May 21st marks international meditation awareness day, and this is the perfect opportunity to stress the tremendous effects of aromatic mindfulness. Practicing meditation soothes the stresses of the day and culminates inner peace. Essential oils help to guide the mind down specific pathways to focus your exercise better. Choosing the right essential oil can make the practice more effective and beneficial. Today we'll talk about the benefits of meditation, how olfaction can help the mind, body, and spirit, and some of the best oils for meditation.
How Do You Meditate?
Ah, now there's a question!
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years. It is considered a complementary mind-body medicine because it can produce deep relaxation and a tranquil mind.
Initially, it was used to understand sacred and mystical life forces, but today it is more commonly used to reduce stress and promote relaxation. There are a vast number of ways to meditate. There are exceptionally well-developed ways of meditating, including this yogic flying, part of transcendental meditation; however, we'll leave this one for a couple of weeks, shall we?
None are right or wrong. It's just a case of finding the best one to work for you.
We'll start on something a bit (read soooo much) easier to do.
Meditation is all about slowing your breath so your thoughts slow down too.
This is tremendously helpful if you struggle with streams of jumbled thoughts crowding your mind. If you have a job or a time in your life where there can be lots of different things that need doing all at once (like mine is at the moment), these perpetual, unrelated thoughts bombarding you can be incredibly stressful.
Taking time to slow down can significantly affect anxiety and stress levels.
Anyone can meditate.
It doesn't require any special equipment.
There is no need to use essential oils if you don't have any, but they certainly enhance the process.
I rarely use essential oils topically nowadays. These days, I mostly inhale them for this kind of work.
Benefit of Meditation
Meditation centers and grounds you and the effects extend far longer than just the time used to meditate. Once your thoughts slow, they remain that way for some days. This is so helpful if you are worried about things or feel low.
Meditation is also proven to help many medical conditions that may be made worse by feeling stressed.
Further, the benefits of meditation continue even after your session ends. Meditation can carry you more calmly through your day.
Meditation has been proven to:
- Lower resting heart rate and blood pressure
- Reduce pain
- Improve sleep
- Help increase tolerance and patience with certain situations or people
- Enable you to focus on the present rather than looking backward or worrying about the future
- Reduce negative thoughts
- Give new perspectives or ideas around coping in stressful situations
- Increase self-awareness
- Encourage creativity and imagination
- Improve sleep
Elements Of Meditation
Essential oils are used in many types of meditation and have become particularly popular in yoga. However, the easiest ways to use essential oils for meditation are guided visualizations or simply quieting your mind and asking a question of your subconscious.
You can make meditation practice as formal or informal as you like. Some people like to meditate, starting and ending every day with quietness. Mine and Tash's mom were religious in meditating every day at 4. I am nowhere near that disciplined.
Sometimes, rather than sitting and formally meditating, I might read a poem or sacred text and use essential oil to reflect upon its message and meaning.
My favorite way to meditate is to listen to sacred music.
I find Byzantine music incredibly expansive and soothing since they intone vowels with sacred messages encoded in them…. it's tough to concentrate on the day's worries when deciphering Holy Speech!
This piece, for example, is explicitly used with myrrh, in Judaism, for people who are in emotional, mental, or spiritual pain. The words of the psalm mean, "Lord have mercy on me."
Prayer is the best-known and most widely practiced example of meditation. Traditionally Frankincense speaks to the divine masculine, God, and Rose to the divine feminine principles.
All you need for meditation is a few minutes of quality time. Counterintuitively, some of my most effective meditations have been when I thought there was no time to do them. The more I have to do, the more I can get done if I meditate…not least because it has focused and relaxed my mind.
How to Meditate
Familiar to all meditations is the desire to control and slow the breath.
Find a quiet setting where you are less likely to be distracted. Turn off phone notifications and the TV. It is helpful to have some music and to wear headphones.
Find a comfortable position to meditate in. You can practice meditation, whether sitting, lying down, or even walking, as you become more skilled.
Try to take deep, even-paced breaths using the diaphragm muscle to expand your lungs.
Slowing your breathing, you will take in more oxygen, relax the shoulders, neck, and upper chest muscles, and breathe more efficiently.
Become very aware of your bodily sensations. Is there pain, tension, warmth, or cold? No need to judge it; notice and send some feeling of care towards it.
Importantly, have a very open attitude towards the whole thing and try not to judge your meditation skills.
If you are like me, your brain will never quieten completely.
I have the worst monkey brain.
For a long time, I'd think, "Why and I thinking about not thinking, because now I am thinking…"
Don't let the thought of meditating the "right" way add to your stress.
The secret is to let thoughts pass through your mind without judgment.
Some of my naughtiest monkey brain thoughts have been the ones that have become some of my books and other meditation.
It's widespread for your mind to wander during meditation. When I began to practice, the main question would be…how long have I been doing this?
If that's you, choose a meditation on youtube, a song, whatever, and note how long it will be on.
I can only do 20 minutes if I have a guided meditation. Ten minutes is a great start. Just five will do you good.
I have three guided meditations on my youtube channel that you might enjoy. I'll list those at the end of the article.
How Do Essential Oils Help Meditation
Specific molecules in essential oil can pass through the blood-brain barrier. However, the olfactory bulb will process all inhaled molecules, then relay messages to the brain. The constituents then act on the cerebral cortex, thalamus, and limbic to improve symptoms of anxiety and depression and enhance sleep quality. (Ciu, 2022)
The cerebral cortex is responsible for higher-level processes in the human brain. These include memory, reasoning, language, thought, learning, decision-making, emotion, intelligence, and personality.
Interestingly, the thalamus translates information about what we see, taste, hear, and touch and sends those to the brain. The sense of smell goes directly to the brain, yet…fragrance still influences thought, sleep, wakefulness, and memory via the thalamus.
The limbic system is one of the most arcane and primitive structures of the brain and controls learning, memory, thoughts, mood, and cognition. Most pertinently, the limbic system contains the HPA axis (hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenals) that runs our stress response through the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic that switches the stress response off so we can rest and restore.
Dysfunction in this HPA axis is the main area that causes stress-related dis-ease.
Smelling the Best Essential Oils for Meditation
Olfaction is not only the oldest and the most vital sense for survival, but it is also the only one unaffected by psychological processes (Cook, 2008)
We now understand that mood may be influenced by neurotransmitters moving through our bodies. These neurotransmitters have many functions.
Serotonin, for example, is involved in around 300 different processes in the body, including modulating mood.
Dopamine runs motivation and our reward systems. It is involved in desire, addictions, and many other processes. Oxytocin is our love molecule, involved in many sexual functions and bone density.
Glutamate is our main excitatory transmitter. It helps us get out of bed in the morning. GABA inhibits the nervous system, calming and soothing us. In particular, GABA levels have a bearing on stress, fear, and even pain.
These transmitters depend on each other, so if some are low, then the chances are this will also whack the others out of kilter.
Studies show that the olfactory neurons (the nerves that process scent) express these neurotransmitters. In other words, we make more of them when we smell lovely smells.
Choosing The Best Essential Oils for Meditation
A strange phenomenon about fragrance is that certain smells make us think of different things.
Rose, for example, makes us feel of love.
These are cultural associations, sometimes memories, and occasionally specific receptors in different parts of the brain associating….for example, a scent may be processed in a part of the brain that is also involved in motivating us.
Thus, the best essential oils for meditation change depending on what you are trying to achieve.
That said, don't get in your way by worrying about the technicalities.
Take a few seconds to inhale your oil and ask yourself, "How does this make me feel…?"
Follow your direction…you will always be your best textbook here.
If it uplifts you, go with it, even if it's not on the list.
Likewise, if you smell something and think, "Bleuch, that's not relaxing…" trust that. Your experience with the oil will always be your best barometer here.
The Best Essential Oils for Meditation
How you use the essential oils for meditation is up to you. I tend to take the top of the bottle and wave it under my nose, but that's pretty lousy practice because the more oxygen you let into the bottle, the faster the oil will deteriorate.
It is better to use a tissue with a drop on to wear an aroma pendant or a diffuser.
I get better results if the oil is closer to my nose, though, rather than being diffused over the whole room.
Best Essential Oils for Meditation - To Calm
Best Essential Oils For Meditation To Uplift
Best Essential Oils For Meditation To Soothe the Mind
Cedarwood - dispels negative thoughts
Yarrow - For deep pain
Myrrh - For desperation
Best Essential Oils For Meditation To Reduce Anger and Frustration
Best Essential Oils For Meditation To Motivate
Best Essential Oils For Meditation For Creativity
My Best Best Essential Oils for Meditations Videos
As stated earlier, I do have some pre-recorded videos you can use if you would like to.
I am a priestess for peace, so the videos invoke inner peace but are also designed to send out peace. They make you feel calm, too and feel you have contributed to creating a conflict solution somehow. No different from praying for peace, just a little more structured.
The videos take you through many levels of training…first, talk about the history and folklore of the plant and some of the mythology. Working through the energy centers to heal the body first, soothe the mind and emotions, and send some healing out into the world.
I recorded this pine meditation at the beginning of Russia's onslaught on Ukraine…it is spooky, teaches lots about pine oil, and sends healing to Ukraine: This one is nice because I think I am most precise about how to use it.
This cedarwood meditation was also done at the beginning of the Ukraine conflict after one harrowing day of death reports. Cedarwood is a lovely tranquilizing oil that takes away negative thoughts. It has a very Egyptian magic vibe since they revered cedarwood so much, and it focuses on some of the ancient priestess work of soul midwifery and escorting the souls of the dead. It sounds depressing, but it's rather beautiful and incredibly uplifting work. Many who have had loved ones die tell me they find this one comforting too.
By far, the most popular is the rose meditation for inner peace. This is a woman's meditation and is one of the best essential oils for meditation if you feel hormonal or outraged. It's saccharine sweet, incredibly intimate, and always moves me to tears when I listen.
If you do not have rose oil, geranium is an excellent substitute.
Each of the three videos has over 10k views. So many calmer people. This may be one of the things I am most proud of in my work. I hope you, too, will use, enjoy and share them. They are mighty things.
Incidentally, I also host communal mediations each month at the full moon, and you can find details at my link tree: https://linktr.ee/thesecrethealer
So, to Conclude
I have given you a list of the oils that are the best essential oils for meditation, but it is a fluid and changing thing. Experiment. Remember, there are only two rules…
- breathe slowly and deep
- Remember there are no other rules
Have fun, plan, and enjoy the changes in your mood and personality as you explore and find your personal choices of the best essential oils for meditation.