What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is a holistic healing process that relies on scent, primarily drawn from plant extracts, to promote health and a sense of well-being. Although this modality has been practiced for thousands of years, the profound effects it continues to demonstrate on our psychological and physical wellness have gained favourable recognition in the medical and scientific communities. So much, that it’s increased popularity has allowed just about anyone to become a self-studied expert and administrator of their own aromatherapy regime. We see this evidence in the increased popularity of aromatherapy body products, home diffusers, personal aromatherapy kits, massage therapy, as well as therapeutic treatments - all in the pursuit of enhanced wellness...and it works!
In aromatherapy, fragrance serves the purpose of generating a sought-after experience. When we feel stressed, we strive to counterbalance that sensation with something soothing; feelings of sluggishness with something invigorating, and feelings of depression with something up-lifting. For example, warming scents like vanilla and cinnamon create a sense of grounding and cosiness. Herbal scents like orange and rosemary are uplifting and energizing, while lavender and chamomile are calming and soothing.
How Does Aromatherapy Factor into Yoga?
Because we have such a powerful connection between our sense of smell and overall body experience, we can harness the ability to use fragrances to mentally and physically achieve a desired outcome. In short, we can train our brain and body to prepare ourselves for what lies ahead, like a ritual of sorts. For example, using a particular scented candle or essential oil at the beginning of our yoga or meditation practice will gradually set the tone, allowing our body to become mentally and physically prepared for the activity that lies ahead. During a restorative class, soothing scents can ease us into a calmer state, while an uplifting scent can continue to fuel our energy during a more active session.
Here at Liberty Life Yoga, we’ve taken this a step further by developing our Aromatherapy Light Flow class to nourish the mind, body, AND spirit. This is a yoga class dedicated to individuals of all fitness levels to gracefully float into the room and onto their mats, flow through gentle Asanas (yoga poses) to blissful music and be immersed with aromatherapy all the way to their final Savasana.
What’s our Aromatherapy of Choice?
My chosen favourites are the Yoga: Transition Mist and the Namaste: Uplifting Mist, both from Saje Natural Wellness. I truly appreciate the quality of their oils and products, knowing that both my participants and I are in good hands when using these oils - not to mention that they also smell incredible! The Yoga Mist provides an uplifting start to our yoga session, containing oils of orange peel, bergamot, cedar and cardamom, allowing our senses to gently awaken, ready to flow through the Asanas. We finish our practice using the Namaste Mist, with scents of lavender, Indian neroli, geranium and rose, promoting a sense of relaxation for our restorative Savasana.
And if you’re wondering about how these oils are applied during our yoga practice, well that’s something better left to be experienced rather than described...you’ll just have to come by and try it for yourself!
Ready to experience Aromatherapy Light Flow for yourself? Join Elizabeth every Sunday, 10:30am at Toy Factory Lofts. View our schedule for complete details.
Written by: Elizabeth Fox