Find out all about the benefits of aromatherapy yoga.
Except for the smell of frankincense wafting through the air as practitioners attempt the chair pose, stepping into a class of this less explored variation of yoga appears no different from the norm.
But this new movement called aromatherapy yoga uses essential oils to enhance and inspire a positive yoga experience.
Drops of different essential oils are placed on the palm when engaging in different yoga poses, and practitioners build a “scent tent” with their hands cupped over their nose.
US yoga instructor Ed Dailey – senior global educator of Young Living Yoga, an offshoot of Young Living, which produces pure and therapeutic-grade essential and aromatherapy oils – started practising yoga after experiencing back pains from being a long-time soccer player.
When his doctor prescribed him a plethora of medication, the registered nurse turned to yoga instead.
Within three to four days, he no longer felt pain in his back.
Mr Dailey, who has been teaching yoga since 2000, went on to implement yoga therapy programmes into several US hospitals’ oncology and surgical floors, where he got bedridden patients to practise yoga.
Blood circulation was reportedly improved and pain scores significantly reduced.
Mr Dailey, a 56-year-old father of two, is in town to conduct a series of classes and workshops under Young Living Yoga Singapore.
He told The New Paper: “(The benefits of) using essential oils in yoga include accelerating and improving one’s mental and physical experience throughout and beyond the yoga session.
“For example, smelling lavender during the class can promote relaxation, yet boost stamina and energy. It is a misconception that you need to be flexible to do yoga.
“Doing aromatherapy yoga is more important as you grow older and lose strength and mobility.”
He recommends starting with 15 to 20 minutes a day, adding: “So long as you can reach up and have space to lie flat on the ground, you can do aromatherapy yoga.”
To kick off a session, controlled breathing exercises can be paired with Young Living Yoga’s Grounding Essential Oil Blend, which helps calm down those who are panicky and restless.
To bring the session to a close, use the Sacred Mountain Essential Oil – a blend of conifer essential oils including spruce, fir and cedarwood – with the resting pose.
Mr Dailey said aromatherapy yoga is especially beneficial in today’s anxiety-ridden and fast-paced society, and it can be seen as a “self-care” skill.
He said: “Every time you do it, you are putting a huge deposit in your ‘health bank’, which you can tap on when you are feeling stressed.”
A version of this story first appeared in The New Paper on September 18, 2017, with the headline, ‘Stop and smell the lavender with aromatherapy yoga’.