Close your eyes and try to imagine what it feels like to enter your favorite yoga studio. You might picture the way sunlight cascades in through the windows during your class or the calm energy you experience when you first sit and focus your breathing. After thinking about how the studio looks, try and think about how it smells. Most yoga studios take advantage of using essential oils during classes in order to help participants feel relaxed, focused, and ready to get to work.
Whether you practice yoga in a studio with other people or you are someone who likes to experience the activity alone at home (1), adding essential oils into the mix can transform the way you feel throughout. Check out these interesting ways essential oils can boost your yoga practice.
1. Improve Breathing
Breath is a crucial part of yoga. In fact, most meditative practices and exercises will ask you to try to slow your breathing and focus on how it feels to inhale and exhale. The more you focus on your breath, the easier it becomes to lose yourself in the rhythm of movements yoga involves. You might have heard instructors mention the word “prana” before (2). This word loosely translates from Sanskrit to mean “vital life force.” Since breathing is a vital action, discovering essential oils to help improve the quality of your breath can be a great find.
Peppermint should be at the top of your list when you are aiming to use essential oils in your yoga practice. According to several studies (3), using peppermint essential oils while exercising can improve how your body takes in oxygen. Additional studies reveal that peppermint can give your mind a boost as well. Getting into the habit of using peppermint will make yoga a more calming and rewarding experience in no time.
2. Sharpen Focus
Clearing your mind is another important aspect of practicing yoga. You want to free yourself of the thoughts that tend to plague the mind throughout the day while practicing. Of course, this is easier said than done. As much as you might try to keep yourself focused, you may discover you can’t get a certain tune out of your head or you keep going back to a mistake you made at work the previous day. To err is human and to go back to that same error in your mind time and time again is just as human.
To keep your spirits high and your mind focused while going through each movement, you might want to try cinnamon. Cinnamon essential oil has been shown to have a number of key benefits for those who use it (4). In fact, there has been a ton of research centered on how much of a medicinal punch cinnamon tends to pack. To keep the mood light and your energy positive during your practice, check out what cinnamon has to offer.
3. Clean the Air
If you have frequented a yoga studio or two in your day, then you most likely know how gross a studio can become. People can become sweaty, sticky, and smelly when they are putting their bodies through intense physical movements. There is no shame in what your body is attempting to cleanse through your skin, though you might not want to smell what is pouring out of everyone’s sweat. To keep a room clean and fresh, essential oils are definitely the way to go.
Classic scents like lemon can be a perfect fit, but you might feel like you want to try something a bit more adventurous. Tea tree oil has been a popular choice in recent years for people who want to give their homes and businesses deep cleans without relying on harsh chemicals (5). Mixing some of this oil with water in a spray bottle and using it to wet and wipe down surfaces will help rid the air of toxins and prevent the smells of the human body from lingering in your space for too long.
4. Fight Stress
Finally, having a solid spiritual center is another key part of engaging with yoga. You want to focus your mind, body, and spirit through your movements, and the spirit can often prove to be the most challenging. Unlike the body and the mind, the spirit tends to be the hardest concept to nail down. Focusing on essential oils that aid in calming anxiety can often prove to be invaluable when it comes to discovering your own spiritual core.
Essential oils like bergamot might be what you need (6). In various research studies, bergamot was shown to have a positive impact on psychological stress. If you find that you are unable to keep yourself calm or spiritually focused, this oil might be a useful tool in getting back on the right track.
There are countless options for you to consider when it comes to improving your yoga experience with essential oils. All you need to do is find the scent that works best for your goals.