Take Time To Smell The Flowers
For over decades I've dabbled with essential oils. And while I know they work in ways beyond what is obvious to the nose, I have long chosen my scents mainly because I love their aroma. I reach for lavender to sooth me, peppermint to clarify, grapefruit to lift me, and (my number one staple) sandalwood to bring me back down to earth.
Most often, I simply open the bottle and enjoy a few deep sniffs. And when I am in need of some special TLC I apply a drop to my wrists before yoga practice, or on my pillow before sleep, or mix into my daily sesame oil massage.
A Traveling Oil 'Apothecary'
But this summer, I saturated myself in oils in a new way, thanks to my friend Dana Campbell. Dana is a yoga teacher, executive 'burn out' coach, and an essential oil specialist. She joined me for several programs this year as an assistant and lucky for me and my students, she's like a traveling oil 'apothecary'. Dana holds a wealth of knowledge about the distilling process and potency of essential oils after spending time at the plant farms of Young Living Oils. She generously shares her love and insight for using oils in a responsible and creative way. And she got me hooked.
For the past few months, I've experimented with a couple of new oils in my daily routine for extra support while juggling a heavy travel schedule, long book writing (and rewriting) sessions, and the responsibilities of parenting a 13-year-old. While I don't have a wide repertoire, I have found a couple of blends that are really resonating with me and have been especially useful in my 'emergency relief' bag.
Sharing The Wisdom
As I slowly build my own collection, I've asked Dana to share her wisdom with you in each weekly Yogalicious in January. In this issue, she shares her 5 favorite oils to help you begin 2017 feeling motivated and clear. Throughout the month she will continue to share scents to lift a winter mood, a recipe for dry winter skin, and how to use oils to clean and freshen up your laundry!
With a deep breath,
The Oil Guru Interview
I sat down with Dana to hear more about her own adventures discovering essential oil, what got her hooked, and her recommendations for an essential fresh start this January.
JP: How did you begin your own journey with essential Oils?
DC: I was first introduced to essential oils through yoga. The studio I practiced in cleaned the mats with tea tree and several of the teachers used lavender or chamomile during savasana. Those scents became a familiar mainstay in my practice, but they were just that, nice smells. It was years later that I really learned just how much power those little brown bottles actually contained and the variety of ways they can support overall well-being.
JP: What is the difference between essential oils and, say, the sesame oil I use in the morning before my shower?
DC: Essential oils are complex chemical compounds naturally occurring in plants, they differ from the oils you might be used to such as olive, coconut, sesame, in that they are steam distilled from the plant rather than extracted. This process makes them incredibly potent – a little goes a long way. While they might smell good, their natural healing properties (anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, grounding, uplifting, relaxing, rejuvenating) provide the true magic.
JP: I know that you visited the Young Living farm and saw how the plants are distilled. I remember how inspired you were when you came back. You talked a lot about their medicinal qualities. How do you use them differently today than, say, three years ago?
DC: Learning more about how the oils work helped me to think more broadly about their potential beyond my yoga practice. I now use them to combat sore muscles, stop headaches, support digestion, encourage sleep, minimize anxiety, and support my overall energy level. There is truly an oil for everything!
JP: Do you have any suggestions for good oils to incorporate this month as we begin a new year?
DC: Yes! Oils are a great way to clarify your mind and invigorate your energy. Since many of us find ourselves using January for some new planning and goal setting, here are five oils that might inspire and motivate you this season:
Ylang Ylang: balances energy, heightens attunement to self and focuses thoughts. It instills feelings of self-love, confidence, joy and peace.
White Fir: grounds and empowers. It stimulates the mind while encouraging the body to relax.
Jasmine: uplifts the emotions producing confidence, optimism, and energy.
Chamomile: can inspire clarity of mind. It is soothing, relaxing, calming and may help remove fears.
Spruce: grounds the body creating balance. Its empowering, anchoring and encouraging.