Fragrance, lighting, sound, and even room temperature have the power to help shape your spiritual practice. The emotions, intentions, and mental energy we bring to the practice play a vital role that cannot be overemphasized. Creating a practice ritual by tweaking the environment around us can elevate any spiritual practice—whether that practice involves yoga, journaling, meditation, or quiet reading.
Using essential oils is one of the simplest ways to set the tone of your practice and focus your thoughts on your intentions for the day. There are a few different ways to do this:
My favorite way to use essential oils involves a cool steam essential oil diffuser (like this one). These widely available devices only require a bit of water and a few drops of oil. Most models can diffuse fragrance for hours, scenting an entire room. If you don’t have a diffuser, you can boil a small pot of water and add a few drops of essential oil to the steaming water.
Alternatively, you can apply a small amount of oil to your skin as you would perfume. (This is called a “neat” application.) Just make sure that any oil that goes on your skin is safe for topical use. Lavender, Jasmine, Vanilla and Rose are a few of the delicious fragrances that can be applied directly to skin.
If an oil comes with the risk of possible skin irritation but is still generally safe for topical use, you can mix a few drops of the essential in a carrier oil (like organic coconut or argan oil). Aim for a concentration of essential oil of 5% or less in your carrier oil. (This is also how to use essential oils in massage.) With either type of application, do a small test patch and wait a few hours before applying the oil or oil blend to a larger area.
Some people have an aversion to burning sage in their home (known as smudging). The good news is that you can use essential oil sprays as an alternative or in congruence with smudging. Making a room spray with essential oil is quite simple. Fill a dark glass bottle with water and add a few drops of essential oil. Before using, shake well. Spray into the air or on skin (if using skin-safe oils).
Not into DIY? It’s okay! You can purchase a spray like the one seen in the above image from Divine Archetypes, to clear the energy in your room and auric field, heighten your vibration and ground your spiritual practice.
There are some great options to make essential oils available to you no matter where you are. VLTA is a eco-friendly jewelry company created to hold your favorite essential oils close to your heart (literally). Their gorgeous necklaces and other jewelry hold essential oils inside them. Just unscrew to make anytime application easy.
Yoga Mat Spray
Yoga is a spiritual practice and spraying the room and your yoga mat before hand, not only cleans any yuckies off your mat, but also lifts the energy and cleans the air around you, taking your practice to a whole new level. I recommend this one by Aura Cacia.
How to Choose Your Oils
A simple way to choose an oil or an oil blend is to consider what mental and emotional qualities you’d like to feel (cool and calm? Stimulated and energetic?) and select an oil that’s used to achieve the physical versions of those qualities. For example, wintergreen oil is cooling and cleansing on skin. Likewise, it’s an excellent choice for taming a fiery mind and refreshing the senses. The possibilities are endless. Here are just a few oil combinations to try:
Spark creative joy: jasmine + ylang ylang + lemongrass.
This sensual blend awakens the senses to surrounding beauty.
Clear mental clutter:
Eucalyptus + Sweet Orange + Grapefruit + Spruce
This crisp, citrus-y blend can help you feel alert and refreshed so you can focus your energy where you need to.
Ignite your fire:
Bergamot + Lemon + Rose
Inspire inner vitality and existential joy with this magical and uplifting blend.
Find inner quietude:
Clary Sage + Frankincense + Patchouli + Lavender
Ground yourself and find your center with this relaxing, meditative blend.
Have you tried using essential oils in your spiritual practice? What are your favorite blends?
Mary Hood Luttrell is the Beauty Editor at the vegan network Peaceful Dumpling where she writes articles on green and cruelty-free beauty products, news in beauty science, nutritional vegan recipes, cruelty-free and eco-friendly style, fitness, and lifestyle. She is also a writer and social media coordinator for the blog at Barbara Michelle Jacobs, an NYC-based eco-friendly jeweler, a writer at Debb Report, a site about NYC’s best beauty destinations, and a Beauty and Wellness Writer at Vilda Magazine, an online vegan fashion magazine.