The Use of Essential Oils in Yoga Practices

Whether you?re a seasoned yogi or a first-time student, you will most likely have experienced the strong (and for some people, fairly unpleasant) smell of incense that yoga teachers oftentimes choose to burn during a class. However, modern-day yoga studios are moving away from the pungent smell released by incense burning and migrating towards the use of essential oils instead, which can be incorporated in a number of ways throughout the class.

Essential Oils in Yoga Practices

The use of essential oils in a yoga practice has a number of positive benefits that enhance the class in both physical and spiritual ways for both the yoga teacher and the student. The oils not only enhance emotional well-being, but they are also used to relieve pain and soreness in muscles and support spiritual health. They can even be used to wipe down sweaty mats after an intensive practice! Read on to discover more about the most effective essential oils that are used in today?s yoga studios, as well as their numerous benefits for the yogi and the practice.


One major benefit of essential oil use in yoga class is diffusion, which helps to create a relaxing and spiritually grounding environment for the class participants. Most essential oil companies will also sell diffusers that allow the aroma to be dispersed in a fine, thin mist that allows the smell to fill the studio space in a manner that is not overwhelming. Oil lamps can also be purchased that work for diffusion purposes, enhancing the overall environment of the yoga practice with their sweet and calming scents.

The Use of Essential Oils in Yoga Practices

Essential oils in the yoga studio are also used for purifying purposes. Typically yogis will seek out sweeter-smelling oils, such as orange, lavender, or peppermint and use them to cleanse and purify accessories found in the yoga space, such as clothes, mats, and props like straps and blocks. Combined with diffusion, this allows for the studio space to reach its full potential as a relaxing and inviting area for yogis of all ages and experience levels to join together and practice in a peaceful setting.

Common Uses

Perhaps the most common use of essential oils in a yoga class is through anointing students. In a yoga practice touch is believed to be a healing a powerful aspect; oftentimes teachers will come through the room while students are laying in savasana (the final resting pose) and offer temple or shoulder massages, or stretch out legs and other limbs to reach optimal relaxation. These practices are certainly enhanced through the use of essential oils to boost the restorative powers of the pose; additionally, the oils can seep into the skin to increase physical benefits, such as relief of any muscle tension that was caused throughout intense poses.

Yoga teachers, or students of yoga who are simply wanting to enhance the experience of their practice through incorporating oils, should be aware of the types of healing powers associated with various essential oil options. Read on to learn more about the physical and emotional benefits of certain oils, and create your own custom blend in order to reach your optimal experience throughout your practice!

Ginger, patchouli, and sandalwood

These smells have been known to promote grounding and centering awareness, along with cedarwood, frankincense and myrrh.

Lavender, chamomile, and geranium

These offer mild yet pleasant aromas that promote calming emotions.

Basil, coriander, rosemary and wintergreen

These have a powerful effect on sore or tense muscles; additionally, basil and rosemary (along with cardamom) open the lungs and the nasal passages for deeper breathing practices.

-Lemon and orange scents

These offer spiritual awareness and nourishment, known to open up the heart chakras to allow healing energy to pour into the body and the soul.

Mindfulness is at the core intention of any productive yoga practice, and it is good for students and teachers both to be mindful of the fact that not all essential oils affect class participants in the same manner. Those who are looking to reach maximum relaxation and spiritual clarity from their yoga practice should certainly experiment and interact with various essential oils to find which aromas offer the most effective physical and emotional responses. Whether you prefer sweeter scents or tend towards the spicier aromas, there is no doubt that the use of essential oils will allow for the most fruitful yoga experience!

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