Aromatherapy and Yoga – The Scent of Savasana

Aromatherapy and Yoga – The Scent of Savasana

There are very few things that go together as well as aromatherapy and yoga. The light scent of lavender in the air during a busy 50 minute lunch class can melt away the lingering emotions of that lengthy morning meeting. A wiff of grapefruit might just be that extra push to get you through your Monday morning “made it to the mat” class. As a yoga teacher, I try to come up with a central theme for a yoga class, be it balance or heart opening… working on a specific charka, grounding down, letting go… Although I try to articulate my purpose as fluidly as possible, nothing seems quite as purposeful as a savasana massage with an oil or oil blend that compliments what we all had worked on in class. A soft massage of the temples, back of the head and the third eye with an essential oil not only allows a student to relax more deeply, it allows them to leave the class with a constant reminder of their practice done so mindfully earlier in their day. Carrying the scent of savasana with you beyond the walls of the yoga studio can be very profound and uplifting.

The sense of smell is so incredibly powerful… using oils during and after yoga practice when the mind is most still can have a very different effect as opposed to using oils amidst a world usually filled with chaos. Using lavender, for example, in association with a yoga and or meditation practice can increase the capabilities of lavender in your everyday life. When you smell that scent, it can take you back to the place where you have smelled it last… your yoga mat, at the end of a beautiful, calming, energetic class and there you are, in that place once again.

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Often times I think up new sequences at home for classes in the future and luckily I always have something up my sleeve. I have come up with my most creative and interesting classes “under the influence” of frankincense! Honestly, find it quite hard not to do yoga when there is frankincense in the air! It also helps, as a teacher, to use the same oil before class to jog my memory. A sniff of frankincense before I teach a class has been quite the confidence booster not only to relax but also to put myself in the same environment as when I created my class.

I have incorporated many oils into my practice, including a yoga mat spray which consists of lavender, tea tree, orange oil and a bit of patchouli. The spray is both antibacterial, antifungal and has a light fabulous smell. I like to use it before and after class in both heated and non-heated environments. It is not sticky or oily and during a heated class the oils actually release into the air and provide a great relaxing yet energizing effect. Also, it is not overpowering that it would distract or bother anyone.

There are probably some practitioners who would say that essential oils during practice are “distracting” to the senses and further contributing to the ongoing chitta vrtti or mind chatter which is explained in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Sri Swami Satchidananda. However as also explained in the Yoga Sutras, we, as yogis or aspiring yogis, are to reach towards withdrawing from the senses or pratyahara. Practicing pratyahara we no longer smell the essential oils or even notice their presence however we are able to reap the renowned benefits of these amazing compounds.

During final relaxation pose, savasana, a yogi lets go of the breath and sinks into the floor for a brief moment of meditation after a period of exploration into the body and the senses. For that brief moment many can simply clear their head and yes, sometimes fall asleep! Savasana is a beautiful moment in the practice and the use of essential oils during a savasana can truly enhance that brief moment in the day where all our troubles melt away. Essential oils allow another way for a yogi to take that moment out into the world. A small dab of lavender on the temples and the neck, and its savasana all day long…. Yoga and essential oils, what a better pair!

 

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