Essential Oils for Meditation
There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of meditation techniques in the world, each one with its roots in a particular tradition or spiritual practice, and each with its own focus and emphasis. At the heart of most meditation practices, however, is the goal or intention to remain relaxed, calm, and aligned with an open awareness in the present moment.
All meditation practice, no matter its specific purpose, where it comes from, or how complicated it might seem, relies upon the person meditating to bring a quiet focus to their mind and bring about a natural state of awareness bringing clarity and inner peace.
Meditation helps to calm your entire being, your mind, body, and spirit. Even just 10 minutes a day can make a drastic improvement to your well-being and help you feel grounded, centered, and confident in yourself.
The thing is, meditation is also quite challenging especially at first. It’s really easy to get disheartened when you first start practicing. Our hectic lives in the modern world are full of distractions and our attention spans are getting worse. Our addiction to screen time and constant updates, scrolling, and information at our fingertips doesn’t help matters. It can be difficult to simply sit, with your eyes closed focusing on your breath.
A big part of what happens when you meditate is that you enhance your other senses as you close your eyes and quiet your mind. That’s why if you are in a noisy place or you can hear loud music or traffic as you meditate, it makes it harder to shut off the outside world. Everything becomes more intense when you first become aware of your thoughts and actually take the time to stop and slow down with a meditation practice.
This is where aromatherapy essential oils can truly help. Adding in the use of essential oils to your practice can make the whole experience feel easier, more uplifting, and sacred, helping you to relax, focus and open your mind to the kind of clarity, and peace you are looking for.
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils have been an important part of our history, medicine, and religion for hundreds of years. They are powerful, natural oils distilled from different parts of flowers, plants, or herbs including the roots, bark, seeds, petals, and leaves. The oil is basically the essence of a plant’s fragrance and has a high concentration of phytochemicals and therapeutic properties (as well as smelling great!).
Essential oils are said to carry a high energetic vibration and can be used in natural and holistic healing on all levels, whether as a complementary treatment or alternative medicine. They help to boost well-being with their positive properties and calming or stimulating and energizing aromas.
Over the years I have found essential oils to be a vital part of my meditation practice, and I use them regularly for their calming effects and to create a peaceful, tranquil atmosphere. They also help me move out of my usual, busy thinking-about-what’s-next-state to a gentler, meditative state of mind, ready and open to connect to my inner self.
How To Use Essential Oils During Meditation?
The first way to use essential oils is with an essential oil diffuser. By diffusing the oil into the air the aromatherapy oils can permeate the environment with their calming scents. That is hugely beneficial to us as our own powerful nasal receptors send a signal to the brain when we pick up the scent, and that signal can lift our mood and stimulate well-being and even lower our blood pressure, creating balance on a mental and emotional level.
I love the smell of my favorite essential oils when I meditate. They contribute to the kind of ambient, healing space that helps me to focus and create stillness.
Another way to use essential oils is with direct application to your pulse points, your third eye or to your palms. You can even rub a few drops of pure essential oil to any sore or tense muscles, or apply a few drops to a tissue and inhale that at the beginning of your practice.
If you are using the direct application method, it’s a good idea to use a carrier oil such as coconut, almond, or jojoba oil. You can also purchase meditation essential oil blends that are already diluted in a carrier oil for topical application. Sometimes these also come in the form of a roll-on, which is ideal for applying to pulse points.
Which are the best essential oils for meditation?
Each essential oil has unique properties and its own benefits. I recommend using scents that promote calm and relaxation most of all, although I have some favorite essential oils that are ideal for grounding, cultivating focus, and giving you a mental boost.
I’ve put together a list of the best essential oils for meditation that I have used, feel free to experiment with your own scents! This is just a starting point for those who are new to aromatherapy and essential oils in meditation.
N.B I always use pure essential oils of the highest quality premium grade, certified organic and from a reputable company to ensure the best experience.
Lavender essential oil is a classic scent for meditation due to its calming properties that bring peace and centredness, so if you’re looking for a scent that helps you to relax and let go, lavender is going to be top of your list. Lavender is an extremely therapeutic oil with anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-depressant properties. It helps to create stability and calm, allowing you the right frame of mind to connect with the kind of inner peace, focus, and clarity needed for effective meditation. Anyone with a restless mind will find balance with this oil.
Ylang Ylang helps to relieve depression, stress, and anxiety. It has a floral scent and is quite sweet. It can boost happiness and for that reason might be a good choice for meditating whenever you are feeling a bit low or in need of a mood booster or an energy lift.
Frankincense essential oil has a reputation as a sacred and spiritual oil, connected with healing, enlightenment, and religious ceremony. As a meditation oil, it is a great choice for grounding and calming the mind. Its woody, balsamic scent brings a centered clarity and helps you connect to your inner strength and stillness. While very calming, it won’t send you to sleep.
Sandalwood essential oil is a highly spiritual scent that can strengthen your energy and raise your vibration, clearing away negative energy from your environment. It is a calm, woody scent with a hint of sweetness. It’s often used blended with other oils as it’s quite a strong aroma. You’ll enjoy its calming, peaceful scent and still feel alert and focused for meditation.
Neroli is made from the blossoms of the bitter orange tree and as such has a sweet, floral, and citrus scent. It’s often used in aromatherapy treatments to combat insomnia, stress, and depression. It can help to increase feelings of self-love and bring inspiration and happiness. It’s a nice choice for bedtime meditation, as it has a certain peaceful effect on the body and can help dissolve negative energy. Physically, neroli essential oil has been found to help with pain and to decrease blood pressure, and lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone).
Vetiver oil soothes and calms as well as brings a sense of groundedness. It’s a strong smell and you might prefer it in a blended mix. It works to enhance your focus in mediation by encouraging an alert yet gentle awareness of your breath. It will calm your mind if you’re feeling stressed or anxious or for anyone with fearful thoughts.
Cedarwood essential oil has a soothing, sedative quality and can balance your moods and help you to be more present and aware. It’s an excellent oil for grounding and helping you to align with a calm focus. Cedarwood was one of the first oils used by the Ancient Egyptians and Sumerians. It has a reputation as a wonderful oil for boosting your focus for meditation.
Patchouli is known to have a strong, earthy aroma which can be overwhelming to some people. It’s been used in incense and perfumes a lot but it does make a wonderfully calming aroma for meditation. There is something very grounding about its woody, earthy scent that can be very centering.
Bergamot is known to encourage spontaneity and enthusiasm. This essential oil has an uplifting effect in any environment and can help to release anxiety and the need to control things, proving very useful in meditation practice when you need to let go. It’s said to also help open the energy of the heart chakra and increase your happiness and self-love.
Most commonly used in its wood form to clear and cleanse negative energy, Palo Santo can have the same effect in its essential oil form. It’s historically been used in spiritual practices by South American indigenous shamans, and consequently has a high vibration that can ward away negativity and clear your space for meditation. Palo Santo can help to calm and center you for inner connection and stillness.
A great stress-buster, clary sage essential oil is wonderful for adding to a meditation diffuser blend. It can help you unwind when you are feeling overwhelmed by stress or turbulent emotions and will calm your frazzled nerves. It has a herbal, fruity, and earthy aroma. It’s a nice one if you have a cold and need to also inhale something clarifying for your airways. It’s also known to dissolve any negative energy in the room.
Myrrh has been used throughout history in ceremonies, rituals, and in medicine by the Egyptians, early Christians, and the Jewish people. It is powerful and grounding, it’s woody, balsamic smell will chill you out and help you to ground into the stillness and tranquility you need. It’s often blended with frankincense or sandalwood.
We all know the calming benefits of chamomile tea, and the essential oil has many of these same properties. It can calm a stressed-out mind, soothe anxiety, and bring a sense of inner peace. It’s a lovely oil to incorporate into your meditation practice before bed as it will help you to relax and promote well-being for a good sleep. It has a strong, sweet scent and is quite potent.
Essential oils can really enhance your meditation practice, soothing your mind, body, and soul and preparing you for the most positive, spiritual experience when you meditate. I hope that you enjoy incorporating them into your regular rituals.