Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times
As an aromatherapist and yoga therapist, I would like to share with you some simple ideas and practices to help you move more gracefully and confidently through these interesting and unusual times.
Recognize that the idea that things are supposed to be a certain way is only in your mind. Yoga and mindfulness practices such as meditation remind us of our connectedness to everyone and everything. Breathe deeply. Relax. Allow yourself to feel. Become open to exploring new ideas and new ways of being. Choose where your awareness lies in each moment. Take an online yoga class to support you on your journey. Practicing yoga at home allows for new levels of ease and comfort. There is no commute and plenty of privacy. You may even find that you have the ability to look inward a little more deeply than you might in a crowded yoga studio.
If you’re feeling depressed, frightened, or anxious, sit down and close your eyes. Take a few deep, easy, elongated breaths-- in through the nose, and out through the mouth. Straighten your spine and take a few more. Add a drop or two of a calming essential oil to your palms and cup your hands over your nose as you breathe. Try lavender, cedarwood, clary sage, lemon, ylang ylang, neroli, or vetiver.
If you have access to nature, get out there! If you don't, you can bring nature into your home with a calming and grounding blend of essential oils that come from trees! Studies show that breathing the phytochemicals emitted by trees:
· Reduces stress
· Boosts the immune system
· Reduces pain perception
· Allows for better concentration, even in children with ADHD
· Produces feelings of well-being
· Increases energy
· Improves sleep
· Improves mood
Emotional resilience is so important during times of crisis. One could say that we are experiencing a global societal trauma as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Everyone will feel this to varying degrees, but we can all benefit from enhanced self-care as we make our way through it. Frankincense, sandalwood, valerian, helichrysum, and geranium essential oils are known for their stabilizing properties at the emotional level. Keep an aromatherapy diffuser running in your home with one or more of these oils. Have fun making your own blends!
If you’re spending more time than ever staring a screen (computer, tablet, cell phone, or television) try adding a drop of chamomile essential oil to a teaspoon of aloe gel and gently pressing on the skin around the eyes with a cool, damp cloth.
You may find that you have more time on your hands. Take advantage of it. When was the last time you took an aromatic bath by candlelight? Remember that essential oils are not water-soluble. They are highly concentrated plant compounds, and sometimes less is more! When making an aroma bath, always dilute essential oils in a carrier such as almond oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil or argan oil. Mix 5-20 drops of essential oil in 1 tablespoon of carrier. Pour it in your bath and swish it around to make sure it distributes evenly in the water. Another option is to add 5-10 drops of essential oil to 1 cup of Epsom salt. Dissolve ½ cup of the mixture in bathwater before bathing. Save the other half for next time!
Relaxing Aromatic Bath Recipes:
Lullaby: Lavender (5 drops), German or Roman Chamomile (4 drops), Cedarwood (4 drops), Orange or Lemon (4 drops)
Grounding: Sandalwood (8 drops), Geranium (4 drops), Lavender (4 drops), Vetiver (3 drops)
Soothing Waters: Cedarwood (4 drops), Orange or Tangerine (4 drops), Frankincense (3 drops), Neroli (2 drops)
As you make your way through the days, weeks, and months ahead, remember that although nothing like this has happened in our lifetime, it has happened in human history. The ancient wisdom of aromatherapy, a 6000-year-old practice, and yoga (5000 years) have stood the test of time. Go ahead, give them a try!
Jessica Lohrey is the staff Aromatherapist and Certified Yoga Therapist at Tree of India in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Check out Tree of India's aromatherapy collection and online donation-based yoga offerings, Yoga for Precarious Times at www.treeofindia.com.
This information is for educational purposes only. It has not been evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any condition or disease and should not take the place of evaluation by a qualified health professional.