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Deepening your Practice - Blending Yoga & Aromatherapy

Deepening your Practice - Blending Yoga & Aromatherapy

April 18, 2018

With every passing day the benefits of Yoga and Aromatherapy are becoming more prominent and mainstream. With the practice of breath work, meditation, asanas, stretching and basic knowledge of Essential Oils, people across the globe are finding it easier to combat health issues, stress, anxiety and disconnection.
Both Yoga & Aromatherapy are holistic practices that can help you improve the health of your body, mind & soul. And bringing them together using pure essential oils enhances the yoga practice by combining their wonderful therapeutic properties. The idea truly is to live a more aware life and treating our senses to magical experience.

In Yoga, the most important & essential part to work on is your breath (pranayama). In every asana the physical workout is interwoven with the breath work so as to help us reap the benefits of balancing our minds & our body. There is a very direct relationship between breath rate, state of mind, the autonomic nervous system (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (rest and restore) function in our body. Fast breathing pings the brain at a higher rate, triggering it to activate the sympathetic nervous system, turning up stress hormones, heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, sweat production, and anxiety. On the other hand, slowing your breathing induces the parasympathetic response, dialling down all of the above as it turns up relaxation, calm, and mental clarity.  Through our yoga practice, we regulate breath work to induce this parasympathetic response to calm and relax.

With the importance of breath, what we are breathing in is as important as the technique we practice. When we inhale essential oils through the nose, the molecules interact with all the physical organs and cells relating to the sense of smell (olfactory organs) and almost immediately with our emotional brain (Limbic System). The emotional brain is directly connected to those parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance. This relationship helps explain why smells often trigger emotions. The receptors in the nose are connected to the limbic system, which is why our sense of smell can trigger memories and emotions. When we smell something, the chemical components of the oil bind with the receptors in our nose, telling the brain, "This is lavender!"

Depending on the oil and its properties (and any past experiences you've had with the smell), the result is usually an emotional response and/or a memory. In most cases (since essential oils usually smell pleasant) this triggers the brain to release neurotransmitters, such as serotonin or dopamine. Getting the brain to release these neurotransmitters is the primary effect of aromatherapy, helping keep our bodies in a healthy and happy state.  Knowing this, we can scientifically explain how inhalation of essential oils can have some very profound physiological and psychological effects.

There are two powerful ways to incorporate essential oils into your yoga routine.  The first is by diffusing the essential oil into the room to get the amazing benefits of inhalation aromatherapy.  Yoga is a breathing-focused practice, so it is an ideal time to incorporate aromatherapy inhalation because with slow, deep breaths, your body can better disperse and apply the oil to the necessary areas.  The second is to apply essential oil directly to your pulse points with a roller ball, which will help improve your circulation and disperse the powerful effects. However, since we are doing yoga, I would not recommend applying to the wrists because the carrier oil may cause us to slip on our mats. Applying the oil to the neck or upper chest is good because it will be close to the nose, for aromatherapy purposes. The third way is to create a wonderful mat mist with distilled water & Essential Oils. (5% dilution)

A word of caution (from experience): if you are using oil for the first time, make sure you enjoy the smell of it for more than 15 minutes before your yoga practice. Based on how you are feeling, here is a list of Essential Oils to use to deepen your practice.
You can use either one of them or make a blend 



To Reduce Lethargy & Get Stability
     Cedarwood, Geranium, Orange
For Clarity & Strength
     Cedarwood, Rosemary, Basil
For Balance & Harmony
     Frankincense, Palmarosa, Lavender
     Sweet Orange, Ylang Ylang, Vetiver
Lavender, Peppermint, Bergamot Mint
Will Power
     Cedarwood, Geranium, Ginger
    Black Pepper, Cedarwood, Lemon, Eucalyptus

We can’t wait for your to try making your own Aromatherapy blends and tap into the powers of your sense of smell.
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