Not surprisingly, I love essential oils. Find a yoga teacher who doesn't, right? When it comes to my classes, though, I always default to using lavender-scented things... eye pillows, mist, sanitizer. Using essential oils for yoga can be tricky. I always ask the class if they have any sensitivities to smell, and the specific scent I'm using. If a single person alerts me to a sensitivity, I usually don't use it at all. Better safe than have an allergic reaction on hand, right?
But I still love using them, and I'd love to bring a deeper awareness of them not only for myself, but my class as well. Not knowing too much about essential oils (beyond liking or disliking their scents), I decided to research what's out there for what scents mean what, and how to use them.
Essential Oils in Yoga Class
The most common ways to include essential oils for yoga class are:
Diffusing: using a diffuser or oil lamp to mist a room with essential oil scents. I'm not into it - like I mentioned above, the chance of someone having an uncomfortable practice isn't worth it to me.
Purifying: recipes abound online for helping to clean and purify your mat, clothes and props. Check out doTerra's resource on using essential oils in the laundry room.
Anointing: using oil on students either at the beginning of class or the end of class to boost the calming power of savasana.
Anointing is the one in which I'm most interested. Like I said, I tend to stick with lavender as it's the most universally-liked and, if I'm being honest, it's one of my faves as well. I've also brought in some Aveda scents, like their Beautifying and Shampure composition oils.
Both contain lavender, of course. But what other scents can I create and maybe use in conjunction with particular flows and goals for a class?
Yoga Basics provides a great resource based on what you're looking to achieve in a class.
Ginger, patchouli, cedarwood
Strengthening and Centering
Sandalwood, cedarwood, myrrh, frankincense
Breath Awareness and Clear Breathing
Peppermint, basil, eucalyptus, rosemary, myrrh, frankincense, cardamom
Lavender, geranium, chamomile, vetiver
Bergamot, lemon, orange
Cassia, clary sage, lemon, lime, white fir
Purify and Cleanse
Arbovitae, grapefruit, lemon, lemongrass, wild orange
Soothe Sore Muscles
Basil, coriander, cypress, lavender, rosemary, wintergreen
So Many Essential Oils, So Little Time
I recognize some of these as oils, others from general knowledge, and others from Sunday school... it's no small thing to start researching aromatherapy and how essential oils can affect a yoga class! I'll have to search out a local expert and see if we can co-host a workshop soon.
What are your favorite oil combinations to use in class?