ESSENTIAL OILS FOR MEDITATION AND SPIRITUAL PRACTICES
For a millennium, meditation has been associated with spirituality, a way to go inward and connect with the divine. As opposed to prayer, which refers to the sacred dialogue between one and God or the Divine, meditation is a practice designed to allow one to discover insight, enlightenment, and empowerment through a state of stillness and silence while intentionally focusing on the breath. Since the traditional idea of meditation is not suitable for everyone, meditation has assumed a more abstract definition that is not always linked to spirituality and can include an array of activities that involve deep concentration and presence. In recent years, the mental and emotional health benefits of meditation have made this practice the center of the discussion on modern wellness. With the stressors and demands of modern life, more and more people are turning to meditation to achieve a sense of calm, peace, and perspective, even if only for five minutes a day.
Historically, Aromatherapy has played an intrinsic role in spiritual meditation practices. Essential Oils, aromatic herbs, and incense can be used to promote a sense of relaxation, and grounding, and even inspire a connection to spirit. Whether your motivation for meditating is to reduce stress or is a part of your religious or cultural beliefs, aromatic Essential Oils can enhance the experience and allow you to reap the mental and emotional benefits of your practice.
A BRIEF HISTORY ON THE USE OF ESSENTIAL OILS IN MEDITATION
Meditation has brought people towards their inner truth for thousands of years. It is believed to have originated in India as far back as 3,000 B.C.E and expanded its reach to a multitude of different religions and cultures. Today, meditation is practiced by religious and non-religious people alike. An array of meditation apps has launched in the last decade, tailoring different practices to target everything from soothing anxiety to promoting a good night's rest.
For as long as meditation has been recorded, aromatic essences, incense, resins, and gums have been used to accompany spiritual practices. Large amounts of incense were burned every day in the temples of ancient Egypt as an offering to the gods, while aromatic essences were used in religious and non-religious rituals in ancient Rome, Greece, Persia, India, and China. In the Bible, a multitude of aromatic botanicals are referenced in both the Old and New Testaments, many of which are distilled into the Essential Oils we use today. This includes Cinnamon, Cypress, Fir, Frankincense, Hyssop, Juniper, Myrrh, Pine, Sandalwood, and Spikenard.
WHY USE ESSENTIAL OILS IN SPIRITUAL PRACTICES SUCH AS MEDITATION?
When taking time out of your day to meditate or engage in any other spiritual practice, it is important to become intentional about the space in which you will be practicing. Depending on the purpose of the meditation, certain Essential Oils can enhance the therapeutic effects of your practice, whether you are looking to wind down prior to bedtime, ground yourself and promote focus, or ease tension during moments of stress. Since there is a strong emphasis on the breath, it is important that the space and air are clear before you close your eyes and begin. Removing any clutter and distractions is a great first step to preparing for your practice, but incorporating Essential Oils can really help set the tone for reflection and stillness that comes with meditating. Aromatherapy can also soothe the body and mind, promoting a sense of positivity, health, and wellbeing.
THE BEST ESSENTIAL OILS FOR MEDITATION AND OTHER SPIRITUAL PRACTICES
ESSENTIAL OILS FOR ENHANCING SPIRITUALITY
Sandalwood Essential Oil - Balsamic, rich, and subtly sweet, this soft oil is popular amongst aromatherapists and those who practice meditation because it is believed to enhance alertness and attentiveness. Sandalwood is also considered a deeply spiritual Essential Oil because it is believed to help center oneself, quiet the mind, and bring clarity, allowing one to receive guidance and insights.
Frankincense Essential Oil – When using Essential Oils during meditation, Frankincense is a great choice because it can potentially enhance deeper breathing, which can help one enter a more meditative state. The warmth and spicy aroma of this woody oil can help set the tone for one to get in touch with the spirit if one is looking for answers or guidance.
ESSENTIAL OILS TO PROMOTE RELAXATION
Chamomile Roman Essential Oil - Roman Chamomile Oil has been used for centuries to treat medical and emotional concerns among children and adults. Known for its soft, relaxing aroma, Chamomile Roman Essential Oil can help ease the symptoms of anxiety while promoting a calm and relaxing effect. This oil is also believed to emit sedative properties and may work as an aid to promote restful sleep for the evening, so using it for bedtime meditation is recommended.
Lavender Essential Oil - A staple in oil blends for meditation, Lavender Oil's fresh and floral scent is well known for its ability to ease symptoms of stress and anxiety. The pleasant aroma of this versatile oil makes Lavender beneficial for all types of meditation and spiritual practice. However, as a reputed sedative, it is especially effective for relaxing the mind and body prior to sleep.
ESSENTIAL OILS FOR GROUNDING AND BALANCING
Patchouli Essential Oil - Earthy and subtly fruity, Patchouli has a naturally grounding effect that can promote calmness without acting as a sedative. This oil is ideal for meditations occurring in the middle of the day when one wishes to ground themselves in the present moment, or during times of stress during school or work.
Vetiver Essential Oil - Vetiver has an exceptionally earthy and woody scent that is reminiscent of the roots of the grass. Although Vetiver is not for everyone, its strong and acquired aroma is what makes it effective as a grounding oil that can help balance emotions. Vetiver can be used alone or blended with Lavender, Chamomile Roman, Patchouli, or Sandalwood to ease mental stressors and help one recenter themselves in the present moment.
ESSENTIAL OIL BLENDS FOR MEDITATION (source: Healing Scents)
Discover these unique blends tailored to specific meditation and spiritual practices. Whether you are looking to focus on your breathing, alleviate stress, or get in touch with your journey of spirituality, these Essential Oil blends harmonize to elevate your senses, promote deep breathing, and balance your mental and emotional wellbeing. The following Essential Oils are blended with 4 oz of Carrier Oil to make it safe for topical application. However, if you do not wish to apply these blends directly to your skin, hold the Carrier Oils and add the Essential Oils to your diffuser.
The Breath Blend:
- 4 oz Carrier Oil of your choice (Coconut or Jojoba are recommended for this blend)
- 10 drops of Frankincense Essential Oil
- 5 drops of Sweet Orange Essential Oil
No More Stress Blend:
- 4 oz Carrier Oil (Coconut, Grapeseed, or Argan are recommended)
- 10 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
- 10 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil
Go Deep Blend:
- 4 oz Carrier Oil (Coconut and Jojoba are recommended)
- 10 drops of Sandalwood Essential Oil
- 5 drops Cedarwood Essential Oil
- 5 drops Lemon Essential Oil
OTHER WAYS TO ENHANCE YOUR MEDITATION PRACTICE
Since meditation has become more popular in recent years, companies have taken notice and have capitalized on meditation as a wellness trend by monetizing apps and accessories. However, meditation in its original form does not require any accessories or apps for it to be effective. In fact, meditation has evolved into a broader medium that looks different for everyone.
If your practice requires some guidance, there is an array of free meditation apps available, as well as Youtube videos that are equally as effective. If you choose to sit upright when meditating, be sure to have adequate posture and to prop yourself up if you are sitting on the floor. To alleviate any stiffness in the joints, a meditation pillow may be a worthy consideration to add some extra support to your practice.
CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR ESSENTIAL OILS
All other New Directions Aromatics Essential Oils are for external use only. They should not be ingested and should not be stored within the reach of children, in case of accidental ingestion. As with essential and carrier oils, a patch test should be conducted on the inner arm or another generally insensitive area of skin, using a dime-size amount of the specified oil to check for sensitivities. An absence of an allergic response within 48 hours suggests that the oil is safe to use.
The topical application of most carrier oils is generally known to be safe with responsible use, but irritations, allergies, rashes, and other side effects are possible. In the chance of an allergic reaction, discontinue the use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.
Essential or carrier oils must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin.
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