Essential Oils are the highly concentrated, natural oils found in plants. Essential oils have long been used in aromatherapy for their ability to enhance mental and emotional wellness and support physical and spiritual well-being.
If you are new to using oils, start by finding a brand that works best for you. If you have a question, seek out a formally educated individual or aromatherapist. As a general rule- never ingest or apply essential oils directly to the skin. Although they are natural, they are extremely concentrated and can be toxic at certain levels. Always use caution and dilute in a carrier oil (like fractioned coconut, jojoba, or sweet almond) if applying topically. When used correctly, aromatherapy can boost the positive of effects of yoga- such as feelings of being at peace, grounded, energized, confident, etc. Essential oils can also help you to boost your immune system, soothe sore muscles, and breathe more deeply.
Two Ways to Use EOs in Your Practice:
Topically: Essential oils can be blended into a carrier oil and then placed in roller bottles (like these) and applied to the temples, shoulders, wrists, feet, etc. You can use a blend of Clary Sage and Lime to spark intuition and get grounded before your morning yoga practice. Or keep a roller of Lavender and Frankincense next to your mat to anoint yourself before Savasana.
Aromatically: Whether its in a diffuser or a spray bottle, Essential Oils can cleanse your space and yoga mat of impurities and offer a pleasant scent throughout your practice, without the need to apply to your physical vessel. To purify and cleanse your room or props- try a blend of Rosemary, Lemongrass, Lavender, and Peppermint. These oils will not only remove toxins from the air or surfaces, but will help you to breathe more deeply and inspire self introspection. Having a gentle class or meditation? Try diffusing Geranium and Vetiver.
Remember- Essential Oils are very strong, concentrated substances. Always be mindful and respectful when using them around others. What helps one person relax and unwind can be another person's headache- so always properly dilute and don't over do it! A little goes a long way. Always patch test before further use if introducing a new oil to your body to avoid sensitization.
Below are great resources to make sure you are using EOs safely:
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils