There are few things which go together as well as beautiful yoga practice and essential oils. The sheer amount of different oils can be confusing though and where and how can you incorporate them into your practice?
Let’s begin by talking about the oils.
Not all oils are the same
You may have noticed that the price of oils can greatly vary. Why is this? Put simply, some oils are much better than others.
First of all there is a difference between ‘fragrance’ oils and ‘essential’ oils. A fragrance oil is anything but natural! Made up of potentially harmful synthetics, you don’t want to bring these into your home or yoga practice.
On the other hand an essential oil comes straight from the plant, a naturally derived product. But even within essential oils you will find a great variance in price. Most of the time you’ll see that the cheaper oils are actually essential oils mixed with a carrier oil (like almond or jojoba) not 100% the type of oil listed on the label.
When you’re searching for a good quality essential oil you want to look out for a few things:
Is the oil mixed with a carrier oil?
As we mentioned above, many oils will be diluted. The pure oils will not only last you longer, but their benefits won’t be dulled by the carrier oil.
Is the oil food or theraputic grade?
A pure food or therapeutic peppermint oil can be used to make tasty raw chocolate treats whereas a lower quality oil would never be recommended to ingest. And it’s the same with many other oils. Look out for this information on the bottle.
Where is the oil sourced?
The best oils are sourced from where the plants grow naturally from local farmers who can support their communities. It’s important to check out the ethics of the oil, making sure the company’s practices are up to par.
Are the oils pure?
Quality oils are tested to ensure their purity – no pesticides or other chemicals should make their way into that little bottle. Testing for purity makes sure the oils are safe for you to use.
Incorporating essential oils into your yoga practice
The ways in which you can use essential oils to take your yoga practice to the next level are infinite, however we have a few favourites. Start by diluting your oils with a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil before applying, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Try rubbing a few drops of Peppermint or a blend designed for your respiratory system between your palms. Hold up to your face (not too close, the vapours are strong!) and breathe deeply. The perfect way to open up before starting pranayama.
For strength and to feel centred in your practice turn to Frankincense, Sandalwood or Myrrh oils. You can anoint yourself with these oils before practice or diffuse them into the air as you flow.
Lavender on the temples or chest is calming and perfect for laying in stillness. If you’re feeling flighty or fidgety, try a grounding blend (this would usually include some tree oils) rubbed on the feet.
Feeling a bit stiff after a particularly dynamic class? Try Wintergreen, Peppermint or Lavender oils on the affected muscles. You can also try a specially formulated athletic blend. Combine with massage to really get into the muscles.