Seven Reasons Why Lavender is a Yoga Teacher’s Best Friend

Lavender stems in a jar
Photo by Heather Schwartz on Unsplash

If you have ever invested in essential oils then there is a very good chance that you have some lavender oil in your possession.   Lavender is one of the most popular and useful essential oils available.  Easy to find for a reasonable price and with a range of benefits from tackling stress to burn relief.

As a yoga teacher, there are many ways you can incorporate the benefits of lavender in to your teaching and personal practice.  Add one of these products to your yoga bag and discover why lavender is a yoga teacher’s best friend.

1 Essential Oil

In its purest form lavender essential oil has many applications.  Simply inhaling the scent direct from its little glass bottle relieves stress, calms the mind, stabilizes mood and supports restful sleep.

It’s a really useful oil to travel with for these reasons and as an added bonus is a great relief for sunburn discomfort.  All of the essential oil manufacturers will have lavender available in their ranges. I’m by no means an aromatherapy expert but oil brands I have used, and like, include Tisserand, DoTerra and Aura Cacia.  However, there are many other reputable brands to choose from.

2 Lavender Eye Pillow

I use these in my own practice all of the time and have taught at yoga studios where eye pillows during savasana have proved very popular with students!  They are also useful for general relaxation, headache relief and to help with sleep.

lavender eye pillow
Linen eye pillow with lavender & organic flax

 

Add one of these products to your yoga bag and discover why lavender is a yoga teacher’s best friend.

3. Lavender Candle

Light a candle at the end of class to accompany your guided meditation.  The flame and lavender scent will keep the mood focused and quiet.  Also a perfect addition to your yoga altar at home or, when in a small travel tin, a great item to take along on your business trips and vacations.

lavender candles
Lavender candles

4 Lavender Yoga Mat Cleaner

If your choice of yoga class is a fast moving vinyasa with lots of heat and sweat then I can definitely recommend investing in some lavender mat spray.  Whether you purchase a ready made spray or make your own this is a great way to freshen and sanitize your mat.

lavender mint cleaner
Clean and refresh your yoga mat with a lavender cleaner

5 Lavender Tea

What better than a calming cup of tea after class?  Pick up a lavender tea with chamomile too and you have the perfect soothing drink for your evening wind down.

tin of lavender tea
A calming chamomile lavender tea

Why not double the fun with a dedicated lavender design mug?

handcrafted tea mug with lavender
Pretty handmade lavender tea mug

 

Lavender is one of the most popular and useful essential oils available.

6 Lavender Massage Oil

This is a useful product to invest in if you incorporate gentle massage in to your classes.  Rub in to your hands before you assist with student’s blankets and bolsters in restorative poses  and allow the scent to soothe as class prepares for savasana.

lavender massage oil
lavender massage oil

7 Lavender Gifts

Lavender themed gifts are great to share with your students, fellow teachers and friends.  You could choose any of the above products or look at some of the other lavender goodies you could gift such as lip balms, linen fresheners,  handmade soaps & lavender sachets for closets and drawers.

lavender lip balm
lavender lip balm
Handmade lavender soap and balm
Handmade lavender soap and balm

And, of course, don’t forget to accompany your gift with a handcrafted card.  See yogaskinnystudio’s own range of yoga themed notecards!

yoga themed notecards
Handcrafted yoga notecards by yogaskinnystudio

Please know that I am an ‘affiliate’ which means that I make a small commission if any products featured here are purchased via this website.  I will only link to manufactured products I have purchased, seen or used myself except in the case of handmade Etsy items where, as an Etsy shop owner,  I’m supporting and promoting Etsy’s crafting community.

Lavender flowers on lavender background
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

 

Building a Home Yoga Practice

yoga practice, home yoga practice, creating a personal practice, yoga at home
Building a Home Yoga Practice

Building a home yoga practice is not too dissimilar to doing your exams at school.  The paper was placed in front of you and you’d have a few moments to organize your pencils, eraser, ruler, calculator or whatever other items you needed.  Then you would open the paper, read through it and decide in a moment of panic that you don’t know the answers and then proceed to organize your stuff again.

It’s not dissimilar to starting a home yoga practice.  You lay out your mat and stack your blocks.  Fold your blanket neatly and roll your yoga strap into a tidy coil.  You sit on your mat, take a breath and then say to yourself ‘now what?’ and go back to rearranging your props.

When you come across articles about home practice it often appears to involve a whole heap of organization and commitment to finding the right spot with the right amount of time and at the right time of day but the key to actually building a home yoga practice starts with just doing it.

The starting point for a home yoga practice

Roll out your mat in a place you feel comfortable in.  It might be your spare bedroom, your kitchen, your balcony or your local park.  If you need them, place your props close to hand.  Then, do the pose or the handful of poses that you know.  Just that.

It doesn’t have to be a fancy sequence full of clever flows and interesting inversions, twists and standing poses, it just needs to be a pose.  One pose repeated on both sides and there begins your home practice.

The biggest obstacle to a home practice is in your head.

Forget the need to reproduce what your favorite instructor or dvd does for an hour and simply step up and start.

It may be only five minutes squeezed in while a kettle boils.  Or a generous thirty minutes snatched in the evening in place of the TV show you can survive without seeing.

If an active, physical practice doesn’t appeal try a relaxing restorative pose.  Restorative yoga offers a great deal of positive benefits and when practiced on a daily basis is as beneficial as a full on vinyasa flow sequence.

Get your home yoga practice going

Here’s a suggestion on how to start……

  1. Say to yourself – today I’m going to spend ten minutes doing yoga.  Making the decision to do it is often the difficult bit
  1. Find a space or roll out your mat and step on to it.  A little effort involved here but don’t overthink it.  It will take a minute
  1. Do a pose you like or can easily remember.  Doesn’t have to be sophisticated – mountain pose (tadasana) or childs pose both work.  It’s still yoga.  There,  you’ve done it
  1. Step off the mat and repeat the next day.  Takes will power to commit to the next day but you know you can do it because you just did it!
  1. When the next day comes say to yourself – today I’m going to spend ten minutes doing yoga.  As step 1 and then repeat

The biggest obstacle to a home yoga practice is in your head.  You’ll notice that the list starts and ends with the mental commitment and nothing more.

Every journey starts with the first step so make the decision, carve out the time no matter how small, roll out your mat and step on it!

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Ask an Instructor – Diana Markessinis

Diana Markessinis
Diana Markessinis – Yoga instructor and fine artist

Diana Markessinis is a yoga instructor and fine artist specialising in sculpture.

ask an instructor – 10 questions

• the very first yoga class you attended?   As a small little lady with my mom we walked to an old Victorian house in our neighborhood of Wilmington Delaware. I remember the sound of the pocket door sliding shut, deep breathing, and quiet organized movement in a full room of ladies.

• what is it about yoga that inspires you?   The merging of our internal and external worlds, to explore and travel our internal world then the outside physical body world…it’s a lovely dance back and forth and eventually they merge and unite creating a one pointed focus, where all else falls away, in that peacefulness I get inspired

• what yoga item(s) could you not be without?  I suppose my blocks, but honestly if they aren’t with me, I find something else, books, buckets, a railing, whatever is available to give me more space!

• your favorite post yoga class snack?  Something juicy and refreshing like fresh veggie or fruit.

• what book would you recommend to a brand new student of yoga?  Depends on that persons interests…Donna Farhi ‘bringing yoga to life’ has a nice overview or for a deeper level ‘the body has its reasons’ by Therese Bertherat

• if you could teach a class anywhere in the world, where would it be?  On the floor of a soft forest on a sunny day.

–  type of class you like to attend when you are not the instructor?  Relaxation classes like Restoratives or Yin, as I practice this at home, but have to keep watch of the time, it’s luxurious to have someone else keeping track.

• favorite thing to do if not doing yoga?  Being outside and creating objects.

• if you weren’t a yoga instructor?  I’m an artist, my love and knowledge of yoga is to make this life fuller for myself and others.

• as a yoga instructor, what do you hope a new student takes away from your class?  To simply feel better then when they arrived. Showing up on our mat is to be a witness to whatever is happening that day, and in theory as that awareness comes through we can better serve ourselves and therefore others.

To find out more about Diana’s yoga schedule and sculpture work visit her website http://www.dianamarkessinis.com

Diana teaches a weekly Yoga Fundamentals class at Inner Space yoga studio in Santa Ana.

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