Yoga

Essential oils & how to use them for yoga/meditation

I have been exploring alternative medicine options for a while. Two years ago, I healed an otitis in a couple days using only essential oils. Since then I use essential oils every day for different purposes. I integrated them in my yoga and meditation practice as well. There are so many benefits, I wish I had started using them sooner.

Essential oils are basically compounds extracted from plants. Generally extracted by distillation, they are used in aromatherapy, a form of alternative medicine that employs plant extracts to support well-being and health.

Essential oils can be inhaled (vaporized, diffused) or diluted and applied on the skin (using a carrier oil or in a bath). Some (not all – be careful) can be ingested.

Aromatherapy is used to induce relaxation but also to treat health conditions such as:


Stress, anxiety
Headaches, migraines
Insomnia
Inflammation, infections
Stomach aches, indigestion, constipation
Skin conditions

Essential oils have various spiritual properties, and can be used in spiritual rituals (meditation, prayers, chakras balancing) with different purposes: grounding, cleansing/purifying, expressing gratitude, enlightenment, aiding spirituality etc. Finally, essential oils can be used daily to freshen up laundry or clean surfaces for example. Here are my favorites:

Patchouli

Probably my favorite. Very distinct smell: a mix of woody, earthy, sweet yet spicy fragrance.

Medicinal properties: Anti-inflammatory, treat skin conditions such as acne, dermatitis, eczema, anxiety, stomach ache, constipation, indigestion, fatigue, Insomnia, insecticide, antifungal, antibacterial

Spiritual properties: Stimulation of the conscious mind. Clears the environmental energies (perfect for yoga and meditation practice). One of the most effective aphrodisiacs.

Chakras: First (root) chakra: healing feelings of separation, isolation
Second (sacral) chakra: helping with impotence, feelings of uncertainty, lack of confidence
Third (solar plexus) chakra: relieving nervous tension, stress
Seventh (crown) charkra: quieting the mind

Lavender

Floral, fresh, sweet, slightly fruity fragance. This essential oil gives a feelings of relaxation and happinness.

Medicinal properties: acne, allergies, stress and anxiety, asthma, burns, cystitis, depression, headache and migraines, hypertension, insect Bites/repellent, labor pains, rheumatism, stretch marks, vertigo

Spiritual properties: relaxing body, mind, and soul. Opening to spiritual healing. Increasing awareness. Balance, harmony, and inner-peace.

Chakras: Fourth (heart) chakra: opening the heart
Seventh (crown) chakra: connection with the spirit

Frankincense

Woodsy, spicy fragrance

Medicinal properties: Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, cicatrisant, diuretic, expectorant

Spiritual properties: Emotional detox, balancing and purifying, intuition and spiritual connection

Chakra: Sixth (thrid eye) chakra: obtain spiritual wisdom.

Cedar wood

Woodsy, warm aroma that creates a relaxing and comforting atmosphere


Medicinal properties: Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, diuretic, insecticidal, antifungal


Spiritual properties: Energy purifier, toxic emotions release, spiritual growth. Increases feelings of love, protection and purpose.

Chakra: First (Root) chakra : connect our energy to the energy of the earth. Increases stability, sensuality, and survival feelings.


Tea tree: perfect to treat skin conditions, I use it daily for acne
Lemon: antiseptic, disinfectant. Add a few drops in water to clean your floors and surfaces.
Eucalyptus: purifying, cleansing, clarifying, immune-boosting
Peppermint: cold, headaches. You can try putting a few drops on a tissue for inhalation when you’re having a flu.
Ravintsara: cough, cold.
Rosemary: boost mental functions.

Oil blends for yoga and meditation

Aromatherapy can be easily used during a meditation or yoga session. Rubbing a few drops of oils onto your skin can help you relax, go inwards and enjoy the practice differently. Blending oils will positively affect your mood and your mind. Apply a few drops on your wrist or on your neck before the beginning of your practice.

Here are some examples of blends for your practice:

Lavender, cedar wood and patchouli:
Deep relaxation, reduce-stress
Perfect for meditation or a yin or hatha yoga session

Orange, lemon, grapefruit, lime
Boost your energy
Perfect for ashtanga

Rosemary, lavender
Deep focus, calms the mind
Perfect for meditation

Sweet Orange, Tea Tree, Lavender
Happiness
Perfect for meditation and all types of yoga

Lavender, Chamomile, Cedarwood
Deep relaxation
Perfect for meditation, yin yoga, savasana

BUYING ESSENTIAL OILS

Tips:

  • Avoid essential oils diluted with vegetable oil. Watch out for ‘fragrance oil” “nature identical oil”, “perfume oil” terms. You want pure, non synthetic oils. Put a drop of oil on a piece of paper, if the drop leaves an oily ring the oil is not pure.
  • Buy essential oils sold in dark glass bottles. Avoid clear glass or plastic bottles (spoils the oil)
  • Look for detailed information about the oils and background (origine, content).

Shop essential oils in The Netherlands

Doterra : https://www.doterra.com/NL/en_NL

Holland and Barrett: https://www.hollandandbarrett.com/shop/natural-beauty/aromatherapy-home/pure-essential-oils/

Yoga

30 min outdoor yoga session with me

I’ve recorded a 30 min outdoor yoga session. It’s available in English on my YouTube channel as well.

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The session was not prepared but spontaneous, I went with the flow and moved how my body felt like moving, enjoying some morning sun (sound on for birds chirping ) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I’m not a certified yoga teacher, not pretending to be. My teacher training in India is postponed due to the covid situation. But I thought.. why not sharing anyway? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Yoga has so many benefits, both for the physical and mental heath. Wellbeing is very important, especially these days. This video is about sharing a happy and relaxing moment with you, maybe invite you to move a bit with me. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Stay healthy, stay happy
Namaste 🙏🏼 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀

Yoga

Yoga for stress-relief

A 20 min gentle practice to help you release stress and tension.

Optional meditation to open the practice:

  • Sit comfortably with a straight back, from the top of your head to the back of your spine
  • Relax your shoulders
  • Rest your hands on your knees
  • Start breathing
  • Focus on your breath (breathe through the nose)
  • If your attention shifts, bring it back to your breath
  • Tip: stick your tongue on your palate, keep the connection while breathing
Yoga

Choosing your Yoga Teacher Training (YTT)

If like me you have decided to enroll in a yoga teacher training program, you might have faced the following struggles.

While scrolling the internet to organize my trip I got quite confused: with so many options out there, choosing a school and a program can be overwhelming. Where to go? How many hours to select? How much to spend? 

If you too are confused about all the options available, this post is for you. Using my own experience, I’ll try to help you. 

How many hours should you select?

YTTs available are: 

200H: the basic certificate recognized by the Yoga alliance. It is the most common YTT, which covers all the fundamental elements of both yoga anatomy and philosophy. The 200H taught can be spread over an intensive month or over a longer period of time.

300H: second level of training or “Advanced Yoga Teacher Training”, available for yogis who have already completed the 200H program. This training goes deeper in both practice (more advanced asanas) and theory (advanced anatomy and philosophy). 

500H: highest international standard for advanced yoga teachers. Your overall yoga knowledge will be deep (asanas, philosophy, anatomy). 

A lot of students will choose to spread a 500H course over two intensive trainings (200H + 300H), go abroad for some months to get certified, and spread the whole training over a couple years. Some other students will choose to enroll in evening classes, near their hometown. Some will join an intensive 500H training to get certified quicker. There is no perfect choice or length. The most important thing selecting your program is choosing a training that works best for you. 

Choosing a certified school

I recommend to select a RYS (Registered Yoga School) certified by the Yoga Alliance (https://www.yogaalliance.org/).

The Yoga Alliance is setting the standards in terms of certification, their website is listing all certified schools with an accurate description of the program they do offer. Choosing a certified school is not mandatory.

Legally you do not need a 200H RYD certificate, but many yoga studios will ask you for one. If your yoga school is not certified, you also won’t be eligible for insurance for example. Not getting certified will reduce your chances of teaching, but mostly your chances of teaching safely.  

Where to go?

India being the Mecca of yoga, many students choose to go there to complete their training. It was my first choice as well, for different reasons. First of all India is well-known for its authentic yoga philosophy and practice. Great trainings are offered by great teachers and gurus.

The most famous places for your training in India are Rishikesh and Goa. Then, YTTs offered in India are cheaper than anywhere else (USD 800 – 2000 on average). Finally, India can be a very good option if you’re looking to dive deep in yoga culture and get a very specific specialization. YTTs in India offer many specializations: Tantra, Yin, Ayurveda and so on… options are limitless.

However, if  you choose to enroll in a YTT in India there are a few things you should be aware of. India is a highly contrasted country, culture shock can be quite intense on you. Just be prepared for it. India’s living standards (food, cleanliness) are very different than European ones, so if you’re a bit “difficult” with your comfort standards, I would advise to maybe avoid this country.

Other destinations are very famous for YTTs:

Thailand is a very good option. I would recommend you to select schools on Ko Pha Ngan, a very special island where very good trainings are offered. Living standards are better than in India, and the training prices are still fair.  

Bali is probably THE dream destination to select for your teacher training. The island is magical, so spending some time over there will not only allow you to complete your training, but also to enjoy the many wonders of the destination. The only con is that YTTs in Bali are (very) expensive, overly expensive if you ask me (USD 2500-5000+). Yes you will be enjoying your stay very much, but you can probably find equally good trainings for cheaper somewhere else.

Doing a YTT in Europe is of course possible, many options are available. I chose not to attend one of those trainings because they are often more expensive than in Asia, and I also consider the experience slightly less authentic.

Nepal: A good choice if like me, you have always dreamed about the Himalayas. Going through schools reviews available online, I found out that yoga schools in Nepal are overall slightly better rated than the ones in India.  

Comparing options

I used the website below to find trainings, but also to compare the options available:

https://www.bookyogaretreats.com/

The website offers complete descriptions of the courses (workshops, retreats and YTTs), reviews, and filters to narrow down your search. 

What should you pay attention to make your choice?

First you should choose what type of yoga you like the most. Usually by the time you start thinking of doing a YTT, you already know, but not always. Again, there is no rule for that. If you are still unsure; an option could be to attend a general YTT.

I definitely recommend to do some serious research before selecting a school. Programs can vary a lot so do a background check on the school (history), teachers and the syllabus offered. Ask for an accurate description of what’s been taught and how many hours are dedicated to each part (practice of asana, theory and so on). This in order to choose something that resonates with you and your teaching goals.

Before selecting a school, I would also definitely recommend to use word of mouth. I talked to people who had been on YTTs, asking for advice and help. Always a must. 

How much does it / should it cost?

YTTs prices are on average between USD 1000 – 3000. Some schools offer 200H trainings for USD 800, but I would not recommend to select such an option. For such a low price, accommodation can be really basic and the quality of the training reduced as well.

Other schools offer very attractive yet very expensive packages: USD 5000 and more. If you can afford it, there is no problem with selecting such an option. But again, you can find equally good trainings for cheaper.  

Where will I be going?

I want to enroll in a 200H Hatha and Vinyasa program offered in India. Currently, my project is on hold.