Aroma Shala Yoga combines aromatherapy and yoga for better health!
The art of using essential oils to heal is known as aromatherapy. Plants, trees, roots and flowers have been used by animals and humans as medicine since the beginning. Only comparatively recently, in the last few thousand years, more concentrated doses of essential oils have provided the powerful medicinal doses used in the aromatherapy we know today.
These botannical extracts stimulate our sense of smell and effectively pass the blood-brain barrier, reaching the limbic system which governs our hormones and emotions. This explains why smell is so evocative and stimulates our memories, moods and feelings. If diluted and applied to the skin the oils pass through the pores directly into the blood stream. The oils have active therapeutic properties, some are calming and sedating (chamomile, lavender), or anti-viral, ant-microbial and anti-bacterial (tea tree, ravintsara) , others are physical and mental wound healers (yarrow, rose). There are also myriad healing combinations in synergistic blends of oils.
Yoga is also an ancient healing practise dating back to texts 5,000 years old, yoga means to yoke or union of one’s highest self to the ‘Source’ or divine. Modern yoga has leant towards the physical asana practise to strengthen and tone the body but there are eight limbs to yoga as stated in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali:
Yama (restraints), niyama (observances), asana (posture), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (concentration), dyana (meditation), samadhi (pure contemplation, absorption). There are different forms of yoga from the more invigorating practises of asthanga, hatha and vinyasa, calming yin, restorative and therapeutic yoga medicine.
My aromatherapy practise involves physical and energetic healing and yoga is my physical, mental and spiritual practise. I could not get through my working day without yoga and need a sympathetic routine to maintain my fitness, stamina and to reconnect me to me. My daily self care practise or ‘sadhana’ is a combination of both aromatherapy and yoga. So I decided to share this with my students in the form of Aroma Shala Yoga.
What is Aroma Shala Yoga?
Aroma – the healing art of aromatherapy and Shala – Sanskrit for home or abode. A balance of asana practise, either vinyasa style or restorative depending on the dharma (purpose) of the class. The focus is often on going deeper within the physical form to balance the energy systems and subtle bodies*.
I use essential oils to mentally uplift and heighten the senses and then mantra (sound in the form of chanting) and Tibetan singing bowls or chimes to release blockages in the energy systems through vibration.
*According to The Bhagavad Gita (an ancient philosophical text), the subtle body is a combination of mind, intellect and ego which controls the physical. In yogic and Hindu philosophy an individual comprises three bodies; the karuna sharira (causal body), sukshuma sharira (subtle body) and karya sharira (gross body). The subtle body is considered to be the various energetic layers that make up a human being beyond physicality.
Aromatherapy and yoga for better health
I like to use essential oils can be used to cleanse the spaces (and air) I work in, especially if there have been many people coming in and out of the studio or gym. I want my students to walk into the space and feel that they can completely switch off from what has been in their day and from what is to come, so there is a mindful intention in aroma yoga. See my Aroma Yoga Meditation Guide for more information.
Aromatherapy can also be used to enhance the practice of yoga by applying a drop of essential oil to a cotton pad or ball and held between the hands in a pranayama (controlled breathing) practise. The oils can also be used in meditation, usually in a diffuser and to create a story in a guided relaxation. With prior consent I often finish a class with a mini head massage.
What oils should I use?
It really depends on you, what oils do you like the smell of and what intention you have set for your yoga practise? There are some oils that resonate with the seasons or the Chakras, see Autumn Aroma Yoga with Chakra Balancing Oils and some that help to boost your immune system which we are all very conscious of at the moment.
Aroma Shala Yoga reviews
I really am so very grateful for your wonderful classes they have made such a difference for me not only in the way I move and feel but in my general outlook and wellbeing too. Thank you!
I so enjoyed class today, I positively floated home. Such a treat
I am so delighted that I met you and that I am able to access your incredible scents, smells and blends. Thank you once again.”
A note a deep appreciation for your teachings today, you are an incredible kind, resourceful and your passion and deep knowledge was to apparent and all inspiring. Thank you for today, I will always treasure today and your classes.
Jenny is a member of The International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists and Yoga Alliance Professionals. To find out more about Jenny and her aromatherapy clinic, yoga classes and workshops CONTACT
Watch this space for online aroma shala yoga classes and workshops! Soon to be added to my website.
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The Bhagavad Gita – Eknath Easwaran
The Yoga Sutras – Patanjali