Let’s be honest, if you are into yoga, you are most likely into other aspects of health and wellness.
It’s like a gateway drug into healthier food choices, self-care and alternative medicine. Even if you aren’t the most adept or enthusiastic herbalist out there, there are a few herbs you need to know.
Why? Let me show you.
1. Green Tea
Maybe I’m alone on this, but I need a little caffeine boost in the morning. The small amount that green tea contains helps me stay focused and energized through my practice. Don’t get me wrong, I love coffee too, but it leaves me jittery and makes my mind wander. Trust me. You don’t want to see me try a balance pose after a cup.
An added bonus is that green tea is a great anti-oxidant that protects against many different types of cancer. It has also been shown to reduce cholesterol and improve muscle health. Yum!
2. Tea Tree
I want you to do something for me. Go unroll your mat and take a sniff. That’s right; get your nose in there. Time for a cleaning? This is where tea tree oil comes in.
Used externally, tea tree oil is a great anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral herb. You can apply a small amount to superficial skin conditions or insect bites. You can also mix a few drops with water to make a cleaning solution for your mat. Let’s face it. Even if your feet are clean, there are a whole lot of bare feet that walk around a yoga studio. Think about it.
3-4. Chamomile and Lavender
That’s right, I’m grouping these together. I think of them as the dynamic duo of relaxation herbs. Both have a very gentle, sedative effect that calms the body and mind. Used together, they can also relieve anxiety.
Brew a tea to sip. Sew the pair into an eye pillow to help relax during Savasana. You can even apply the tea externally to heal cuts and reduce inflammation of injuries.
If there is one herb or incense that you choose to enhance meditation, sage should be it. Used for centuries, sage is held sacred by many Native American tribes for its ability to purify and bring balance back to the body, mind and spirit. It can also help bring focus and mental clarity, which I personally need in meditation.
Burn a small bundle during meditation, or use sage-scented incense right before you sit down to meditate. If you prefer, you can also use a few drops of sage essential oil to scent the room.
Use these herbs to enhance your yoga practice. But respect them for their many other uses too. You could just turn into an adept and enthusiastic herbalist yet.
Kristin Henningsen is a Yogini Herbalist, integrating herbal medicine and yoga therapeutics for over 10 years. When not practicing, healing, or teaching, she writes, mothers and tries to find inspiration in all the little moments in between. Find her at www.banyanmoonbotanicals.com.
Editor: Olga Feingold