Self-Care Series, Essential Oils for Yoga Practice
Ahhh the world of essential oils, there's so much to learn! On top of the therapeutic benefits oils offer, there's another bonus, they're natural! We partnered with yoga teacher and essential oil educator Madoka Hara, a.k.a Circle Yogini, to find out more about using essential oils for yoga practice, how to use them, and the benefits they can bring when combined with your self-care routine. Read on!
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are naturally occurring compounds found in the leaves, stems, petals, seeds, and roots of a plant. They help the plant defend itself from various threats in the environment. We get these oils through a process called distillation. What results is the pure essence of the plant, which can provide various therapeutic benefits to humans! I use essential oils for yoga practice to help with insomnia, meditation, anxiety, stress, aches and pain, menstrual discomfort, skin irritation, burns, allergies, and more. Essential oils have the power to support your physical, emotional, and mental health. Plus, it’s super easy to incorporate them into your daily self-care routine!
How to use Essential Oils
Essential oils can be used:
1. Aromatically: inhaling the scent. You can either put the oil in a diffuser, put a few drops into your hands to inhale the aromas, or smell it straight from the container. When you inhale an essential oil, the aroma meets your brain in the olfactory bulb, which in turn triggers a series of chemicals that can affect your mood.
2. Topically: applying the oil directly to your skin. If you have sensitive skin or are applying it to larger areas of the body, consider mixing the essential oil with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil, jojoba oil, or sweet almond oil. Combining an essential oil with a carrier oil prevents it from evaporating off of your skin as quickly, and it helps with application.
3. Internally: ingesting the oils. You can mix a few drops of the oil in water and drink it as part of your daily wellness routine, or you can put some oils in a veggie capsule (pill form) if you don’t want to taste them in your mouth. If you are mixing oils with water, make sure you use a glass or ceramic container – be sure to avoid plastic!
Ways to Use Essential Oils for Yoga Practice
Before practicing, put a few drops of your favorite oil on your wrists, back of your neck, under your nose, or on your temples. If you are practicing at home, you can diffuse the oil to receive the aromatic benefits.
If you are a yoga teacher, you can use essential oils on your students while they are in savasana. Of course, make sure you get their consent to use the oils first, as many people are sensitive to smells! Another way to use it in your classes is by putting the oils in a diffuser if that's available at your studio.
To find out more about Madoka's favorite essential oils, and how she uses them for self-care, check our her blog.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness. The information in this article is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended as medical advice.
Madoka is a trauma-informed yoga teacher and essential oils educator based in Oakland, CA. She started yoga 12 years ago, and now works with teens, seniors, and adults of all ages, races, and ability levels. She loves practicing yoga with her bunny Leon, who is a yoga master. You can follow her bunny yoga journey on Instagram, @CircleYogini.