5 Essential Oils to Use in Your Yoga Practice

So much of my life these days has gone online--and that includes, of course, my yoga practice. I love essential oils for a lot of reasons, but I’m especially thankful for how they help me during yoga (even if I can’t get to a class anymore).

Here are five ways to use essential oils in your yoga practice:

1. To Wake Up--Tangerine & Lemongrass

Whether you’re welcoming the sun with a few morning stretches or going all out on a sixty-minute flow, I love citrus oils like tangerine and lemongrass first thing in the morning. They’re like sunshine!

You can also use oils like peppermint or wintergreen to snap your brain into the “on” position. I’ve also heard of a yoga teacher using frankincense + black pepper to create a waking yet spiritually grounding experience.

Photo by Anshu A

2. To Surrender--Sacred Frankincense

Frankincense is truly one of the most powerful essential oils there is, and if you’re hoping to find more surrender and peace in your daily yoga practice, it’s a beautiful option. The spicy, warming oil is a wisdom scent and can help you stop fighting the change in your life and embrace it.

You can combine lavender with frankincense, or you can reach for clary sage or vetiver if you don’t have frankincense.

3. To Open Your Heart--Geranium & Rose

The flora aromas of geranium and rose will take you straight to a beautiful summer garden, but rose is also a heart oil that can help you open your heart while you practice yoga.

While you enjoy these oils, meditate on abundance in the natural world--how each flower blooms with all its might and in doing so, brings joy to the world.

4. To Focus--Bergamot

It doesn’t usually take too long into a yoga flow for my body to take over and my mind to (finally) chill out, but sometimes my brain needs extra help! Bergamot is one of my favorite oils for this. It’s a complex citrusy, woodsy scent that also has some floral hints and is great for concentrating and focusing.

Bergamot also pairs well with surrender oils like frankincense, calming oils like lavender, and grounding, woodsy oils like fir or cedar.

5. For Grounding & Centering--Cedar & Patchouli

Don’t you just love the grounded feeling you experience after a great yoga flow? I feel like this essential oil combination just takes things up a step or two (and helps me remember to breathe!).

Cedar is so woodsy and delightful, and patchouli is spiritual and sensuous. Other great oils for grounding and centering are palo santo and sandalwood.

How to Use Essential Oils During Your Yoga Practice

You can diffuse oils or--like your favorite yoga teacher might have done--place a few drops of oil on a cotton pad at the top of your mat. I especially love lighting a candle made with essential oils for a truly beautiful, spa-worthy experience.

Another great option is to dilute your essential oil with a carrier oil (coconut oil is cooling and great for sensitive skin, and sesame oil is warming and great for winter, but even olive oil will work in a pinch!). Apply them to the inside of your wrists or the back of your neck during or at the end of your flow and breathe deep.


Sarah Guerrero
Sarah Guerrero is a freelance writer and contributor to Slow North. She has a degree in international business from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, and writes about sustainable business practices and ethical living.