Increasingly, we’re all trying to get back into nature, we know the health benefits of plants and herbs. I teach Yoga in a busy urban environment, and always bring some of nature’s benefits with me in the form of essential oils. I use a lovely blend of oils before class and love to hear how people breathe deeply as they come into the room and set up for practice.
Olfaction is our sense of smell. It integrates our other senses, we are transported from the gross outer senses, concerns about what other people are doing or thinking, to our own, more subtle body.
I grew up in Hove but it was only when I went to University in London and get the train back for weekends a few weekends a term that I realised the city smelt of the sea! As soon as I got out of the station I could smell the ocean, and I’d think; I am home! Of course after a few moments I would busy making plans for the weekend and find my senses dulled as my mind went elsewhere.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are made from distilled herbs, leaves, roots and flowers. They’re very potent and have been used for thousands of years. Different plants and blends have different healing qualities. Some oils have made it into the mainstream; lavender is a wonderful aroma we are all familiar with and believed to calm nervous tension helping us to relax. When you’re feeling stressed, try Bergamot, it too has a very calming, distinctive aroma and of course is easy to get hold of, in a cup of Earl Grey tea!
Smells can have powerful associations. My mother loves clove oil and growing up I quickly learned that anything that came out of her handbag smelt of cloves (which made for very spicy tissues!). To this day that one smell triggers so many memories, emotions and brings me right into the present moment.
Modern society has lost some of the wisdom of past generations and the ability to address illness with these natural solutions. Clove oil is antibacterial, can relieve toothache and feelings of nausea, a useful oil for my mother to carry with her!
How to get the most out of essential oils.
Smell your tea! I love Pukka teas, they’re so fragrant and full of organic herbs, take in the aroma (this is aromatherapy, herbs are often most beneficial this way) and smell your brew before you drink it.
Use with intention. If you’re drinking a camomile tea, or putting a few drops of lavender in your bath, these herbs relax the body. Work with the herbs and don’t run your lavender bath, or down your tea while finishing off an email.
Don’t over think it. You don’t need to go out and buy loads of oils for different moods or conditions. Just pick scents you’re drawn to, smell them and notice how you feel and how your response can vary depending on the time of day and what's going on. Read about the benefits later. Quite often the smell that appeals is just what you needed, that's intuition!
Grow your own. Lavender, mint, and basil are all easy to grow, have a beautiful fragrance that can be used safely in food, drinks and body products like soap.
Use safely. Some pure oils need to be diluted with water or a base oil to be safe to spray on the body, fabrics, atmosphere, so make sure you know how to safely use oils. If you're pregnant or have any major health concerns, do check before using oils.
Essential oils teach us how to breathe, they bring us into our body, they can be grounding and uplifting!
My Do Your OM Thing Blend has been diluted, so you can spray directly to your skin, to fragrance a room, or fabrics. It has a wonderfully fruity scent and can lift your mood. This blend is adaptogenic, which means it helps mitigate the stress response. Spray some at the start of your Yoga or mediation practice, on your pillows at night, at the start of your commute or any time when you feel particularly stressed or anxious.
A 35ml bottle is £6.50 and if you’re local to Brighton and Hove, refills are just £3.
If you'd like to join us for a very special Aroma Yoga and Live Harp workshop Sunday 25th Feb, please email me for details. Spaces are limited.
Rosie Iles-Jonas teaches public and 1:1 Yoga sessions in Hove and retreats.