Aromatherapy is a powerful, age-old tool used for relaxation and rejuvenation of both the body and mind. Cited in countless Ayurvedic routines, including the daily practice of cleansing the sense of smell with every morning, aromatherapy is also known by modern science to relieve anxiety, insomnia, stress, and even hair loss (see University of Maryland and American College of Healthcare Sciences).
Here are three aromatherapy techniques, inspired by the yogi lifestyle.
1. Better Rest: Chamomile & Lavender On Your Pillow
Feeling stressed after a long day? Finding it hard to manage that monkey mind when trying to go to sleep? Does it seem like going to sleep, as much as you want to, is becoming harder with time?
There feelings aren’t uncommon. As we grow and mature, not only do we accept more responsibilities that lead to stress and overactive thinking, but our bodies lose some of their ability to defend against aging and promote good sleep – the body produces less melatonin as we age, and the immune system gradually becomes weaker. But there are tools to help combat this, and aromatherapy is one of them.
For restlessness, people have been using lavender for ages, often filling their pillows with lavender flowers. Instead, we suggest using a homemade linen spray. Just a few sprays can help you more easily drift into sleep and stay feeling rested:
- Find a 2-oz spray bottle
- Add 1 Tbsp Alcohol (isopropyl, vodka, or everclear could all work!)
- Distilled water
- 10 Drops Chamomile, 10 Drops Lavender (or 5/15, 15/5 – whichever you prefer!)
Simply give a good shake before each use, then generously mist your linens. A few minutes before bed helps the scent sit in nicely!
2. A Clean Start: Eucalyptus & Lemongrass Mat Cleanser
Eucalyptus is one of our most powerful allies in the fight against invasive bacteria and viruses. It’s been used in botanical medicine for hundreds of years, and research confirms it holds a host of benefits, primarily from its use as an antiseptic due to its high cineole content, which makes it active against many microbes.
It can also be used in your practice, in a yoga mat cleanser:
- In a large spray bottle, combine 3 parts distilled water, 1 part Witch Hazel
- Add 10-15 drops Eucalyptus, 10-15 drops lemongrass.
- Adjust oil amount to your likening of scent and strength
Before each use. gently shake the bottle and generously spray your mat. Gently wipe, and allow the mat to sit in the sun for 15-20 minutes to dry. Not only will the essential oils cleanse the mat, but as you work through your poses, you’ll be invigorated with light scents, helping clear the mind of distractions and keep you focused on your practice.,
3. Relaxed Practice: Tangerine Room Diffuser
With a well-rest mind and clean yoga mat, the next place aromatherapy can benefit you is while you actively practice your yoga. If you follow a strict yoga lifestyle, chances are you wake up early in the morning (perhaps quite early!). While this can be adjusted overtime to become effortless, occasionally it can be tempting to climb back into bed or stay in that Child’s Pose for a few extra breaths.
Citrusy essential oils can be one the best tools to beat this. Often associated with the summer season, citrus essential oils can help invigorate the mind and inspire the body. By using an oil diffuser, you can fill your yoga space with the aroma, uplifting your practice and helping you align yourself with the day.
- Find an essential oil diffuser (candle lamps work perfectly!)
- Fill the bowl with 1/4 cup water
- Add 10 drops essential oil (tangerine is a personal favorite)
- Light the tea light and allow for the aroma to begin releasing
What Are Your Favorite Aromatherapies?
With so many essential oils to choose from and so many different applications for aromatherapy, we’re interested in hearing what your favorite recipes are. Have you used experimented with aromatherapy in yoga? What has worked for you? Tell us in the comments below!