Meditation is a gift we can give ourselves every day. Simply carving out even 5 minutes to become still and go within will have profound benefits for our health and wellbeing. Adding essential oils in your mediation practice is a way to powerfully enhance the experience of mediating, as well as to build a ritual around the practice.
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years as a way to attain spiritual enlightenment. With its roots in India, first documented as early as 5000BC, meditation has been utilised in many spiritual traditions and religions. Daoism, Buddhism, Kabbalah, Sufism – the list goes on.
These days, the practice of meditation has moved beyond the purely spiritual realm. The benefits of this ancient pastime are now recognised globally and scientifically backed, with everyone from CEOs and high powered executives to stay at home moms experiencing the profound benefits of meditative stillness.
Although there are many methods out there, is no “right” or “wrong” way to meditate. Whether you are meditating with an app such as Calm, Headspace or Insight Timer, following the principles of Vipassana, Transcendental Meditation (TM), Mindfulness Meditation or simply just sitting in silence and doing your own thing, you will experience at least some, if not all of the benefits that meditation has to offer.
1. Reduces Stress
Meditation naturally lowers our cortisol levels by activating our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). Cortisol is our ‘fight or flight’ hormone, yet is chronically high for many individuals, leading to the stress epidemic of our modern world.
By activating the PNS through mediation, our body naturally moves into a state of ‘rest and digest’, lowering stress levels in both the short term and long term with continued practice.
2. Improves Concentration
Most methods of mediation involve some form of single pointed focus in order to move into a meditative state. This is referred to as Dharana in the Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga. The point of focus could be a symbol, a sound, a mantra, a sensation in the body or a visualization.
Achieving this single pointed focus in mediation is what will help still the mind during the practice, yet it is a skill that we carry through with us in our every day lives, both and off the cushion. Studies have shown that even just a few weeks of consistent mediation practice can greatly concentration levels and lower our susceptibility to distractions.
3. Controls Anxiety
Meditation reduces anxiety levels in the same way it lowers stress. However, although somewhat related, stress and anxiety are not exactly the same thing. And whereas stress is usually situational, anxiety manifests as a variety of disorders.
Phobias, social anxiety, paranoid thoughts, obsessive-compulsive behaviours and panic attacks are all forms of anxiety. Calming the mind through meditative techniques has been shown to reduce anxiety levels in individuals suffering from both low level and chronic anxiety issues.
4. Improves Sleep
We know by now that sleep is a superpower to function better in your every day, but it’s not so easy for everyone to get enough necessary shut eye. Studies have shown that mediation may result in a more restful sleep, as well as reduce insomnia.
Mediation in general will help with the ‘monkey mind’ that often accompanies insomnia, allowing us to fall asleep faster. Meditating before bed is also an incredible way to relax the body, calm the mind and release the tensions of the day, setting the scene for better sleep.
5. Increases Kindness Levels
People will always tell you that meditating will make you a better person, and now science backs this up too! Metta, also known as loving kindness mediation, is a style of meditating where the point of focus is feelings of compassion and love towards both yourself and others.
Studies have shown that meditating in this way increases compassion, reduces anger and promotes positive thinking in individuals. What a beautiful benefit to add to the long list of the magic of meditation.
Aromatherapy and Meditation
As you can see, the benefits of meditation are endless. And adding essential oils to your daily mediation practice takes the experience to a whole new level! Aromatherapy has long been used for both holistic healing and spiritual practices, and there are science backed benefits to it too.
Our sense of smell is powerfully linked to our limbic system, the part of the brain that is most closely linked to love and spirituality. It is the oldest part of the human brain. By activating the limbic system through essential oils, we are able to move deeper into our subconscious mind, deepening our mediation practice.
How to use Essential Oils while Meditating
There are two ways to use essential oils while meditating, topically or with a diffuser. Choose which works best for you! The more you create an enjoyable ritual around your mediation practice the easier it will be to turn it into a daily habit. In addition, using the same scent every time you mediate will alert the brain. This will allow you to sink deeper into a state of calm more easily.
Essential oil blends can be applied topically, in very small amounts. Apply one drop on your wrist, rub writs together and the move the scent through your auric field. Start at the crown and slowly move down towards the base chakra. You may also want to apply a tiny drop to the soles of your feet, your temples or behind your knees. You might prefer to dilute the essential oils with a neutral carrier oil like avocado or castor oil if you prefer a more subtle aroma.
An oil diffuser allows for you to be creative with your own oil blends. Many people prefer using an oil diffuser than topical application for meditation as the aroma fills the room and holds a spiritual and tranquil space for meditations. Enhance your meditation practice with one of these four diffuser blends. Choose one based on the energy you are calling in most.
Diffuser Blends for Meditation