“We embody all the elements: earth, air, fire, water, space. Through this we are the living embodiment of all of existence.” – Anne Van de Water, Yoga Instructor.
Giselle Mari is one of a growing number of yoga teachers who are beginning to use essential oils as an integral part of their yoga classes. “Essential oils can heighten the experience of yoga,” she said at Yoga Journals’s SF conference in January 2013. “Scent that stimulates each element is a way to take an esoteric concept and bridge to reality. Aromas help put things in focus and provides a way to tap into our joyful, appreciative spirit.”
The combination of yoga and essential oils helps us explore the five elements physically, mentally, and spiritually, reconnecting us to a deep, intuitive awareness of nature — our very being. Van de Water and Mari know this well. While practicing asanas that focus on specific chakras or elements, they diffuse the aroma that helps to balance that element into the air. Concurrently, they set clear intentions by talking about or meditating on the element. For example, when they focus on asanas connected to the Earth element and the first Chakra, they diffuse the essential oil of cedarwood or vetiver. These oils help balance the earth energy within us. In addition, they meditate on earth-based wisdom and earth-based living to help set clear intentions and ground us in earth energy.
In this video interview, Anne gives examples of how she connects yoga with the elements, chakras, and essential oils.
Everything in nature is made up of five basic elements: earth, water, fire, air, and space. All yoga practices incorporate these five elements, whether we know it or not. Knowledge of the elements (tattwas) is the basis of Ayurveda, traditional Indian medicine. Ancient yogis observed the deep peace and balance inherent in nature and developed yoga to enhance people’s connection to the natural elements within ourselves.
When I discovered essential oils, the essence of the plants’ nature, it triggered a sort of ancient memory of my connection with nature. Our sense of smell can detect over 10,000 different scents. Beyond detecting odors, it provides “the quickest and easiest pathway to the brain,” says Debra Riordan, clinical Ayurvedic specialist and part-time faculty member at the California College of Ayurveda. Like yoga, essential oils can awaken our connection to nature and the elements and help us embody our own true nature.
By fully connecting to the elements in our bodies and in our lives through the combination of essential oils and yoga, we can connect to the immense power, peace, and truth within us. This connection provides numerous physical and emotional benefits including reduced blood pressure , stress reduction, improved self-esteem, and increased feelings of well-being  .
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