The ancient practice of yoga has been around for centuries but has only become popularized in the Western world for the past few decades. Most likely, if you’ve tried yoga, you were seeking relaxation or a way to eliminate some stress in your life, whether mental or physical.
Even if you only tried yoga once or twice—and no, wearing a pair of yoga pants does not count—it’s easy to acknowledge the benefits of slowing down and living in the moment. Practicing yoga forces us to slow down, to think, to reflect on not just your body but your life and the lives of others. It is a great connector in that way—knowing that so many other people, on a worldwide basis, practice yoga.
In It, Not to Win It
If you’re looking to incorporate a yoga routine in your life, aim to find a style that fits your personality. With so many varieties and styles of practices, it seems overwhelming at first. The yogic menu is vast: choose from Hatha, Vinyasa (flow yoga), Kundalini, Ashtanga, Bikram (hot yoga). There’s gentle yoga, restorative yoga, prenatal yoga…..the list goes on and on. (Consult this online guide for a helpful breakdown). Certain yoga practices are more about reaching and holding positions, while others are much more dynamic. Another consideration is the teacher’s communication style. Some instructors walk you through each position, talking much of the time. Others allow for a more meditative practice and barely say anything during a class. Some yogi use the original Indian vernacular, while others are less traditional and speak more like the coach of a sport. If you take any type of yoga classes long enough, you will start to see common threads in the messaging. Common phrases include “Listen to your body and what it’s telling you,” “Yoga is not a competition,” “No judgment, only awareness,” “Focus on your breathing,” or “Release any tension you may be feeling.” It is hard to deny the healing power of these words and the positivity that radiates from these uplifting messages.
Yoga and Lavender: A Natural Pairing
So what’s the connection between yoga and lavender, you ask? Both aromatherapy and yoga are ancient healing practices focused on physical, mental, and spiritual health. Diffusing lavender essential oil could help you to relax, feel calmer, and may therefore help you to achieve good-quality rest. Since the relaxing properties of lavender are well known, we recommend using aromatherapy next time you try a restorative pose such as child’s pose or bridge pose.
Laurel C., a yoga instructor in the Pittsburgh region, offers this considerate reminder: “When using aromatherapy in conjunction with a personal yoga practice, care should be made in a public space. Some people might be sensitive to the scent that you use, which can negatively affect another's practice. Research the scents to find the best match for your practice. Oils can have calming (lavender), warming (clove), or cooling (peppermint) qualities.”
Another way to incorporate lavender into your yoga practice is to clean with it. Essential oils are effective natural cleaning agents and you can use this quick formula either to clean your yoga mat or the floor on which you practice yoga. In a sanitized spray bottle, combine:
- One cup water to
- One cup distilled white vinegar
- 10-12 drops lavender essential oil
This non-toxic cleaner will leave you feeling good about the space where you practice yoga.
Namaste…..Six Feet Away
Our lifestyles have been put into question by the recently constant questioning of our routine behaviors. Yoga is one healthy, positive way to allow for time to live in the present. Practicing yoga somewhat counterbalances the lack of control with a focus on the body, the breath, and the clearing of your mind. Remember that it’s never a bad thing to practice self-care, and the pairing of a calm and relaxing scent with the stretching of tight muscles will guarantee to bring some peace to your day.
MEET THE AUTHOR / TINA TUMINELLA is a writer from Pittsburgh, PA who thinks of herself as an eater, talker, music-lover, mommy, francophile, and obsessive recycler. She bakes sweet things regularly, rides bikes and hikes with her family, and is a sucker for a pun. Her favorite product: Organic Lavender Cream