Aromatherapy Recipes for Meditation
By Sarah Baker, CHN
There seems to be stress hidden in innumerable everyday situations. Stresses that leave us feeling frazzled, burnt out, and anxiety-ridden by the end of the day. Instead of reaching for a glass of your favorite wine or binge-eating chocolates to find calm, why not give the ancient practice of meditation a try?
Meditation has been around for centuries. It’s been used by individuals from all walks of life for countless ailments. Meditation can help bring balance back to your mind-body health, calm and organize your thoughts, redirect negative thoughts to productive solutions, and most of all help regulate stress.
For many, meditation can be a daunting task leaving us feeling even more stressed out at the prospect of “doing nothing.” How can one simply sit in silence for extended periods of time just listening to their own mind chatter?
There are numerous ways you can enhance your meditation experience but I want to focus on one in particular: essential oils. Essential oils work with our olfactory system which interacts immediately with our brain. When essential oil molecules interact with the brain through our limbic system (otherwise known as our “emotional brain”), it directly links to memory, hormone balance, stress levels, blood pressure and even heart rate. This is why inhaling certain smells brings back fond memories from childhood or can induce a feeling of nausea.
With that in mind, it makes sense that essential oils can be beneficial to use in conjunction with a meditation practice, allowing our sense of smell to put us into a deeper state of calm by mingling with receptors in our brain that may help release feel-good hormones, or that may inspire other physiological functions that can bring about feelings of Zen.
Essential Oils for Meditation
Now that we know how exactly essential oils work, let’s look at some specific blends of essential oils that can benefit your meditation practice.
- Sandalwood and Bergamot: Sandalwood helps nourish our third eye chakra which is linked to deep healing, finding clarity during stressful or confusing situations, and can help bring about feelings of joy and happiness. Bergamot essential oil acts as a very emotionally balancing oil, helping us to organize our thoughts and emotions. These two blends together help provide a nourishing journey through meditation.
- Sandalwood and Jasmine: Sandalwood provides a feeling of comfort, calmness and mental clarity. It’s a very popular herb to use in meditation and is widely found in many incense blends. Mixing sandalwood oil with jasmine creates a strong a feminine blend. Jasmine essential oil is a known mood booster, helping those who use it fend off anxiety and low energy.
- Lavender and Ylang Ylang: Lavender oil is extremely calming and acts as a natural sedative, which is perfect for a meditation session. Lavender is especially useful when you are feeling more stress than you’re used to. Ylang Ylang is a perfect oil to blend with lavender as it provides an uplifting floral scent which increases the sense of feeling grounded.
- Rosemary and Eucalyptus: Rosemary helps increase mental stimulation. If you are meditating to brainstorm solutions to a challenging time in life, or to find clarity or answers from reflecting inward, rosemary essential oil is the perfect choice for this type of meditation. Blend rosemary with eucalyptus for an invigorating morning meditation session.
- Clary Sage and Frankincense: Clary sage is known to help clear out negative energy from spaces (which is why you may already be familiar with burning sage to clear out the energy of your home). It can also help us release negative emotions we may be harboring. When blended with frankincense, clary sage can be a powerful tool for meditation. Frankincense is an ancient essential oil that is heavily tied to spiritual use and used in religious ceremonies. Just like clary sage, frankincense also contains properties that may cleanse the air and help diffuse out negative energies.
So, the next time you decide to take a pause in your day to give yourself some self-love in the form of meditation, try blending one of these five essential oil recipes to enhance the experience. Not only will it help you deepen your meditation practice, it can help you ease into the new routine of meditating by keeping your senses preoccupied and stimulated.