Meditation is one of those things that is at once profoundly simple, and yet somehow really difficult, too. But it's also one of those things that seems too beneficial not to try. Of course, there are a few tools that make it a little easier, like essential oils for meditation, which can help set the mood and calm your mind so you're actually able to get your zen on.
Essential oils are the main component of aromatherapy, which is the practice of using fragrant oils derived from plants by a process of distillation. These fragrances are thought to carry the medicinal properties of the plant when inhaled, by either triggering the olfactory system in the brain, or entering into the bloodstream.
So the idea behind using essential oils during meditation is to find scents that sort of target the things that make the practice more difficult, such as a racing mind, lingering stress, or overall restlessness. Of course, the benefits of meditation — including reduced stress, a boosted immune system, and improved focus and memory — already work to combat all of these difficulties, but essential oils simply make the whole experience more enjoyable, and maybe even more approachable.
So, whether you're diffusing some of these scents in your bedroom, or slathering a little lotion onto your arms at the office while you take a quick, five-minute break, these oils might just make the whole experience better than you ever could have imagined.
Not only is sandalwood thought to have a calming effect, it's also considered a particularly potent promoter of mental clarity, which is what we're all looking for in meditation, right?
Light a sandalwood candle, or spritz some of the essential oil on your sitting pillow for a break from that never-ending to-do list you can't stop thinking about.
Chamomile, you might already know, is an herb that promotes rest and sleep, partially for its sedative qualities. It's a great choice if you're feeling particularly anxious or physically restless when you try to sit still.
Pair with a guided meditation, and you're good to go.
The delicious scent of vetiver is associated with grounding and calming effects. It's a particularly great fragrance to use if your mind feels like it's all over the place when you try to meditate, or if you feel a little emotionally disconnected.
Vetiver is even promoted by some as an alternative treatment for ADHD.
Clary sage is another fragrance known for its "sedative" qualities, meaning it can help calm your nerves and put you in a relaxed state of mind.
This scent is especially helpful if you get the jitters, or if you get anxiety about being alone with your thoughts and feelings when sitting down for a meditation session.
This is technically a wood — a "holy wood," in fact — that has been used in practices for spiritual cleansing for thousands of years in places like Ecuador and Peru. Palo santo is a powerful scent that's thought to get rid of any bad energy lingering around you, or even a room.
I find it really helpful to light some of these babies as a way of "clearing the air" before I sit in meditation for a while.
Lest we never forget lavender, famous for its ability to relax your entire being from head to toe. Roll on a little lavender blend by your temples, or give your shoulders a rub with some of this deliciously scented oil before you begin your meditation.