Yoga, Essential Oils, and Energy Medicine
What Do They Have in Common …
Besides Durham, California?
By Mikaela Hengst
They all have a similar purpose: to bring balance to the body. Used individually each modality can be extremely effective in bringing about a balance to the inner and outer landscape of our lives. What happens, though, when we use them together? Yoga and essential oils with a touch of energy medicine can have amazing effects! When our bodies, minds, and spirits are congruent, everything is in balance; our energy is flowing freely from Heaven to Earth and back again. Only then can we grow, blossom, and truly step into our life’s purpose.
I found yoga in my early 20s as a single woman whose life consisted of going out to the bars and work. I didn’t have the awareness of self. I was living completely in my ego. I realize now that my spirit was drawing me to yoga with an intense need to connect with something deeper than my five senses could allow. I remember leaving my first class feeling stronger, more open, and free, so free! All of the thoughts running through my head and feelings weighing on my heart were gone when I went into class, and I was at peace. Yoga has been a way for me to tap into my inner being, connect with Mother Earth and my intuition, release emotion, and grow as a spiritual being.
Often I hear, “I can’t do yoga; I’m not flexible enough!” When in reality, yoga is for every body and anyone can have a yoga practice. Yoga teaches us to be flexible in our bodies and that can translate off the mat to flexibility in our lives. All that is required is a willingness to try. I like to keep my classes simple so that the student has the opportunity to really feel the body—every muscle, every stretch, every breath as it enters and exits the body. When we listen to our bodies and what they are telling us we can become curious about why our bodies are sending us messages. Perhaps there is tension in our lower back, or a constant feeling of anxiety and tightness in the chest, or an overall sadness that perpetuates every fiber of our being. Yoga is a way to get in touch with these messages from the body, examine them with curiosity, and then release.
We are not the only ones receiving messages. Essential oils, the lifeblood of nearly all plants and trees, are a way for the plant to communicate and send messages. While in the plant, essential oils communicate with each other. Anyone who has ever picked a tomato or rubbed a sprig of rosemary between fingers can attest to this. When a plant is violated it sends out essential oils to protect and warn other plants of a predator. The plant or tree will also shed or drop oils around and underneath to keep seedlings from growing too close, thereby preserving precious space and nutrients for it to grow. How does this help us? Our cellular makeup is very similar to that of the plant world. As the Earth is our home, plants and trees provide the sustenance and medicine we need to survive. Essential oils are intelligent, finding where our bodies are out of balance and working to bring them back to homeostasis—sending messages to our bodies and minds, keeping us healthy and well. Essential oils are also complex, containing hundreds of chemical constituents, each one designed for a specific purpose. When we inhale an oil, it travels first to our olfactory system and then to our limbic system, also known as our memory. Have you ever smelled something that took you back to the exact last time you smelled it? Even if you were five years old, and it was baking cookies at Grandma’s? Oils have the ability to intuitively enter our bodies, just by our smelling them, to break the barrier between blood and brain and get into every cell of our bodies. Oils can take us back to a time or place where the memory was created and then help to rewire the memory, forming new connections, new memories in our present state.
When I was introduced to oils I was in the process of yoga teacher training and had just completed my Reiki and Shamballa attunements. I was on a journey of awakening and oils were the kicker I needed to really help take my healing and discovery of self to what, for me, became the next level. Then came energy medicine. I learned ways to tap into my body on an electric level and give myself a “tune-up” so that energy flows freely, allowing me to deepen my yoga practice and connect more fully with self. In the classes that I teach at Breathe, I use and reference Energy Medicine Yoga by Lauren Walker. A typical class will include starting with an oil or two, perhaps inhaling or placing on a particular spot on the body. Then a few moments to ground and connect to Mother Earth and feel the body, followed by light tapping or perhaps releasing of pent-up energy. Think of it as giving your energetic body a tune-up before getting on the freeway of yoga. Using my intuition, I listen to what my students need and guide them. Using oils and energy helps me to tap into this. Many of the classes taught at Breathe use this structure. A typical class can use 3-5 oils and blends while a workshop can include 7-10 oils and blends. We also offer kids’ yoga and essential oil classes as well as energy healing sessions.
You can contact Mikaela at 530-570-2862, visit http://www.Breathedurham.com, or come by and Breathe at 2500 Durham Dayton Hwy., Ste. 1, Durham, CA.