10 Ten Reasons Why Students Love Aromatherapy Yoga
Yoga can be one of the most powerful and transformational practices you can gift your body and your mind. The simple act of moving in unison with your breath, of disconnecting from technology, and of looking inward for a mere hour each day is a natural medicine to help you increase mental awareness and focus, process deep emotions, and gain physical strength and endurance. These benefits of practice can be heightened by the use of aromatherapy during yoga. Aromatherapy is simply the application of essential oils, which are naturally derived from mother nature’s plants, for therapeutic benefits. Remarkably enough, essential oils are used by plants themselves to help with infection control, humidity control, hormonal effects, wound healing and attracting or repelling birds or insects.
For the past three years, I have had the honour of incorporating aromatherapy into my public, corporate and private yin yoga classes. What began as a curious experimentation with essential oils has evolved into a complete fascination with the power of scent and sensation to deepen students’ practices to a level unseen before.
Classes were filling up, students were coming again and again and requesting more information about these oils. The results were instantaneous, essential oil application during yoga was having a powerful impact on my students. So, I asked them why. Here are some reasons why my students (and myself) are passionate about aromatherapy-based yoga practices.
1. Stress Release: Nearly all my students at some point in time arrive to the studio busy, stressed out, and overwhelmed with the constant expectations of modern life. Particular yoga practices, especially slow paced, yin-based practices, are phenomenal tools for relieving this stress. By applying the balancing effect of lavender and the calming impact of chamomile while in yin yoga poses, the mind and body shifts into a state of relaxation and release from anxiety, restlessness, and nervousness, preparing one’s mind for a quiet and restful practice.
2. Relaxation: Particular scents like rosemary are potent and powerful tools for inducing a sense of total relaxation, rest and calm into the minds of yogi’s. These are particularly useful in a restorative class or a yin yoga pose that the student is having trouble settling in to.
3. Connection: Essential oils can be rolled along particular energy lines in the body to create a deeper connection to the emotions aligned with those lines. For example, when I am teaching a heart opening yin yoga pose, I often roll joy inducing blends such as citrus or grapefruit along the inner line of the arm, awakening the heart energy with sensation, scent, and even added hands on acupressure.
4. Pain Management: So many of us land on the mat for the first time with the genuine and courageous intention to relieve pain. Whether it is muscular pain from a hard work out to be soothed by camphor, pain related to inflammation to be soothed by chamomile, sprain pain to be resolved by arnica, digestive pains and aches to be rescued by fennel and myrrh, the combination of said essential oils with targeted pain relief postures is an incredible way to enhance your yoga practice and teachings.
5. Headache Relief: Essential oils offer the opportunity to further integrate holistic healing into the yoga practice. Long stressful days of running around or sitting in a stagnant way
at work, often causes my students to arrive at class with a pounding headache. The gentle application of headache managing oils, such as peppermint, can help ease the pain that students arrive at the studio with before they even get into the postures themselves.
6. Grounding and Focus: The yoga mat brings us back to earth. It centres us, helps us focus on what is really important in life, and in movements and meditations we begin to release unwanted “busy brain” or “monkey mind”. Both sandalwood and jasmine applied during seated meditation or savasana can help students ground and connect.
7. Sensation: Many meditation and yoga practices are rooted in awareness of sensation. Peppermint Halo, one of my favorite essential oil blends from Saje Wellness is a blend of peppermint, eucalyptus, cajaput, vetiver, lavender and rosemary, and can be applied to the neck and hairline to create a cooling sensation that can become the focal point of your meditation. Sit tall and focus on the mundane details of the sensations that arise and fall over time, notice how they change, how they evolve and how they rebound throughout your entire body.
8. Energize: When I notice that the general energy of the room is groggy, drowsy or even angry, I retreat to diffusing certain essential oils that are celebrated for their uplifting qualities such as lemon, myrtle, orange and clove. These can soon replace coffee and tea and chocolate breaks, energizing with the simple power of scent.
9. Clear Energy: As a yoga teacher, I can feel the presence of my students’ energies in the room (and many students can feel the energy of one another). Often the simple application of certain essential oils on ourselves before and after a practice can help us feel relieved of any energies that do not serve us. The burning of sage or Palo Santo also helps cleanse the space of undesired energies upon arrival.
10. Enhance Breath: Particular respiratory blends of essential oils – I prefer eucalyptus and lemon – rubbed along the chest and lung area of the body can help open up airwaves. I often invite my students to try doing this shortly before moving into a pranayama practice to ensure that they can breathe deeply, fully, and clearly.
On Saturday May 18th from 3pm-5pm, join me and Amanda Stokes for an opportunity to experience some serious self-care, while learning how to take care of yourself using essential oils, acupressure, and yin yoga postures (even when you can’t make it to the yoga studio)
IF YOU WANT TO LEARN…
* How to use essential oils in your home practice * Where different energy lines (or meridians) exist in your body * Where to apply essential oils on your body to target certain energy lines * How to take care of yourself with nothing but your hands, your yoga mat, and some oils
After all that learning, you want to slip away into a blissful 70-minute yoga class complete with aromatherapy application and gentle hands-on adjustments, then this workshop is for you.