner Peace and Awareness below) are naturally cleansing and beneficial to the respiratory system as well.

  • Rub a few drops into your hands and cup them around your nose to inhale
  • Drop on a fingertip and rub inside the nostrils
  • Diffuse 10-20 drops into your practice space or studio

 

STRENGTH, STAMINA AND FLEXIBILITY

Enhanced breathing (see above) will improve natural circulation that ensures that your organs, muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons, all receive sufficient nutrients and oxygen for cell health and regeneration. This powers detoxification and promotes body strength, range of movement and fitness.

To complement this process, we can also supplement the body’s nutrient input with a topical application of the right carrier oils. Through blending, we can enhance oxygenation and detoxification with specific essential oils.

You can also treat sprain, strain or stiffness naturally, and help warm the body to minimise the occurrence of such things. A drop or two of Lemon essential oil in drinking water can aid natural detoxification and fortify the body even further.

wintergreen

Recommendations:

Lavender, Peppermint and Wintergreen are all good for aches and pains in muscles and body tissues. Wintergreen is especially beneficial to circulation.

Carrier Oils such as Arnica-infused Oil, Castor Oil and Avocado and Jojoba are all high in nutrients and especially beneficial to muscle and joint health.

Muscle Tonic is a clinical blend of pure essential oils that creates a synergy of active properties for focused body care. It can be used for bath or compress (10 drops), or diluted in carrier oil for massage (see below).

Body Repair Cream is a body-ready prescription blend that can be used to promote repair for any joint, muscle and tendon issues.

  • Massage a drop or two of Wintergreen, Lavender and Peppermint directly to the area (dilute for sensitive skin)
  • Add 10 drops of Wintergreen to a bath, or combine with a further 10 drops of Lavender
  • Dilute 20 drops of essential oil(s) to a teaspoon of carrier oil and rub into sore areas after practice

 

INNER PEACE AND AWARENESS

More concentrated than the original incense aromas used for traditional meditation, certain organic essential oils work directly on the nervous system. These help calm the body and mind for restorative processes and have a cleansing action to promote greater clarity and receptivity.

I know some yoga teachers who will use specific oils to set the intention for a class, allowing their students to inhale an oil deeply. Some instructors even give a mini-massage during adjustments to enhance relaxation and sensation before meditation or Savasana.

Recommendations:

Pure Indian Sandalwood is increasingly hard to come by but Australian Sandalwood is a worthy alternative. Both are wonderfully calming and cleansing to mind and emotions.

Frankincense is another classic meditative aroma that is powerful in its pure essential oil form.

Cedarwood Atlas is a lovely grounding fragrance to help cleanse the mind and relax the body.

Tranquility & Meditation is a special essential oil pure blend that will help release attachment to daily concerns and aid peaceful contemplation and restoration.

  • Diffuse 10-20 drops into the yoga space or studio before and during each practice.

 

POSTURE AND ALIGNMENT

As we activate physical intelligence through improved breathing (see Respiration above) and learn to move from the depth of breath, we become more present to the moment-to-moment messages of the body (see Awareness above).

It then becomes possible to improve posture and alignment with minimum effort.

Therapeutic aroma in the yoga studio can also help to access gently the deeper, unconscious levels of physical process, including the release of habitual tensions and emotional blocks. (See also Energy below).

standing_yoga

ENERGY AND BALANCE

Even if a person’s yoga practice is for fitness rather than for spirituality, the benefits of promoting greater flow through the body’s vitality centers can still be appreciated as a general improvement in energetic terms.

Each chakra center coincides with a major nerve plexus and has a concentration of endocrine glands. Pure essential oils are known to support nervous and endocrine function at a molecular level.

It is also widely believed that the distinct energy associated with each chakra, can be complemented by essential oils, to support the natural re-aligning and balancing of chakra energy – such as using nurturing, harmonic oils in a restorative class focused on gentle chest-opening postures; or grounding, fortifying oils for a focus on standing postures.

It can also be powerful to use uplifting, vitalising oils for a high-power Vinyassa class, or for a morning sun salutation. And, of course, relaxation is an important process for energy restoration. (see below).

Recomendations:

The Chakra BlendsBase, Navel, Solar, Heart, Throat, Brow, Crown -  are body-ready synergies designed to complement balance and health at each chakra center. See ingredients at each blend for related essential oils.

Mandarin and Sweet Orange are both energising and comforting and offer gentle lift and harmony to a room.

Lemon and Lime are classic energy boosters and strengtheners.

Revitalize is a pure essential oil blend with a powerful energy synergy.

  • Diffuse up to 10-20 drops of essential oil(s) to your yoga space
  • Add 3 drops of essential oil to a loofa in your morning shower and rub over body
  • Apply Chakra Blend direct to associated body area and inhale from hands

base_chakra

RESTORATION AND RELAXATION

Ultimately, all the benefits of yoga lead to restoration and relaxation. At the end of a session or for a particularly restorative class, the more relaxing oils can help condition the body and heighten well-being through massage.

A diffusion timed to coincide with savasana or meditation can help to carry a body to deeper levels of release and acceptance.

Recomendations:

Lavender, Sandalwood are wonderfully relaxing and restorative. Deep Relax Massage Oil is a clinical formula to help maximise the release of mind, body and emotions.

  • Diffuse 10-20 drops of essential oil(s) to your yoga space
  • Add 10 drops to bath
  • Add 5-20 drops to carrier oil or use Deep Relax in massage

 

Additional benefits of pure essential oils for enhanced yoga practice

Use pure essential oils to create an eco-clean environment and to complement heightened senses and awareness. Lemon and Lavender are great for adding to water or soapy water to get the job done.

Yoga mats can be quick-cleaned between sessions with a well-shaken water and essential oil spray. Vitality Cleanse is an eco-spray designed to deliver an uplifting, inspiring aroma and deep-cleaning properties.

  • Add 25 drops essential oil/s to 1 litre of water
  • Add 50 drops of Absolute Emulse, shake
  • Spray yoga mats and equipment between sessions to keep smelling fresh and disinfected clean

 

Medicinal-grade essential oils must be 100% pure. At Absolute Essential we use certified organic or wild grown (sustainable) plants to produce our oils and all extraction processes are strictly controlled to produce the best quality oil with a maximum purity and therapeutic value. See more at Absolute Essential