Best Essential Oils to Bring Your Yoga Practice to the Next Level
Yoga is a highly popular activity for several reasons. It helps you lose weight, calms you down, and smoothens out the tension in cramped muscles. You may not realize this if you haven’t experienced an official yoga class, but the practice is about more than just the positions and movements.
The whole experience of yoga is what helps us make the most of it, and essential oils are a major part of that experience.
Essential oils are renowned for their nonalcoholic, natural fragrances. They don’t just smell good; their health benefits are recognized all over the world. In fact, massaging with essential oils can actually lead to the prevention and cure of serious issues like plantar fasciitis. It’s hence no surprise that the effects of yoga are enhanced by aromatherapy using essential oils.
Not sure about which types of essential oils are the best for bettering your yoga practice? We’ll discuss some of the top choices with you below!
Cedarwood For Grounding Purposes
You can enhance your yoga sessions by introducing essential oils for some blissful scents. Keep in mind, though, that these scents will also provide different experiences. If you want your yoga to have a grounding effect, for instance, you should go for cedarwood. This will be sure to cultivate just the mood you need for your yoga to help with the grounding.
The majestic and versatile cedarwood gives us the gift of its essential oil which can transform our mind-body yoga experience. It makes sense for this oil to have a grounding effect, since the tree it comes from is so firmly and deeply ensconced in the earth. Just like the cedar tree draws its nourishment through its deep roots, the cedarwood essential oil will help your body achieve a nourishing effect during yoga.
Make sure to achieve your yoga goals by pairing this essential oil with certain positions that connect you back to the ground. This includes the mountain pose, the warriors’ poses, and the tree pose. Be sure to breathe in the cedarwood oil deeply, savor it and exhale while rooting yourself in every pose.
Sandalwood For Centering
Sandalwood essential oil has a sweet, slightly wooden smell that’s not too different from cedarwood. They both come from different trees and have varying effects on the human body, especially during yoga sessions.
The sandalwood tree is also a huge, gorgeous work of nature, with its sweet smell making it a favorite in decorative furniture, wooden crafts, and scents.
As with all essential oils, be careful not to go overboard with the sandalwood oil. All you should start off with are a couple of drops. Once this has helped in achieving a centering effect, you may increase the number of drops in to enhance the benefits.
Inhaling the scent of sandalwood essential oil may help to get your mind back in one piece after a harrowing day. During your yoga session, you would hence get back to the mental strength, focus, and clarity needed to stay on a positive note.
Once you’ve poured a few drops near your yoga mat, sit and meditate for some minutes. Keep your breathing steady and allow that relaxing scent to cover you from all sides. After this, slowly start on your usual practices. You’ll soon feel much stronger than usual.
Lavender For Banishing Stress
Lavender is the most commonly used essential oil, for many good reasons. Many yoga instructors and even doctors recommend a massage with lavender essential oil. This is so that the lavender fragrance would relax away any stress one might have gained throughout the day.
The claiming effect of lavender might even help you sleep more comfortably and quickly, making for a refreshing rest every night.
While you’re in a yoga class, the lavender oil may relax you a bit too much. It’s hence not recommended for the morning yoga routines, but those poses you perform just before bedtime. When the time comes for your session, massage the oil into your body and let the scent slowly pull every bit of stress far away from you.
Spearmint For Soothing Muscles
A vinyasa flow during yoga can result in some seriously sore muscles. This could serve to disrupt the continuity of your exercises as well as limit the benefits yoga provides. This doesn’t mean that you should always tone your yoga down, though; after all, this is an actual exercise that can help you lose and maintain your weight.
Instead of taking painkillers after a strenuous yoga class, try massaging a bit of spearmint or peppermint oil on your aching muscles instead. The minty smell will invigorate your sense and the anti-inflammatory abilities of the oil will help you stay fit, smooth, and toned.
This oil is also an antispasmodic as well as an analgesic, so you can rub it one in the place of a heating pad as well.
With a minty essential oil on hand, you can also look forward to a high level of focus and concentration. This will help you in getting your work done, but the main point here is the focus needed during yoga. With the help of this minty effect, you can easily concentrate on your poses and get the maximum benefit from them as well.
Try rubbing some of this oil on your wrists just before your next yoga session. If you suffer from shot nerves and balancing problems, this just might help in more ways than one. To make the best of the oil, include balancing poses in your session. The half-moon or the dancer’s positions would be the most relevant ones to try out.
Lemongrass For Cleansing And Energizing
Lemongrass essential oil is derived from the stalk-like plant that grows in the tropical areas. It has a cities scent, hence the name, and the plant is often used in brewing healthy teas as well. The clean, sharp smell of lemongrass essential oil is hence sure to clean out the clutters and distractions of the world. At the same time, it’s also used for energizing the brain during yoga class.
If you’re looking for an essential oil to wake you up during your morning yoga session, this is it! It’ll get you awake and alert in the mornings and clear out the brain fog if you’re in the need for an afternoon yoga class. The smell is highly potent and needs some power yoga moves. You may want to go for a sweaty, robust vinyasa flow for perfectly pairing the lemongrass essential oil.
This particular essential oil is also excellent for boosting your self-esteem and confidence. Have a work presentation that you’re nervous about, or a job interview? Pluck up the courage you need with a confidence-boosting yoga workout complete with lemongrass oil! You’ll see the difference almost immediately.
Do let us know in the comments below about your favorite essential oil.
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali) and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur).