Essential oils made from plants and flowers are known for their healing properties for both body and mind. Using oils in this way is known as aromatherapy.
This form of therapy works by activating our sense of smell. This sense connects to a network of nerves in the brain, called the limbic system, making it utterly unique.
This means a certain smell can trigger an emotion. Depending on the scent, this can trigger our brain to release neurotransmitters like dopamine or serotonin.
Aromatherapy is well known for its stress relieving qualities. This makes it a perfect accompaniment to yoga. When doing yoga at home, aromatherapy can offer a new dimension, taking your practice deeper.
How to incorporate aromatherapy during yoga
Your first step will be to choose your essential oil. There are many different scents available, most of which fit under the following categories:
- Citrus – These scents (lemon, orange etc.) are known for their uplifting qualities. Use these when you want to feel energised, alert and refreshed.
- Floral – Lavender and jasmine are perfect examples of floral scents. These are known for soothing and relaxing the senses. Try these when practising Yin, Hatha and restorative yoga.
- Earthy – Oils like pine and patchouli are incredibly grounding. This can be useful if you’re feeling detached or anxious, helping you to reconnect with the earth.
Once you have chosen your oil, you can decide how you would like to use it. Some people like to blend with a carrier oil and apply to their skin (check with a doctor before doing this). If you do this, avoid applying the oil to your hands or wrists as this could cause you to slip during your practice. Instead apply it to your temples and neck.
You may prefer to burn the oil in a dedicated essential oil burner. This will fill the room with the desired scent. Be sure that you are happy with the scent of your oil before you start your practice, if you do not like it, it may become a distraction.