Let’s face it. When we are in the flow of our yoga practice, it’s easy to tap into our heart’s center and feel inner light radiating with every breath. But once we leave our mats and face the trials and tribulations of living out our lives, our heart center can quickly become bombarded with numerous energies picked up from our surroundings. In this enlightened state, we sometimes retract to protect ourselves, because not everyone shares this expanded, open-hearted perspective.
One way to keep your heart chakra (anahata chakra) open and maintain this compassionate mindset is with the addition of essential oils into your yoga practice—both on and off the mat.
Follow your heart (chakra)
As human beings, we are rarely disciplined enough to operate from 100 percent love and compassion all the time. It is in our nature to react to the world around us, formulating behaviors as we respond to different situations. As we grow and develop our worldviews, there are many factors that make following our heart’s “higher self” difficult.
Our ability to love freely without fear, judgment, or self-consciousness is generated in the heart chakra. However, we need to neutralize any negative feelings and emotions in order to reach this blissful state.
Expand your heart-centered state
To nurture the spirit and encourage self-love:
- Rose is considered a general tonic for the heart. Its calming and supporting abilities are mentioned often throughout history as a symbol of God’s love for the world.
- Neroli is soothing and euphoric in its actions, instilling comfort and strength, and encouraging the release of repressed emotions fostering forgiveness.
- Ylang Ylang’s voluptuous aroma has the ability to reunite emotional and sensual aspects of the self, allowing the individual to experience pleasure and joy.
To help us feel grounded and secure in our convictions:
- Cedarwood provides strength energetically by its fortifying and grounding scent, helping us to hold firm to our ideals with certainty.
- Spikenard’s warm and earthy oil has a calming effect on the mind and helps soothe anxiety—instilling a profound sense of peace.
- Rosemary reinforces the heart and empowers the mind for a boost in morale and confidence helping us to walk our own true path.
To encourage a cheery disposition:
- Bergamot encourages the release of pent up feelings. It redirects nervous energy to help one relax and let go of unexpressed anger.
- Sweet Orange helps to ease frustration by dispersing irritability with its warm, sunny, sweet aroma. Sweet Orange supports positivity and adaptability.
- Melissa’s fresh, lemony, sweet aroma helps restore clarity and a sense of security to those who are overly dependent or needy.
To quiet the mind for meditation and help with focused attention:
- Sandalwood reconnects us to a universal truth by diminishing the noise of the intellect and bringing us back to our existential selves.
- Frankincense gently tranquilizes and has a deeply clarifying effect on the mind, quieting the mental chatter.
- Laurel is a visionary herb used in prophetic rituals. Its essential oil is used to aid concentration, stimulating self-assuredness and bold actions.
A simple mist recipe
There are a few easy ways to add essential oils to your lives on and off the mat. You can create a mist to spritz around the room before or during class—or while your students are in Savasana (Corpse pose).
- 2 oz. spray bottle
- 1 oz. distilled water
- 1 oz. aloe vera gel (to aid in oil dispersion in water)
- 15 to 20 drops of an essential oil of your choice
Another option is to put your favorite blend into a nebulizing diffuser. This helps create the mood for your class and allows subliminal changes to occur. You can also dab a couple of drops on the corner of your mat or towel near your head, so you get a whiff of its transforming scent as you flow through your vinyasa.