Essential oils are the pure essence of plants, extracted for their healing, cleansing and "magical" properties. The olfactory nerves in the brain work by transporting us, encouraging us or relaxing us through the power of scent. In order to benefit from all the rich aspects essential oils have to offer, it is important to look at each structural source as an individual and unique frame of reference. The therapeutic "signature" of each plant, tree or fruit, is its essence, or essential oil.
Essential oils in yoga have so many uses, on and off the mat. I have a core group of oils that I recommend such as eucalyptus, juniper, lavender, orange, rosemary, rosewood, tea tree, and thyme. These essential oils work as a calmative, an antiseptic, diuretic and infection fighter. These select oils are simply a jumping point for you to start discovering these wonderful "scent tools."
Eucalyptus: This oil is best know as a decongestant for colds, it's a powerful antibacterial and antiviral. It's good for use in treating rheumatism pain, it promotes cell regeneration and regulates the oiliness of the skin. Increases circulation and helps stabilize blood sugar.
On the mat: Add 25 drops of eucalyptus oil to a spray bottle with 4 ounces of water. Shake and spray your yoga mat to clean and disinfectant your mat after class. Off the mat: Add 30 drops of eucalyptus oil to 2 tablespoons of carrier oil (jojoba, vegetable, olive oil) and massage into stiff joints.
Juniper: This oil is an antiseptic, a diuretic and it fights infection, it's excellent for its detoxification properties. A good oil for skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. Juniper activates the kidneys; consult your healthcare provider if you have kidney problems. Warning: Avoid during pregnancy.
On the mat: Inhale this stimulating oil directly out of the bottle before yoga class; one nostril then the other, this will encourage a more focused and energized yoga session. Off the mat: Add 20 drops of eucalyptus oil to 2 tablespoons of carrier oil (jojoba, vegetable, olive oil). Massage into any small eczema patches, dermatitis or heat rash.
Lavender: This oil is an amazing therapeutic oil, it stimulates new cell growth, lifts depression, calms nerves, fights infection, reduces inflammation, and eases congestion. Relieves pain and muscle spasm. Lowers blood pressure.
On the mat: Add 15 drops of lavender oil to a misting bottle with 2 ounces of water. Shake and spray over face and Crown Chakra for a restorative end of practice meditation or Savasana. Off the mat: Can be used as calming massage oil, de-stresser oil, room refreshener.
Orange: Stimulates lymphatic circulation, improves immunity, fights infection, reduces inflammation, relieves muscle spasm, eases digestive disorders. Orange oil also cools fever and warms chills, calms nerves, diminishes depression. Warning: May irritate skin and/or promote photosensitivity - avoid going in the sun while using this oil.
On the mat: Add 15 drop of orange oil to a cloth and massage into your yoga mat. Removes residue and negativity! Off the mat: Add 20 drops of orange oil to a spray bottle with 4 ounces of water. Shake and spray in any room in your house. Increases conversation, stimulates prana energy and lifts depression!
Rosemary: Stimulates the adrenal glands, circulatory system, liver, gallbladder, promotes nerve health, improves the functioning of the heart and nervous system. Rosemary oil also fights infection, joint pain and muscle spasms, helps to tone and tighten the skin, regulates oil secretion and eases digestive orders. Warning: This oil may trigger epileptic seizures in prone individuals and may irritate sensitive skin. Avoid if you have high blood pressure.
On the mat: Massage 10 drops of this oil into your abdomen and 3 drops onto your temples right before class. Improves circulation, focus and awareness. Off the mat: Add 15 drops of rosemary oil into 2 tablespoons of carrier oil (jojoba, vegetable, olive oil). Massage oil over ankles and arms using upward strokes toward the heart to boost circulation.
Rosewood: Helps relieve pain, fight infection, diminish depression, stimulate the brain, clear the head, improve immunity, help skin disorders, and stimulate sexual desire.
On the mat: This is a wonderful oil to diffuse during class time. Add 15 drops to an electric or candle diffuser and let the scent permeate the room. Off the mat: Add 10 drops of rosewood oil into 2 tablespoons of carrier oil (jojoba, vegetable, olive oil). Massage into ligaments and muscles after a long, hard class.
Tea tree: Teat tree oil fights infection and fungi, can soothe skin disorders and heal wounds. It releases mucous, relieves respiratory congestion and increases immunity. Excellent for foot and nail fungus and athlete's foot. It even serves as a natural way to kill unwanted insects. Warning: May be irritating to sensitive skin.
On the mat: This is a fantastic oil to use to cleanse your yoga mat. Add 20 drops of tea tree oil to a spray bottle with 4 ounces of water. Shake and spray your yoga mat to clean and disinfectant after class. Off the mat: Massage a few drops of tea tree oil directly to your feet and nails, about an hour before bedtime.
Thyme: This oil fights infection, improves immunity, eases arthritis pain, eases muscle pain, improves digestion, and relieves urinary tract infection and respiratory ailments. It can also improve circulation and lung function, help overcome emotional fatigue, nervousness, and stress, and help regulate oiliness of skin and other skin disorders. Warning: Avoid during pregnancy or if you have hyperthyroidism or high blood pressure. Can irritate or sensitize skin and mucous membranes, stimulates menstrual flow.
On the mat: This is another great oil to diffuse during class time. Add 10 drops of thyme oil to an electric or candle diffuser and let the scent permeate the room. Primarily used for respiratory issues, it works as a great air freshener. Off the mat: Add 3-5 drops of oil to a cup of water and massage into cuts, bruises or to disinfect wounds.