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:
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:
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: 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!
Usually I showcase a single oil or blend, but this week I am highlighting one my favorite combinations to diffuse: Lemon + Peppermint!
I love diffusing this in the mornings, or when I'm cleaning and organizing the apartment. It’s the perfect combination of motivation and clean house smell!
Using Lemon + Peppermint to Enhance a Yoga Practice
I will diffuse this combo in my yoga classes as well as offering topical application to energize my students and enhance a flow focused on detoxing and balancing the manipura chakra. Both lemon and peppermint are associated with the manipura chakra, or solar plexus, which is the center of self-confidence. While lemon and peppermint can both help to increase energy levels and promote focus during the practice, they also offer unique advantages on their own.
A drop of lemon applied to vita flex points or added to your water (remember to use glass when adding citrus oils to water!) helps to stimulate and cleanse the digestive system. Paired with cleansing twists and solar plexus balancing poses, lemon can help foster a balanced digestive system, balanced emotions, and positive self-esteem.
Then a cooling peppermint body spray helps cool off and balance the manipura chakra after some steamy vinyasas!
Everyday Uses for Lemon + Peppermint
Lemon 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, stomachaches, allergies, and as a detox aid when I am cleansing. Plus, they are both included in the “Everyday Oils” in Young Living’s Premium Starter Kit. The “Everyday Oils” definitely live up to their moniker – you will find yourself using these oils every single day for a variety of reasons, whether on their own or as a combo!
Both lemon 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: geranium
I'll admit that when I first got Geranium oil, I wasn't the biggest fan. In the bottle, it smelled super strong and overly floral, but when you use just a few drops in the diffuser, or mix it with citrus oils like Citrus Fresh or Jade Lemon, the scent is absolutely heavenly!
Geranium is one of the essential oils associated with the fifth chakra, or vissudha (throat) chakra, which is the center of communication. When the throat chakra is blocked, people may have a difficult time expressing themselves and speaking up for themselves (or others!).
I like to diffuse this in my aromatherapy flow classes as we practice poses to balance the vissudha chakra such as uttana shishosana (extended puppy pose), sarvangasana (shoulder stand), halasana (plow), and matsyasana (fish pose) to release throat chakra blockages and foster open and honest communication.
See below for other ways to use this lovely essential oil!
Top 5 uses for Geranium Oil:
Add a few drops to your nighttime moisturizer to help with dry skin and acne.
Dilute with a carrier and apply to help alleviate cradle cap.
Diffuse to purify the air, aid in stress relief, and foster a peaceful environment.
Mix with a coconut oil and apply as an after shave moisturizer.
Apply neat or with a carrier oil to help minimize the appearance of scars.
Oil spotlight: tea tree
Melaleuca Alternifolia, better known as Tea Tree Oil, is an amazing oil to have around the house. It is gentle enough that it can be applied directly to the skin, but powerful enough to help with some not-so-nice stuff:
Soothe discomfort from rashes and bug bites.
Mix with apple cider vinegar to help combat mold in and around the house. (Keep some in a spray bottle for bath tile/grout.)
Add a couple drops to 1/4 cup of white vinegar to freshen laundry.
Apply 1 drop directly to acne blemishes (this works wonders for me!).
Diffuse to cleanse the air and help relieve asthma and congestion.
Place 1 drop on a tick to unlatch (can be used on humans and pets).
Apply to feet to help alleviate toenail fungus and Athlete’s foot.
Apply 1 drop to cuts and scrapes to facilitate healing.
Massage around the outside of the ear to help relieve earaches.
Apply 2x daily to fingernails and toenails to help them repair and regain a healthy look after being damaged by harsh polishes or fake nails.
In addition to all of these everyday uses, Melaleuca can be used in your yoga practice to balance the fifth chakra, known as the throat or Vissudha chakra. This chakra is the center of communication, and when it is blocked it can be difficult to maintain clear and honest lines of communication or to speak up for yourself (or others!).
Diffuse tea trea to cleanse and purify the air as you practice poses with Jalandhara Bandha (the throat lock) and throat-opening poses such as puppy and fish pose to release blockages and allow truth to flow through the Vissudha chakra.
oil SPOTLIGHT: orange
While I love all of the citrus essential oils (they are SO awesome for everything from detoxing to cleaning house!), orange has to be my favorite. In addition to smelling delicious in a diffuser and helping to stave off anxiety, orange essential oil can be used to open and balance the second chakra, or Sacral Chakra, which (not so coincidentally) is represented by the color orange.
We diffuse and apply orange essential oil to vitaflex points in my aromatherapy flow classes while we practice poses to balance the Sacral Chakra such as Natarajasana, Trikonasana, and a variety of hip opening poses. Orange has an uplifting scent to help keep us energized and positive as we flow through the practice!
Another favorite way to use this oil is to add a drop to a glass of fizzy water. Adding a drop or two of any citrus essential oil to water is a refreshing treat, and it helps me to keep up my water intake! Remember to always use a glass or metal water bottle when adding citrus EOs to your water.
Orange is a great oil to keep around the kitchen, whether to add to your water, a poultry dish, or to add a little extra flavor to your favorite guacamole!
oil SPOTLIGHT: frankincense
Frankincense . . . one of the most hoard-worthy of all essential oils! Frankincense is historically revered for its meditative qualities, which have been utilized by various religious and medical practitioners for centuries.
Considered a holy oil in the Middle East, Frankincense is commonly used in holy incense and is widely thought to help improve communication with the divine. Its ability to help increase spiritual awareness can allow yoga practitioners to achieve a deeper meditation and physical yoga practice.
Both grounding and meditative, frankincense essential oil is used to balance the root and crown chakras. It can be diffused or applied to vitaflex points to enhance an asana or meditation practice. We diffuse and apply frankincense during my aromatherapy yoga classes to take our practice deeper, pairing it with grounding poses that will allow us to reconnect with our roots and inversions to stimulate the crown chakra and promote higher awareness.
In addition to being a great tool to enhance yoga and meditation practices, frankincense is AMAZING for the skin. It can be applied directly onto the skin after mixing it in your palm with a little carrier oil (great for applying to scars, stretch marks, and dark spots), or added into a homemade face cream/serum. Here's one of my favorite combos:
Frankincense Essential Oil DIY
Nighttime Facial Moisturizer with Frankincense
In a 2 oz. dropper bottle, combine:
Shake gently. Store in a cool, dry place. Apply nightly before bed to moisturize and help to reduce fine lines and blemishes!
oil SPOTLIGHT: lemon
Lemon! Where do I even start with this AMAZING oil? It can be used for everything from cooking and cleaning to emotional and physical balance! Emotionally and spiritually, lemon essential oil can help promote focus and clarity. Its uplifting scent awakens the senses and clears the mind of distractions, helping to focus the mind on the task at hand. It can also be helpful to overcome confusion or doubt, fatigue, and lack of enthusiasm.
Lemon is so very versatile, and it’s one of the popular oils in Young Living’s Premium Starter Kit. In fact, it's one of the three oils I consistently reorder because I use it so much (right up there with lavender and peppermint!). So many uses throughout the entire house; I never thought I would be brightening my complexion with the very same thing I use to de-grease my stove-top. This is some powerful stuff, yet 100% natural and gentle enough to use on my skin!
Here are some of the many ways it can be used:
For the mind:
Increase brain function and stimulate neurons by diffusing lemon essential oil for study or testing.
Inhale lemon essential oil or place a few drops on a cotton ball to rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit.
Place a drop in your hands to inhale, rub a drop into long or short hair, or diffuse through the room during times of anxiety.
For the body:
Place a drop of lemon essential oil on oily skin or blemishes to help balance oil glands and minimize oil production.
Soothe corns, calluses, or bunions by rubbing lemon essential oil on the affected area morning and evening.
Add several drops of lemon essential oil to a chicken marinade for a delicious dinner.
For a natural hand sanitizer, rub a drop on your hands.
Apply a drop of lemon oil to the tongue to freshen breath.
Add lemon essential oil to a cup of water in the morning for a detoxifying and pH balancing drink.
Add to water or a smoothie for a refreshing pick-me-up.
Lemon is also one of the essential oils that make up what’s commonly called the Weight Loss/Detox Trio. The combination of Lemon, Peppermint and Citrus Fresh/Grapefruit together can help to suppress appetite and rid the body of toxins.
In the home:
Combine 2–3 drops of lemon essential oil with water in a spray bottle to help cleanse and sanitize surfaces.
Add 10–15 drops of lemon essential oil to a gallon of natural carpet cleaning solution to help pull out stains, brighten carpet and rugs, and leave a fresh smell in the room.
Add 10-15 drops to water and use as a stain remover for laundry.
Use 1–2 drops to remove gum, oil, grease spots, glue or adhesive, and crayon from most surfaces.
Place a few drops of lemon essential oil on a cotton ball and put in the refrigerator or garbage can to help eliminate odors.
To clean and increase the shelf life of fresh fruits and vegetables, fill a bowl with cool water and 2-3 drops of lemon essential oil. Place produce in water, stir around so all surfaces come in contact with the lemon.
Soak dish clothes in a bowl of water with 1-2 drops of lemon essential oil overnight to kill germs.
For a natural furniture polish, add several drops to a half cup of olive oil or beeswax.
In your yoga practice:
Add a drop of lemon to vitaflex points such as the thumbs or big toes, or diffuse to boost energy and promote focus during the practice.
Lemon can also aid in balancing the Manipura Chakra, the third chakra located in the solar plexus which is the center of self-confidence, by helping to stimulate and cleanse the digestive system. I diffuse this one in my yoga classes when focusing on solar plexus balancing poses to foster balanced emotions and positive self-esteem.