Essential oils are increasingly being integrated into the holistic management and treatment of disease for a wide range of illnesses including cancer, heart disease and a myriad of other conditions. They are also commonly used to boost immunity, help manage weight and diet, and treat the symptoms of menopause.
If you haven’t been introduced to essential oils, consider integrating them into your yoga practice. Testing their powers on the mat is a good way to gauge what works for you and what doesn’t. But be prepared: Everyone reacts differently to essential oils. One person’s go-to oil to relieve stress or headaches could be the catalyst of these for someone else. For example, most people find that lavender promotes restful sleep; but others can find the scent agitating, which leads to restlessness and insomnia.
Essential oils are potent (and rare), hence their relative high cost. But a drop or two usually go a long way. As a general rule essential oils should not be ingested or applied directly to the skin, as doing so can cause an adverse reaction, especially for people taking prescription medicines. If you are looking to integrate the oils topically or as dietary aids, do diligent research and consult with a qualified essential oils expert for guidance. Though essential oils are commonly sold in grocery stores and new-age boutiques, beware: Only high-quality therapeutic-grade oils—containing no artificial ingredients or chemical residues—should be used topically or ingested.
Three easy ways to use essential oils in your yoga practice:
Diffusing: Most oil companies sell diffusers that deliver a lovely fine mist of essential oils into your yoga space. Oil lamps offer a cost friendly way to diffuse oils. (These are great for the home too!)
Purifying: From lavender to sweet orange, and peppermint to oregano, essential oils can be used to cleanse and purify your yoga space, yoga mat, chairs and clothes.
Anointing: Touch is healing and powerful, and even more so when enhanced with essential oils. Using the right oil at the beginning of class can infuse energy into your class. Similarly, using the perfect oil just before Shavasana can boost the calming power of this restorative pose.