oil spotlight: cedarwood
Cedarwood is a favorite among essential oil users for promoting deep, restful sleep. This essential oil includes sesquiterpenes, which can deprogram wrong information in the cells and bring oxygen to the cells, helping to circumvent any recurring sleep issues and get you fast asleep! You can place one drop under the big toes before bed, or mix with lavender and diffuse while sleeping or getting ready for bed. Cedarwood can also promote healthy hair growth, and can been used in homemade conditioners (often paired with Lavender and Rosemary oils) to help reverse thinning of hair.
Cedarwood can be used for balancing the muladhara (root) chakra, which is associated with survival issues, self preservation instinct, and the fight or flight response. This oil is also associated with the svadhishthana (sacral) and manipura (solar plexus) chakras, which are the next two chakras moving up through the body, and can be used to balance these chakras and enhance a grounding yoga practice. We diffuse and apply this oil to vita flex points in my aromatherapy flow classes to aid with rooting and centering as we flow through practices sequenced specifically for grounding through these first three chakras.
Here are my top 5 uses for Cedarwood Oil:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?"
~ Marianne Williamson
oil spotlight: clarity
Clarity is my absolute FAVORITE oil for concentration! A blend of stimulating oils, including peppermint and rosemary (which have been used for many years to promote mental sharpness), it is known for promoting a clear mind and alertness. A study performed by Dr. William N. Dember of the University of Cincinnati found that inhaling peppermint oil increased the mental accuracy of students by 28 percent (!); that paired with the help of rosemary for memory retention makes Clarity the perfect blend for long days at the office, library, or lecture hall. This blend can also be used to help restore mental alertness or wakefulness when you are experiencing fatigue or drowsiness.
The scent is somewhat of an acquired taste to some (you can mix it with some extra peppermint to help if you are one of those people!), but I actually LOVE the smell as is. I have a full time job and teach yoga on the side, so I often get home in the evening drained from a full day of work at my “day job.” Clarity helps get me into the mindset I need to teach and tackle anything else I have going at the end of a busy day. I keep it in a roller bottle diluted with fractionated coconut oil. Just a little bit on my temples and the back of my neck helps to keep me focused and alert throughout my evening classes.
Clarity can be used:
Aromatically: Diffuse or inhale directly from the bottle to promote mental clarity and focus
Topically: Apply to the temples, wrists, back of the neck, or vitaflex points to promote focus and mental alertness
Here are my top 5 uses for Clarity:
oil spotlight: panaway
PanAway is one of the most loved oils among all of my yoga and fitness friends because it provides such great relief for sore muscles! It's called PanAway, but you could easily insert a letter “i,” and just think of it as “PainAway.”
PanAway is a super-popular essential oil blend used by many every day to reduce pain and inflammation associated with muscle soreness, cramps, and even chronic arthritis. It helps to reduce bruising and accelerate healing.
PanAway is comprised of these four individual oils:
Helichrysum - Provides anesthetic and analgesic properties.
Wintergreen - Supports reduction of inflammation.
Clove - Used in the dental industry for numbing.
Peppermint - Has powerful pain-blocking properties.
Here are my top 5 uses for PanAway:
"In asana practice we learn to cherish each breath, to cherish every cell in our bodies. The time we spend on the mat is love in action."
~ Rolf Gates
Usually I showcase a single oil or blend, but this week I am highlighting one my favorite combinations to diffuse for a nice balance of calm energy: Stress Away + Peppermint!
I love diffusing this when I get home in the evenings and want to relax, but still need to get stuff done. It’s the perfect combination of energizing and relaxing! Plus it smells AMAZING.
Using Stress Away + Peppermint to Enhance a Yoga Practice
I like to diffuse this combo in my aromatherapy yoga classes to relax, center, and promote focus during a manipura chackra-focused practice. Peppermint is associated with the manipura chakra, or solar plexus, which is the center of self-confidence, so it can really be beneficial when practicing poses for that chakra. And since Peppermint is super energizing and we generate heat with flow centered around the solar plexus, we balance that energy with the calming properties of Stress Away.
While Stress Away and Peppermint together can help to increase energy levels and promote calmness and focus during the practice, they also offer unique advantages on their own. Stress Away applied to the wrists or back of the neck or added to your water can reduce stress and help to center the mind while fostering balanced emotions and positive self-esteem both on and off the mat. Then a cooling Peppermint body spray helps cool off and balance the manipura chakra after some steamy vinyasas!
Everyday Uses for Stress Away + Peppermint
Stress Away and Peppermint are two of the most popular oils because they are so, so versatile. In addition to being great oils to use in yoga classes, they are both staples in my oil arsenal that I use to help alleviate headaches, ease anxiety, and even wear as a natural perfume! Plus, they are both included in the “Everyday Oils” in Young Living’s Premium Starter Kit. The “Everyday Oils” definitely live up to their name – you will find yourself using these oils every single day for a variety of reasons, whether on their own or as a combo!
Both Stress Away and Peppermint essential oils can be used aromatically (either inhaled or diffused), applied topically (remember to dilute), and ingested.*
Here are some more tips for using these oils together:
oil spotlight: ylang ylang
Ylang Ylang essential oil (Cananga odorata) is sourced from a beautiful, drooping, yellow bloom found on the cananga tree. Ylang Ylang is extremely effective in calming and bringing about a sense of relaxation. It may also help with releasing feelings of anger and assist with getting rid of negative feelings. In addition, it has a long history in skin and hair care products - particularly in Asia, where it is used to promote luxuriant hair.
Another major use for ylang ylang? Romance and love, of course! Ylang Ylang is considered an aphrodisiac and can help boost libido and spark attraction. Use ylang ylang alone or combine with orange in the diffuser, or create a sensual massage oil! For the massage oil, I recommend a ratio of 4:1, using four drops of Ylang Ylang per every one drop of Orange, then add your carrier oil of choice (I use fractionated coconut).
Top Five Uses for Ylang Ylang:
"When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others."
~ Peace Pilgrim
oil spotlight: valor
Valor. I'm not ashamed to admit that this is an oil that I hoard. There's an order limit of one per month, and you better believe I order it Every. Single. Month. Known as "chiropractor in a bottle" and "courage in a bottle," I find a few drops on my wrists calm me right down and help me tackle the task at hand when I am feeling overwhelmed. It's a a very grounding essential oil blend of spruce, rosewood and frankincense along with coconut oil.
Valor can be used directly (neat) on the skin, or if you have extremely sensitive skin, it can be diluted with a carrier oil. Valor can also be diffused.
Top 10 Ways to Use Valor:
1. Alleviate a Stiff Neck
Rub two drops of Valor directly onto your neck to help alleviate stiffness.
2. Realign Your Spine
It's called “Chiropractor in a Bottle” for a reason! Rub a few drops of Valor on the bottoms of both feet, then do the same with several drops up and down the spinal column. If applied before a chiropractor adjustment, you will hold the adjustment longer!