Aromatherapy massage oils an integral part of Yoga
Aromatherapy was practiced in all the old civilizations, including India, where this concept is more than 6,000 years old. In ancient India it was a common practice to use fragrant essential oils from flowers and plants to purify the air.
Aromatherapy is effective not only for treating depression, anxiety or stress, it also provides relief in cases of digestive problems, gynecological disorders, and even rheumatic or muscular pains.
Our sense of smell is a powerful tool, which works simultaneously on a conscious and subconscious level. Our olfactory nerves transport the sense of smell to that part of the brain which deals with emotions and moods, and even with memory.
The different essential oils, such as lavender or jasmine, each contain more than a hundred diverse chemical components, which have a distinct effect on a person. So, while some oils can stimulate, others relax the mind, while yet another may reduce pain.
Yoga is a series of asanas (physical postures) and breathing exercises, which open the clogged pores of the body and mind, releasing negative energies and replenishing them with positive energy. With the cleansing of the mind, the sense of touch, sight, hearing, and smell become more acute.
As can be seen both aromatherapy and yoga are powerful tools for reducing stress and invigorating the body and mind. The two have been combined from earlier days when incense was burned while performing asanas. Sandalwood has always been the most popular aroma, followed by myrrh, vetiver, cedarwood, and frankincense.
Many practitioners also dab a drop of essential oil on their pressure points, and inhale deeply, before beginning their asanas. This is said to open up the mental and physical powers, and increase concentration and performance. (Care must be taken however, to dilute the oil, as essential oils can be too strong and even cause a burning sensation, if used in the purest form.)
Aromatherapy was also an integral part of yogic and ayurvedic massage, since yoga, too has a positive effect on healthy skin. A few drops of essential oils, diluted with creams, lotions or other base oils and massaged into the skin makes it strong, resilient and supple. Jojoba and neem are particularly effective.
According to some experts, there are seven essential oils, each of which work to open its particular related charka. According to others, each person, has his/her own blend of aromatic oil, which will give maximum benefit.