Your Starter Guide to 3 Key Chakras, Yin Yoga and Essential Oils

{I’m a yoga teacher not a medical professional – as always ask your doctor before starting any exercise, stretching, wellness routine or aromatherapy program!}

Anyone who has been to one of my Saje Aromatherapy Yin yoga classes knows I like to talk about chakras… a lot.  My love affair with the chakras has been a life long one – always mystified by the mental and spiritual connections experienced by physical tension in the body (why are my hips so tight!? why does my jaw clench all the time?!) it wasn’t until I discovered Yin Yoga with friend and mentor Ashely Holly that I really experienced how essential oils can relax our minds and give us some headspace to start working through our tensions so we can look clearly at ourselves from the inside out.  This self-discovery can happen with or without these oils (or with yoga at all some might argue) but if you’ve ever wondered “Why is this lady putting this stuff on my head?” and what affect this might have on your energy centres then this is the blog post for you!

A chakra is an energy centre, usually anchored on clusters of nerve ganglia – it’s not a physical thing but rather an energy centre associated with a physical centre of the body – much like meridians in Traditional Chinese Medicine.  Depending on who you talk to about chakras you’ll get a bunch of different answers on what a charka is.  Basically it’s a connector between the physical and the energetic body. To achieve optimal energy – the practitioner aims to find balance in the chakras – not too open not too closed.  The idea is to find the “Goldilocks” (just right) state of energy.

Traditionally in meditation, incense was used to ground the mind through the senses. In my sphere of influence – I like to use essential oils in much the same way.  Smell is a powerful sense – one that we have mostly become unaware of as we don’t use it in day to day life as much as our ancestors did when seeking out food (now it’s limited to “Is this milk off?” haha).  You can use smell and scent to ground the various chakras as well.

This guide will use the Saje Aromatherapy’s Pocket Farmacy – which is a great starter kit that we use in our Saje Aromatherapy Yin classes and the core chakras that can be balanced using the kit.  Don’t use aromatherapy without consulting a physician first as there are contraindications for pregnant women as well as those with certain health conditions and allergies:

1st Chakra – Muladhara: Connected to the right to exist and the elements necessary for survival. Located at the base of the spine in the pelvis.

Pocket Farmacy Blend – Peppermint Halo:  This oil blend contains Vetvier which is used to ground all the chakras (or energy centres in the body). It’s the base or ground in which that all of your energies stand on! Grounding is always easiest when you can get out of your mind and into your body – soak in the smell and focus your attention there. Use it along your hairline or at the temples – keep it away from your eyes!

Yin Yoga Pose: Toe stretch.  Balancing your feet that are the base connector for your body to the earth.

3rd Chakra – Manipura: Connected to the elements of the will. Located in the solar plexus, navel. Linked to digestion as it transforms the physical (food) into the energetic (energy).

Pocket Farmacy Blend – Eater’s Digest: The eater’s digest blend contains mint oils helping to ease digestion. Mint is one of those “just right oils” – as it’s both cooling and warming. It stimulates the flow of prana or chi in the body and is said to enhance positive self image (who doesn’t feel great when they’re minty fresh?).  Use it on your belly (not in it!) rolling from the top of your ribs on the left drawing a square without a lid down to the navel line, across the belly button and straight up to the right rib.

Yin Yoga Pose: Twisted Roots.  Supine or reclined twists are well documented as digestion move along-ers and manipura stimulators.

4th Chakra – Anahata:  Connected to the elements of love, compassion, grief and sadness. Located in the heart / chest centre it’s connected most often in the west to relationships.

Pocket Farmacy Blend – Immune:  This little guy contains Rosemary.  Rosemary is typically associated with Ajna (6th chakra) but it’s also relevant for the Heart Centre as it’s said to promote spiritual understanding – enhancing the connection of one’s self to all of that around it. Use it by rolling from the inner wrist through the shoulder across the chest and down the other side.  Connecting the left energies (yin) and right energies (yang) of the body to find connectedness and balance when opposites connect.

Yin Yoga Pose – Supported Fish: Opening the heart centre by providing a propped backbone with a bolster, supported fish always reminds us that the earth has our back so we can open our hearts!

As with any yoga practice, bells and whistles aren’t necessary – just a body and breath. Sometimes we can use the tools provided by aromatherapy to set our mind to a more receptive state allowing us to ground it in an experience or happening – be it aromatherapy oils, a sound, or a physical experience.  If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out!  What has your experience been with aromatherapy and yoga?