The sciences of yoga and Ayurveda are closely related, and using modalities of one may enhance our practise of the other. Here, we will take a look at the concept of aromatherapy – a modality I use often – in our yoga practice to help us ground and balance in our transformation through yoga.
In Ayurveda, aromas are crucial for healing and wellness. Aromatherapy can be used to protect prana, help regulate digestion and metabolism, and boost our immune system.
Emotions & aromas.
Aromas have a powerful influence on our mind and body, In terms of our emotions, we need to understand how our brain works in relation to our emotions. Within our brain lies the limbic system – the emotional centre of our self. Every thought, emotion, all our experiences, memories and lessons are stored in the limbic system.
Our limbic system helps us decide how to react in the present based on our past experiences. These ‘patterns’ we create – an action of the past dictating our current actions – create deep ruts within our thoughts and behaviour. This is why change can be really hard for us, because we get stuck in these ruts.
This is analogous to the concepts of vrtti (the known experience), pratyaya (the causative force of the vrtti) and chitta (the experience) I discussed here.
Back to aromas and emotions, within our limbic system is our olfactory bulb – our capacity to smell. Interestingly, our sense of smell (the olfactory bulb) is the only one of our senses that is housed in our limbic system, together with our thoughts, emotions and memories.
Interestingly, in yoga, we experience / taste our emotions as well (keeping in mind the close link between taste and smell – see video below):
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So this is how aromas affect our emotions and actions, and can be key in helping us align, balance and overcome our barriers. See more below.
I have been using essential oils for a few years now, and I find they help tremendously especially when there is ‘resistance’ to change or a stubborn emotional or mental block. I can go on and on about how great essential oils are, so contact me if you want to discuss further.
When it comes to Ayurveda and yoga, we are looking at our doshas – vata, pitta and kapha. To see what works for you in Ayurveda, you need to learn what your dosha is.
- Vata – warm, sweet aromas; e.g. Lavender, Ginger, Basil, Cinnamon, Orange
- Pitta – sweet, cooling aromas; such as, Chamomile, Sandalwood, Geranium, Cypress
- Kapha – warm, stimulating aromas; e.g. Black Pepper, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Thyme
I am Pitta dominant (although balanced overall), which is why I am very drawn to Chamomile and Cypress specifically. Tell me in the comments what your dosha is and how you fare with the suggested essential oils for your dosha.
In general, however, grounding oils are any oils extracted from wood, resin or spice. I use dōTERRA for many reasons, but you can choose whichever brand of oil you like (MLM or otherwise), and select wood-, resin- or spice-based oils (sometimes herbaceous-based oils – it depends on you because this is experiential). Here are examples of oils I use to ground:
- Cedarwood – the best wood-based oil, and it really helps with sleep as well
- Siberian Fir – this one some people like, and some people don’t
- Patchouli – again, some people don’t like this one, but I love it!
- Frankincense – the king of oils, and once you use it, you will know why!
- dōTERRA’s Balance blend – meant to be a grounding blend
- dōTERRA’s Anchor blend – again, another grounding blend, but from the yoga collection (so it has a lot of other special magic in it)
- dōTERRA’s Amāvī – again, another grounding blend, perhaps catering more towards the masculine sensibilities.
If prefer other essential oil brands, I am sure they have grounding blends to help you as well. Otherwise, go for more woody, resin-based, spicy kinds of essential oils. Please do read the labels, and also learn about the essential oil company you intend to purchase from.
Again, if you have any questions on oils, contact me here.
For me, incense was a bit of a no-no until I discovered hand-rolled incense by My Practical Magick. These incense have been carefully made by Pooja and her team, and they are awesome. I use them mainly for my energy healing work, but also in general when I personally need to use them.
In terms of grounding incense, you can check out Abundance, Balance and Gaia. I use them a lot, even for my animals. These incense, both stick and cones, have essential oils as well. According to them: “combining incense with essential oils is a great remedy to eliminate negativity. Feel more positive, motivate yourself and drive out all impurities from your soul and surroundings.”
I find incense with sandalwood quite grounding.
Aside from this brand of incense though, I do try out others now and then, and also have dabbled making my own. It’s a great form of creative outlet, if you are interested in emotional and energy healing.
Aside from essential oils and incense, you will find yourself spoilt for choice when it comes to aromatherapy. You can try scented candles, scented waters (e.g. rose water) and other variations of these forms of aromatherapy.
A final note: although I am a dōTERRA Wellness Advocate, I am not suggesting you buy their products unless you want to. I am just speaking from my own experience. Also, although I do know Pooja and her team in My Practical Magick, I do not benefit by including her in this blog post. I genuinely love her incense.
I would encourage you to try out other brands if you like, and experience all there is. The key thing is gaining those tools that help you balance and ground through aromatherapy. My suggestions are just a start for you, the adventure is yours to take.
If I can help you in any way, please do contact me. I’d love to help you the best I can.
Work with me.
Let’s journey together for your awakening using yoga and other mindfulness tools. Get peace in your body, clarity in your mind, courage in your heart and confidence in your spirit, so that you can move towards brighter years ahead!