The use of essential oils during yoga practice is nothing new. Yoga's sister science, Ayurveda - the system of traditional Indian medicine, provides the original link between Yoga and aromatherapy. Ayurveda is believed to be the oldest form of medicine and has been referred to as “The Mother of All Healing”.
In Ayurvedic medicine, essential oils are thought of as the fire of the plant. The element of fire, in this case from plant material, is what causes them to be therapeutic. With this knowledge, the ancient yogis were quick to realize the benefits of yoga + aromatherapy.
So why should you use essential oils in your yoga practice? Here are just a few of the reasons:
1. Essential oils are wonderful at helping you stay focused. One of the goals of yoga is to unite body and mind. Focus is a key element for this union. Essential oils like Mandarin and Lavender are great examples of oils that increase focus.
2. You also need energy for yoga. Again, aromatherapy can help with essential oils like Lemon and Sweet Orange. By maintaining your energy levels throughout your pratice, you get the most out of yoga.
3. Mindfulness is similar to focus, but has more to do with being fully aware of the present moment. This is the quality that adds a spiritual element to our practice. Frankincense and Ho Wood essential oils have long been prized in the East for their spiritually grounding effects.
4. Yoga is a dynamic play between energy and stillness as you sink into a pose and let it "sink" into you. Essential oils like Clary Sage, Ylang Ylang and Chamomile can facilitate this still quietness of mind and spirit.
5. Aromatherapy can also help you experience the same joy of yoga off the mat. If you use a particular scent during your practice, over time your brain associates that scent with your state of mind/spirit. Then when you smell that aroma, even if you are not doing yoga, your mind will trigger the same responses you typically have during yoga. To better understand this phenomenon, you can read more about Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP).