Having immense health boosting properties, essential oils are more and more frequently used to enhance the effects of workout sessions, especially in the case of yoga classes, where the proper selection of essential oils can complete the physical and spiritual journey.
Essential oils and yoga have been intertwined for a long time: diffused with the help of a candle lamp, used to wipe the yoga mat or massaged into the body for better stretching, essential oils can infinitely enhance the effects of the yoga class.
Yoga aims at restoring the balance of the body and soul through poses and breathing exercises, each activity approaching the unity from a different part of the body. The use of oils during the class enhances the efficiency of the exercises, while also contributing to the calm, relaxing atmosphere necessary for the journey taken by the participants. Some oils are used to stimulate certain types of mental activities, while others have soothing effects that support the inner journey.
Myrrh, sandalwood and frankincense are the three essential oils most frequently used in yoga classes. Also called sacred oils, these substances make it easier to restore the unity of body and soul, while also having numerous healing properties.
• The scent of myrrh can efficiently calm the central nervous system and it brings tranquility by relieving emotional pain. Inhaled, it is able to ameliorate coughs and asthmatic seizures and, used as rubbing oil, it relieves the pain associated with arthritis.
• Sandalwood has been long used in Ayurvedic medical practice for its calming and emotionally uplifting effects as well. Applied internally, sandalwood oil can reduce high blood pressure, and it has a soothing effect over symptoms of the digestive and the respiratory tract; applied in a vaporizer or a lamp during a yoga class, it soothes the troubled mind and soul, promoting relaxation and refreshing the mind.
• Frankincense is also known as a powerful remedy against headaches, allergies, illnesses of the respiratory tract and a mighty ally of the immune system. When used in yoga classes, the characteristic scent helps the participants to follow their breathing, making exercises more efficient and meditation deeper.
The use of essential oils and ayurveda are also interrelated. Ayurvedic medical practices consider these oils to have powerful healing properties, but with the potential of becoming dangerous if taken internally or rubbed into the skin – thus the only way the oils are used in this medical system is for aromatherapy. Burned in lamps or inhaled, frankincense, lavender, rose, jasmine and angelica oils all have their own specific effects over the different mind-body types – the system used by ayurveda to categorize individuals, each category being defined by the illnesses each type is sensitive to and the oils that can cure these illnesses.
The use of essential oils is nowadays a common practice in alternative Western medicine, having its well-deserved place in the practice of yoga and in ayurvedic treatments as well, offering us the peace of mind so much needed in today’s hectic life.