Yoga: How to Incorporate Ayurveda and Aromatherapy into your Yoga Practice

Combine the benefits of asana yoga and aromatherapy to improve your health and wellness.

Yoga and aromatherapy have many commonalities: wellness, breath, and a long-standing history steeped in tradition, to name a few. Both are ancient practices that have a positive impact on physical, mental, and emotional health, and when used in conjunction with each other, their benefits multiply to enhance the sensory and therapeutic experience. Learn how, when, and why you should add essential oils to your yoga practice.

Improve your practice with aromatherapy

Ayurveda, an ancient Indian medical system, believes that asana (the poses associated with yoga practice) and essential oils (fragrant essences from plant material) bring balance to the mind, body, and spirit by unblocking the body’s energy centers.

Findings from modern medicine support the hypothesis that aromatherapy and asana have verifiable health benefits. A regular yoga practice not only builds physical strength and balance, but also has a positive impact on reducing stress responses, which can translate into biological benefits such as a lower heart rate, reduction of blood pressure, and improving respiration.

The use of essential oils has similar medicinal effects. It’s been long understood that various scents can affect mood, but studies show that the terpenes responsible for the fragrance found in each scent can also have anti-inflammatory or neuroprotective properties.

Enhance your yoga practice and your health by incorporating aromatherapy with the following essential oil ideas:

Asana Yoga helps to keep balance and is an excellent way to build muscle and maintain flexibility.
Vinyasa, restorative yoga, meditation, and aromatherapy all act as complementary therapies.
  • Morning vinyasa is a good way to start the day and can provide an energy boost that lasts through the afternoon. Elevate that effect – and your mood – by adding an energizing essential oil such as a citrus scent like sweet orange, pink grapefruit, or tangerine, or a minty fragrance like spearmint or peppermint.
  • Restorative yoga utilizes deep, relaxing poses, often supported by props, along with mindfulness techniques and breathing exercises to bring the body and mind to a restful state. Add another element of relaxation to a restorative practice by introducing an essential oil such as lavender, chamomile, clary sage, or copaiba; all are known for their ability to relieve stress and improve sleep quality.
  • Meditation is often a part of yoga practice, with vinyasa being its own form of moving meditation. One of the greatest challenges involved in a meditation practice is maintaining focus on your breathing, without allowing your thoughts to become a distraction. Improve concentration and clarity with bergamot, ylang, ylang, frankincense, cinnamon bark, or cacao essential oils.

The integration of yoga and aromatherapy can be accomplished in a variety of ways. The use of a room-sized oil diffuser can add a light aroma to your practice area, a personal essential oil diffuser for inhalation can have a more direct impact on your individual practice, or treat yourself to a more satisfying savasana with a cool towel misted with your favorite fragrance.

There’s a reason certain ancient practices have persevered through the ages, and it’s because they serve their intended purpose while improving our lives. Combine the powerful therapeutic practices of yoga and aromatherapy to enhance your physical, mental, and emotional well-being as well as your daily experience of living. 

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