Essential Oils and Yoga (Updated May 2020)

What have essential oils got to do with yoga I hear you ask?

Just like yoga, essential oils enhance your wellbeing and the two blend together beautifully.

You may have experienced the subtle aroma of essential oils as you enter your local studio, helping to uplift and refocus you as you transition from the hubbub of daily life to your mat.

In class some teachers will offer to anoint you on your Third Eye as you lie in Shavasana at the end of a class, helping you to sink deeper into relaxation and let go of any residual tension in your body.

At home, many students like to use essential oils in their own yoga and meditation practice to help ground and centre themselves as they step onto their mat or bolster.

There are many essential oils to choose from. You can use them individually or blend them together to create something special just for you. Each essential oil or blend has its own properties and powers, as well as its own fragrance.

I have my longstanding favourites, but interestingly I find I am often drawn to different oils or blends at certain times, reflecting without me realising it what my body or mind needs at that given moment.

Here are some essential oils that I think work well for yoga and meditation that you might like to try out.  Experiment with them to see what works best for you.

Yoga:

  • Sandalwood – opens the heart and grounds you
  • Clary Sage – spiritually uplifting
  • Lemongrass – energy boosting
  • Cedarwood – strengthens mind-body connection

Meditation:

  • Peppermint – increases your energy levels, helps open your airways
  • Ylang-Ylang – reduces tension and can help release negative emotions
  • Frankincense – promotes internal peace, calmness and focus
  • Lavender – calming and stress relieving

Lavender held in hands

Chakra Balancing

You can also use essential oils to clear blocked energy and balance your chakra system.  Tracey Francis from Essential Olie recommends trying the following oils for the seven main chakra points.

Root Chakra – Sandalwood, Myrrh, Vetiver

Sacral Chakra – Bergamot, Clary Sage, Patchouli

Solar Plexus Chakra – Peppermint, Geranium, Grapefruit, Ylang-Ylang

Heart Chakra – Neroli, Rose, Lemon

Throat Chakra – Lavender, Citrus Oils

Third Eye Chakra – Jasmine, Siberian Fir

Crown Chakra – Frankincense, Angelica, Basil

If you are not sure where to start consider trying Sandalwood, which is the quintessential chakra oil, helping to recalibrate and support the chakra system as a whole.

Using essential oils to take your yoga off the mat

But it doesn’t stop there. Essential oils can also be used to create your own natural skin-care and cleaning products at home for a fraction of the price of those you find in the shops.

You are probably thinking at this point…that’s lovely but what has making your own skin-care and cleaning products got to do with yoga?

For those of you that are familiar with the Yoga Sutras or have read my previous blog, ‘Discovering the world beyond yoga class’ you will have come across the yogic principles of Ahisma (non-violence) and Saucha (cleanliness/purity). By making and using your own products you ensure:

  • no animals have been harmed to create them
  • no nasty chemicals or processes are involved that damage the environment when they are made, or when they go down the plug hole
  • you are using natural products that nurture and cleanse your skin
  • that you are cleaning and purifying your home with products that support you and your family’s health and wellbeing.

house cleaning sprays

Keen to make your own skin-care and cleaning products? Here are some essential oils to consider:

  • Lemongrass – great for those prone to acne, while its astringent properties (and lovely smell!) make it great for cleaning products
  • Geranium – nourishing for all skin types and especially for those of us graced with a few hard earned wrinkles!
  • Bergamot – balancing for oily skin and can aid the healing of scars
  • Jasmine – soothing for sensitive skin, and its antiseptic properties can be beneficial for those with eczema
  • Peppermint – cooling, great for those with allergies and a treat for muscle ache after a strong yoga session! Also another good one for cleaning products as it is also antibacterial.

Not sure where to start. How about making up your own yoga mat spray? It is really quick and easy.

  1. Boil some water and let it cool (alternatively you can use distilled water)
  2. Pour the cooled water into a small spray bottle till approximately ¾ full
  3. Add the following to the water:
    • Witch Hazel or white vinegar (¼ of bottle)
    • 2 drops of tea tree essential oil
    • 1 drop of lavender essential oil
  4. Let it sit overnight to blend and you are good to go.

Other ideas to use essential oils to enhance your yoga inspired lifestyle!

Diffuse

I love to use a room diffuser to fill my home or work space with aromas that energize or relax me, depending on what I am doing. You can pick a diffuser up from most health orientated shops or online.  Just add your preferred essential oil, pop in some water and plug in! You’re in business.

Essential Oils dropped into diffuser

Apply

Combine a few drops of your favourite oils with a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil in a small glass bottle. Dab on your wrists and neck before your mediation or yoga session. Then take a moment to lift your wrists to your nose, with three deep breaths inhale the beautiful scents of the oil and start to absorb its energy.

While pure essential oils can seem expensive a drop goes a long way and they can be used for so many different things. Just remember when buying oils to check the oil is a high quality pure essential oil containing no synthetic ingredients or nasty chemicals (such as Doterra oils).

Start with buying a few of your favourites and begin experimenting with them. You can find ideas for blends, as well as lots of easy recipes to inspire you on Essential Olie’s website.

If you are keen to learn more check out my podcast with Tracey from Essential Olie here.

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