oil cleansing method skin|yogi surprise

Use An Oil Cleansing Method to Put Your Best Face Forward

I swear to you, washing your face with oil makes a whole lotta sense.

If you've never tried an oil cleansing method, I'm really excited for you right now

I was skeptical too. Very. But those who recommended using oil cleansing versus soap and water sure as hell had really nice skin. Trust the people who have the skin you want.

Like attracts like

It was only about ten years ago that this concept introduced itself to me. The law of attraction is that like attracts like. I had grown up with the opposites attract ideology. When we question what we know to be true, we can consider doing things differently and with gusto.

Reasons using an oil cleansing method will improve your skin

  • It's a fact that oil dissolves oil. If you have oily skin, that means there is an overproduction of oil. To mitigate this, using the right oils depending on your skin's needs can effectively clear up an abundance of oil, blackheads, acne, dry skin, you name it.
  • Balance. By using natural oils to clean your face combats the oils your body produces that have become stuck. Dissolving these oils will create a healthy balance in your skin.

I'm not an esthetician. I have no medical background. But as an avid oil cleansing method practitioner, I've seen the results. I stopped breaking out, even during my cycle. My skin feels moisturized, luminous, and healthy. I definitely have seen a decrease in fine lines. It's even helped with the appearance of dark circles. But it took me a while to figure out the best oil for my skin, truth be told.

But be forewarned, not all oils work the same. Essential oils can be harsh.

Rosehip oil across the board is safe and effective. Essential oils often need to be diluted and combined with other oils to be as helpful as possible. You might have a reaction if you use an oil that is simply not good for your needs. My routine is rosehip oil morning and night and a microfiber towel with warm water. That may work for you, and it may not.

Which oils should you use?

That's the 'rub', isn't it? Here's a list of common skin ailments and potent oils that help reduce the issues:

  • For aging skin, rosehip oil is a winner. This was the game-changer for me. I tried the other recommended oils for aging skin such as jojoba and lavender, but rosehip had a much more noticeable effect. My skin stopped looking oily and I found I only needed a few drops morning and night. You could try a combination of these oils as well. Trial and error may be how you find the best solution for you.
  • Acne is a bummer. Experiment with thyme essential oil. It's been shown to be effective in fighting the bacteria that causes acne. Dilute.
  • If you have dry skin, there are many oil cleansing methods you can try to rectify this issue. Consider carrot seed essential oil. It's incredibly moisturizing and it can also protect your skin because it contains so many antioxidants. But there are many oil cleansing methods that may help with dry skin. Sesame oil is highly recommended by Ayurvedic practitioners to soften and heal the skin. Try it in combination with dry skin brushing. You will be blown away.

Is organic oil an important factor?

Yes. Simply yes. If staying away from chemicals and other harsh components in your skin care matters to you, go organic. Look for products that are labeled 'USDA Certified Organic'. Be sure to read all of the ingredients before buying.

Don't be discouraged if the first thing you try isn't the best thing for you. Sensitive skin and allergies need to be taken into consideration. Counterindications are important to know. There are many skin specialists who can work with you and help you discover the exact best combination of essential oils to create the perfect oil cleansing method specifically for you. Essential oils are not FDA approved as a skin treatment. Educate yourself, know your own sensitivities and allergies, and study up on the ideal course of action for you. Your best skin is waiting for you, just right around the corner.


rituals home practice|yogi surprise

Developing Rituals to Enhance Your Home Yoga Practice

Spend a few moments describing your personal yoga practice to yourself. Write it down if you're game for that. Or do this exercise with a friend. What are the non-negotiables? Do you absolutely require a mat and bolster? Inside or outside? Do you bathe first? Is time of day important? Our personal practice gets to be all about us and the rituals we involve are what make it both special and consistent.

A friend of mine practices every day at 6:24 a.m. This is the time she was born, so she practices at that time to remind herself that she is, every day, again reborn and the world of opportunity and exploration lay in adventurous wait for her.

Rituals keep us grounded and connected. They shape our sense of self and honor our singular perspective on the world 

 
Rituals can be actions you take or involve touchstones and symbols. I have a regular student who comes to class twenty minutes early so she can claim her spot and set up crystals at all four corners of her mat. One rose quartz to remind her to be loving. One green jade to help her focus and build mental strength. One citrine for self-confidence and one malachite for courage. She meditates as others filter in, ignoring the noise and bustle to prepare herself for the journey she's about to embark on.

Rituals can bring your yoga practice to the next level 

 
They give everything just a little bit more texture and meaning. Say, for instance, you and your kids walk up to the local bagel shop to buy breakfast every Sunday morning. The owners know your order by heart, and it's a ritual within itself to take this walk together every Sunday for sustenance. Adding in a few rituals on the walk can give this practice even more meaning. Stopping to play with a neighbor's dog, naming the trees and thanking them for existing, or even playing a word game contribute so much to what could be a routine walk to and fro.
When we practice with intention and go the extra steps to cultivate meaning into our every action, we discover uncharted territory each and every time we come to our proverbial mat.

Where to start? 

 
Start by developing a 'Let's Begin' ritual. If you plan to practice in the morning, choose something you do immediately upon waking up. Perhaps you write down your gratitude list. Or maybe you dry brush and lather in sesame oil, and then cleanse. Enjoy and combining that ritual while practicing the niyama of saucha, purity is an incredible way to place yourself in the frame of mind to be the most receptive version of yourself.
You could choose to do a guided meditation or mudra practice. Choosing rituals that speak to your heart will provide you with a consistent way to signal to your brain that it's practice time and it's the priority. Rituals are a form of self-care. Take the time to take care of you.

Maintenance

In combination with your let's begin ritual, choosing a specific place to practice helps too. Setting up a practice space in your home by creating an altar for yourself is a lovely way to encourage your continued practice each and every time you encounter that space. If you have the luxury of an entire room available to you, foster the ambiance with candles, essential oils and incense, props, and perhaps a book from which you can go to any passage for inspiration.
Three books to consider:  The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz, The Fire of Loveby world-renowned yoga teacher Aadil Palkhivala, and Pema Chodron's  Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living.  You really can't go wrong with any of Pema's books.
If you love practicing outside when the weather allows, identify an alternate space that feels harmonious and conducive to your practice. You can travel there with your touchstones for continuity. The old saying, 'Wherever you go, there you are' comes to mind. Bring your you-ness no matter where you choose to practice.
Writing this has inspired me to further develop new rituals of my own. Just like us, the practice morphs constantly. But rituals remind us of the pillars and tenants that will always be near and so very dear to our hearts.

3 Beginner Tips for Using Aromatherapy in Your Home Yoga Practice

Many yogis admit that the biggest benefit of choosing to practice at home rather than in a class at a studio is the freedom. When you practice at home, you can tailor your practice however you want—right down to the look and feel of your yoga space.

Aromatherapy is just one way you can personalize and enhance your home yoga practice. While many teachers do incorporate aromatherapy into their classes, doing it yourself while practicing at home means you have full control over the selection and/or blend of oils, the dosages, the type of aromatherapy tool or technique to be used, and when or how aromatherapy will be used throughout your practice.

If you’re considering the use of aromatherapy in your own home yoga practice, but don’t really know where to start, here are a few simple tips to help get the ball rolling.

 

Choose Oils With Healing Properties That Match the Focus of Your Practice

It’s worthwhile to familiarize yourself with how certain oils affect the mind and body. For example, if you’re doing an evening practice to help you fall asleep, lemon essential oil might not be the best choice since it’s known for helping to eliminate fatigue and wake up the mind.

Here are some recommended essential oils to use based on the theme or the intention of your practice:

Energizing essential oils: Orange, lime, grapefruit, peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, thyme, basil, lemongrass

Calming essential oils: Lavender, rose, vetiver, ylang ylang, bergamot, chamomile, frankincense

Grounding essential oils: Cedarwood, myrrh, patchouli, black spruce, sandalwood, cinnamon, rosewood

 

Decide on an Aromatherapy Tool or Technique Based on Your Practice and Personal Preferences

Five of the most common aromatherapy tools and techniques include:

  • Lighting essential oil candles
  • Burning essential oil incense sticks
  • Diffusing essential oil diffusers
  • Applying essential oil lotions (diluted with carrier oil)
  • Spritzing essential oil sprays (diluted with water)

Candles, incense, and diffusers are ideal if you want to enjoy the aromas as a constant flow throughout the entire course of your practice. If, however, you’d prefer to focus on the aromas at specific points along your practice—such as at the beginning in meditation or at the end in savasana—you might want to opt for a spray or lotion to spritz or apply at that specific point.

 

Remember to Put Your Safety First

It had to be said. Anything with a flame and all essential oils need to be used with care and caution.

Candles and incense: Place candles or incense on a flat surface and away from any items or materials that can easily catch fire (such as wood furniture, drapes, books, blankets, etc.). Make sure they’re far enough out of reach that you can’t knock them over when moving around and extending your limbs during your practice. Pick a space with good ventilation (and crack open a window if necessary). Extinguish immediately after you're practice.

Essential oils applied to the skin: Perform a skin patch test to make sure you won’t react to the essential oil or oils of your choice. Always make sure to dilute your oils properly and avoid ingesting them or getting them anywhere near your eyes. If using a spray, keep your eyes and mouth closed while spritzing over your body. If using a lotion, avoid applying around the eyes and to any areas of the body that need to grip your mat, such as the hands and wrists.

Essential oils in general: Before you use oils in your practice, try using a tool or technique of your choice while doing something like household chores, relaxing on the couch, or working just to see if you’ll like the aroma for more than a brief period. It's easier to test the aroma for an extended period of time while doing something easy and mundane rather than expecting to love it all the way through an hour-long yoga session!


Soothing Aromatherapy Oils to Bring Balance to Your Mind

7 Soothing Aromatherapy Oils to Bring Balance to Your Mind

Negative thoughts and emotions can significantly impact your life and well-being. Although you may not be able to control or ignore those thoughts and emotions (nor is it all that effective in the long-term to even try), you can at least take advantage of the many natural therapies available to help balance out your state of mind and stress-related tension running through your body.

Aromatherapy is just one of those natural therapies that can offer nearly instant positive effects. All you have to do is obtain an essential oil with mind-balancing properties to diffuse in a room (or in your yoga space), combine with carrier oil for a fragrant lotion, drop into a bath, sprinkle on your pillow before med, gently inhale before meditation, or use in massage therapy.

Here are just seven essential oils that are known to help balance emotions, improve mood, and help bring clarity to your mind.

 

Lemon

All citrus essential oils have a positive, uplifting effect on the mind that can really come in handy when you’re feeling down in the dumps, but perhaps none is as powerful as lemon. Lemon essential oil can help combat feelings of anger, burnout, depression, fear, irritability, anxiety, nervousness, and even grief.

 

Frankincense

Centuries ago, frankincense was considered more valuable than gold for its incredible therapeutic properties. When you feel like your mind is all over the place and keeping negative thoughts at bay seems nearly impossible, look toward frankincense essential oil to help improve focus and boost concentration while minimizing irritability and restlessness.

 

Rose

When you really need to get back in touch with your higher self so you can spread kindness and compassion while embodying love and joy, rose essential oil can certainly help. Rose helps get rid of your worries and reduces self-centered feelings like jealousy and fear so you can open yourself up to the world around you.

 

Bergamot

Part of the citrus family, bergamot is another essential oil that’s well known for its mood-balancing properties. Use this uplifting essential oil anytime you’re dealing with emotional stress, anxiety, sadness, confusion, depression, or poor concentration to calm those feelings and give yourself a much needed emotional boost.

 

Clary Sage

Clary sage works to balance a wide range of negative emotions and may be especially helpful for women suffering from the effects of hormonal fluctuations during their menstrual cycles. Whether you’re feeling out of control due to anger and aggression or stressed out with excessive worry and anxiety, clary sage is a powerful essential oil that can help.

 

Roman Chamomile

In autumn when excess vata is a risk, roman chamomile can aid in balancing out vata-related feelings of anxiety. This calming essential oil is also especially helpful in reducing destructive emotions like anger, aggression, recklessness, and impulsiveness—so keep it handy for when you’re feeling a little hot-headed.

 

Lavender

Lavender is the most popular essential of all for its versatile uses and wide range of healing properties—and this is especially true for its calming and relaxing effects on the mind. The aroma of lavender is powerful enough stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which govern’s the body’s “rest and digest” system. For everything from anxiety and panic, to mood swings and nervous tension, lavender can do some pretty remarkable things to hep bring the mind and body back to equilibrium.

Image (edited) via Your Best Digs on Flickr