“Oils are so precious. We need to honor the oils and the plants. If the world were black and white, essential oils would make it have color. They awaken our senses. They bring depth, light and color to the world of scent.” -Jan Stritzler
Recently, I have been conducting interviews with yoga instructors across the country to see how they use essential oils in their yoga practice and instruction. The following interview was with Jan Stritzler, who teaches at the Wellness Center in New York City as a one-on-one yoga instructor. She also has her master’s in exercise physiology. She has been teaching yoga for 15 years and got her training through the Prana Yoga Teacher Training with Jeff Migdow. Thank you Jeff for the recommendation to speak to Jan. I very much enjoyed the opportunity to speak with Jan. Let us know how you use essential oils in your yoga practice and instruction.
Interviewing Jan helped me identify that there are 4 uses of essential oils in yoga instruction. They include:
- Using essential oils to prepare for yoga instruction
- Using essential oils to prepare the space for yoga instruction
- Using essential oils during savasana
- Using essential oils to support the opening and balancing of specific chakras and elements or to work with specific issues.
Preparing for yoga instruction:
Jan uses essential oils to prepare herself for yoga instruction and be the best teacher that she can be. For example, she has specific blends she uses to create more heart space, to reduce stress, to become more centered and intuitive, to create peace and calm, and to create energy. She also uses a blend for pain. Some of the blends are in stick roll-on applicators so that she does not end up with an oily residue on her hands.
Preparing the space for yoga instruction:
Jan uses essential oils to prepare the yoga space. It brings a pleasant aroma to the space, helps the students change gears and become present for the yoga practice, and it creates a sense of sanctuary. People walk into Jan’s classes and often say, “It smells amazing in here.” Generally, she says, “People love using the oils! it helps students be completely present. It helps them unify body, mind, and spirit. They get into less of a mental space and become present and tuned into bodies. Positive smells bring them to that place.” How does she determine what is a positive smell. She often asks students what oil they want to use or what they say they need in order to determine the best oil to diffuse in that particular class. Other times, she has students smell diluted oils in the bottle. If they have a positive response to the diluted oil, then she offers to rub it on the back of their neck and wrists. Jan also reminds us that we have to be very careful to not use oils if we have people with chemical sensitivities in our classes.
During savasana, Jan puts eye pillows on her participants eyes and puts a tissue on top of the eye pillow that has a drop of oil on it. The oil depends on the needs of the group. For example, many instructors use grapefruit to bring a sense of clarity or lavender for calming.
For specific needs:
Jan uses essential oils for specific client needs. For example, one client who was dealing with cancer had a difficult time relaxing. Jan used pine essential oil to help her relax since she enjoyed the scent of pine.
To find out more about using essential oils for opening the chakras and elements, go to http://ancientwaysbotanicals.com/2012/10/awaken-your-elemental-self-essential-oils-and-your-yoga-practice/ This blog post introduces the use of oils in our yoga practice and shares how to awaken the earth element and root chakra. I will be posting blogs on all 7 chakras and elements over the next few months.
How do you use essential oils in yoga? You are invited to share your thoughts here. We would all love to learn from your ideas.
To good, healing scents in your life, Kim