With so many distractions nowadays, even the experienced meditation lovers can sometimes find it hard to relax and focus. Appropriate use of essential oils during meditation or yoga can make relaxation easier and can help to expel unwanted emotions or thoughts. Base note oils that are extracted from trees or grassy roots are most often used for grounding and are known as ‘Root Chakra’ oils. Some of these essential oils also contain a high percentage of chemicals that are known to have a tranquilising effect on the brain. They act as natural sedatives and mood enhancers.
Sandalwood (Santalum album) essential oil is medicinally the most valuable of all the sandalwoods. The wood of this tree was traditionally burned as an incense in Hindu and Buddhist temples. It is still used to anoint the dead in middle eastern culture, as it is believed that it assists the soul on its journey into the afterlife. It has a calming effect on the nervous system and is one of the most grounding of all essences. Sandalwood helps clarification and encourages the mind, body and spirit to unify as one.
Frankincense is possibly the most important incense ingredient ever used in sacred rituals. It is believed that frankincense helps strengthen our faith and rekindles our connection to spirit. It releases stressful sluggish energy in the body. It diminishes worrying and distracting thoughts while calming and focusing the mind. Boswellia Carterii is the most popular variety of frankincense used in modern day aromatherapy.
Cedarwood Atlas (Cedrus atlantica). Cedar trees contain a high proportion of essential oils. They ooze a fragrant balsam that most humans love and relish, but insects are repelled by it. It is believed that this was the main reason why King Solomon used the wood of the Lebanon cedar (Cedrus libani) to build the interior walls of the temple he built to God. Solomon also used mostly cedarwood in the building of his royal palace. It became a symbol of abundance and spiritual resilience. Cedarwood is a natural sedative for the nervous system and is effectively used for improving concentration levels.
Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides) for me is the most tranquil and grounding essential oil in my kit. It’s a rich nurturing oil that stills an overactive mind and supports during times of self-doubt. While vetiver is quite sedating, it also uplifts the spirit, re-connecting us to our true self. It assists us in absorbing the strong comforting energy of Mother Earth.
Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) calms an over-active mind. Patchouli was a huge trend in the 60’s because of its relaxing and aphrodisiac properties. It was popular for its ability to replace sexual insecurities with more creative sensual ones. It was most often used as an expression of open mindedness and the freedom to demonstrate individuality. For some hippies, the earthy natural scent of patchouli symbolized that this was a new generation of free spirited individuals. A society with a carefree attitude towards the rules of life.
Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens). The ancient Greeks and Romans associated the cypress tree with death and eternity. The Greeks dedicated it to Pluto, God of the underworld, believing it to be the first tree that the dead would see in the after-life. Cypress trees were planted near graves as they were believed to protect the immortal souls from evil. They are still planted in graveyards in many parts of the world as a symbol of grief and mourning. In astrology, Pluto is a symbol of psychological transformation and represents the influences of the subconscious mind. Cypress signifies renewal and rebirth, endings and new beginnings. Renounce the past to embrace the new. It dispels feelings of regret or anguish, restores optimism and encourages spiritual regrowth especially during times of mourning.
Inhalation is the safest and fastest way of administering the oils into your system. Some of the oils listed here are quite thick and can create a sticky mess in your candle burner or block your diffuser – so be sure to keep them clean. Use individually for enhancing your meditation or yoga practice as they don’t blend well together. But they do blend well with floral and citrus oils. They can be fairly powerful so use just two or three drops to begin with. Enjoy!