Essential Oils: Introduction

“You can soak and splash in them, feed your skin, sensually smooth them all over, or simply breath in their wonderful aromas. The pleasure and versatility of aromatic oils make them one of nature’s kindest gifts. Essential oils contain the active ingredients of a plant in a highly concentrated and potent form.”

Essential Oils as described in the informative, instructional book on aromatherapy titled Complete Yoga Aromatherapy, Tai Chi and Massage by Carole McGilvery, Jimi Reed, Michele MacDonnell, Paul Tucker, Mark Evans & John Hudson.

Celebrating with Yoga

Why use Essential Oils?

Our world is a toxic place. With pollution in the air we breathe (inside & out of the home), pesticides, chemicals & hormones filling grocery store shelves (and the soil our food/water comes from), and stress often looming like a dark cloud, the desire to keep myself, and my family, healthy can be overwhelming. By learning new health information & tools for self-care I feel empowered to take a proactive approach to health & wellness.

Seeking optimal health, I use detoxification techniques regularly – including many of these 15 Simple Ways to Reduce Toxins in Your Life. While reading up on detox strategies, I kept coming across DIY recipes & tips. Making beauty, personal hygiene & cleaning products from safe, natural ingredients sounded great in theory – but I didn’t have the skills to do this. However, with encouragement from friends, combined with the desire to reduce chemicals & toxins in my life, I decided to learn more & try out essential oils.

Our bodies are magnificent machines designed to heal themselves with the right care & fuel. In seeking more proactive options I am so thankful to have added essential oils to my wellness tool belt at last!

Essential Oils

What are Essential Oils?

Essential Oils come from plants (extracted from leaves, bark, flowers, fruit, etc). They protect the plants health & can benefit us too. Essential oils are very potent and thus must be used with caution & education. However, this potency is what makes essential oils affordable & worthwhile. Some benefits of essential oils include:

  • promotes emotional, physical, & spiritual wellness
  • easy to use & quick to enter through the skin
  • stimulates immune system
  • powerful antioxidants
  • detoxifies cells & blood
  • removes toxins from the air & increases oxygen
  • eliminates odors & smells delicious

How to use Essential Oils?

There are three ways to use essential oils: aromatically, topically & internally. These uses are based on the certified therapeutic grade essential oils. Essential oil use (especially topical & internal use) is a hot topic so definitely do your research and decide what is best for you!

AROMATIC

Breathe from the bottle, drop on a tissue/cotton ball & attach to a fan or air vent, use a diffuser, drop in hot water & breathe the vapor, use as perfume/cologne, & drop or spray on pillow/sheets.

TOPICAL

Dilute as needed with carrier oil & massage body or apply to feet, wrists & behind ears, apply to reflex points, drop in bath water, DIY (face serum, body butter, lip balm, deodorant, etc).

INTERNAL

Apply under tongue, swallow in capsules, drink in water/tea, add to recipes in the kitchen (check out this recipes for lemon lavender cupcakes – delicious!)

Where to buy certified therapeutic grade essential oils?

I only use the purest & most potent essential oils that are certified to be therapeutic grade. Do your own research before putting an essential oil on your skin or in your body. Contact me for more information.

Meditation: finding peace within

It’s Tuesday. Monday was tough. Life is tough, sometimes. It is also beautiful & wonderful. There are highs & lows. So much joy. And sorrow. Everything whirls by at such a fast pace unless we intentionally slow things down. Practice mindfulness. Live in the present moment.

I am happy I made it to Yoga yesterday. I think it had been almost three weeks since I made it to class. When I’m not going I start thinking about the wasted membership money & consider quitting. I could practice at home, right? But then I go to a class & remember. Reconnecting with the yoga community and syncing my mind & body re-inspires & motives me.

meditation

Another way I slow down and find peace within is through meditation. Before I knew much about meditation, I thought it was more of an alternative lifestyle (just for hippies, right?) and that it would be difficult to learn. My mind is usually racing with endless thoughts and “clearing” it seemed impossible. But, as stress & anxiety continued to build in my adult life, I knew I had to do something to manage it. Eating well & exercising wasn’t enough to combat the negative effects of too much stress. So with guidance (my hippie mamma who grew up meditating in the 70’s) & instruction (a knowledgeable & inspirational teacher) I began meditating two years ago.

The technique I learned was simple. Meditate using a mantra for twenty minutes, twice a day. First to start the day off right (soon after waking up) & again to transition into the evening (right after work). With education & support from my teacher I felt connected & at ease with the method. To learn more about the Transcendental Meditation technique I learned watch this short clip from Good Morning America. You can also check out the official TM website for lots of information, research & videos!

I have enjoyed many benefits from regular meditation including elevated mood, increased patience with others, more frequent feelings of joy, greater ability to regulate emotions and relief from anxiety symptoms. I am excited about the continued potential for regular meditation to strengthen my relationships, increase creativity & clarity, and be a vehicle for growth & positive change.

What I love most about meditating is that it builds inner peace & the ability to contribute to a more peaceful world – the ripple effect. Thich Nhat Hanh talks about this & gives strategies for practicing mindfulness in daily life in the book Peace Is Every Step:

Practicing mindfulness in each moment of our daily lives, we can cultivate our own peace. With clarity, determination, and patience-the fruits of meditation-we can sustain a life of action and be real instruments of peace. I have seen this peace in people of various religious and cultural backgrounds who spend their time… watering the trees of love and understanding throughout the world.

There are lots of methods out there so do some research to find out what is best for you! For me, this works. As long as I practice regularly. So, this is my committment to one week of regular meditation. Scheduling in self-care & making healthy choices a priority in our daily routine is essential. A week is short enough to be realistic & long enough to re-commit myself to a practice that brings great joy & calm to my life.

oaks in the sky

Let me know what meditation techniques you love & the benefits you have found through adding a meditation practice into your life!