Essential Oils for Yoga

Every night this week I’ve been teaching Instagram Live mini-classes about different ways to use essential oils. Tuesday night was Essential Oils for Yoga, and, knowing my love for yoga, I decided to share my info here! Be sure to keep reading, because at the end of the post I’ll share how you can try all these oils for just $5!

Three of my favorite oils to use in my yoga practice are doTERRA* Wild Orange, Breathe, and Balance, + Deep Blue Rub at the end of my practice.

Wild Orange: Uplifting, energizing scent.

To Use: Can be applied topically (on the skin) with no dilution needed, but can dilute in fractionated coconut oil to minimize any possible skin sensitivity. Can diffuse with a diffuser or “self-diffuse” by placing a couple drops in your hands, cupping hands over nose and mouth, and inhaling deeply.

Breathe (Respiratory Blend): Opens and soothes respiratory system. Ingredients: Laurel Leaf, Eucalyptus Leaf, Peppermint Plant, Melaleuca Leaf, Lemon Peel, Ravensara Leaf, Cardamom Seed essential oils.

To Use: Can be applied topically (on the skin) with no dilution needed, but can dilute in fractionated coconut oil to minimize any possible skin sensitivity. Can diffuse with a diffuser or “self-diffuse” by placing a couple drops in your hands, cupping hands over nose and mouth, and inhaling deeply. After inhaling the oil, I like to rub my hands on my chest and neck.

Balance (Grounding Blend): Calms, relaxes, and helps promote feelings of balance and grounding. Ingredients: Spruce Needle/Leaf, Ho Wood, Frankincense Resin, Blue Tansy Flower, and Blue Chamomile Flower essential oils in a base of Fractionated Coconut Oil.

To Use: Can be applied topically (on the skin) with no dilution needed, but can dilute in fractionated coconut oil to minimize any possible skin sensitivity. Can diffuse with a diffuser or “self-diffuse” by placing a couple drops in your hands, cupping hands over nose and mouth, and inhaling deeply. After inhaling the oil, sitting in Cobbler’s Pose, I like to massage the bottoms of my feet with the oil (Google “reflexology chart” for specific points to focus on). Perfect to precede standing and balancing poses, and savasana.

Deep Blue Rub: A topical cream infused with essential oils to help cool and warm muscle tightness and aches. Contains the following essential oils: Wintergreen, Camphor, Peppermint, Ylang Ylang, Helichrysum, Blue Tansy, Blue Chamomile, and Osmanthus.

To Use: Massage into affected areas. For external use only. I prefer to use Deep Blue Rub after my yoga practice to help my body further relax and open. I don’t use it during my practice just so I can fully feel any areas of tightness in my body while I practice, but it can definitely be used as you begin your practice as well, if you’d like!

These are the oils that I use most often both while teaching yoga classes, and also in my own individual yoga practice.

Want to give it a try? From now until the end of February, you can get samples of all of these oils to try in your own yoga practice for only $5. Simply send me an email at alliebarnesyoga [at] gmail [dot] com and I’ll get the samples out to you!

If you love these oils and want to sign up for wholesale pricing with doTERRA, you’ll get your $5 back.

What are YOUR favorite essential oils to use in your yoga practice? Tell me in the comments!

* I trust doTERRA above any other essential oil company because I know exactly what is in each bottle. I’ve tried multiple brands and these are pure and potent, and you can tell just by the smell/touch. To show transparency, doTERRA does more testing on each batch of oil than any other company, and they share all of this information at sourcetoyou.com. Simply put in the batch number (found on the bottom of each bottle of oil) and all of their testing on that specific batch of oils is there for you to view. I love this. I trust them. I buy these oils then dilute them myself with fractionated coconut oil or any other pure carrier oil, so I know exactly what I am putting on/in my body.

Sacred Hiking

Every time I sit down to write about a hike, I stop myself. Of all the activities I do, I realize that hiking is probably the most sacred to me, and it apparently causes me to be very private about my hiking life! This all started probably two years ago, in a fit of heartache and hurt, finding that exercise—namely, pushing myself up Y Mountain in Provo, Utah multiple times a week and trying to beat my time each day—would help me feel better. I rarely listened to music, but instead listened to the world around me, said hello to strangers, and kept an almost constant prayer going in my mind. Y Mountain isn’t my go-to anymore, but the practice remains: when I need to feel strong, centered, and peaceful, I go to the trails.

VEGAN “Tuna” Melt Sandwich

I’m not a vegan, but between food allergies and general cooking preferences, I end up eating a mostly plant based diet at home. Or I aim to. So when a sudden craving for a tuna fish sandwich came on Monday night, I already had everything I needed to make it happen, and keep it vegan.

Secret ingredient: a can of Great Northern Beans.

You can also use chickpeas. Whatever you have on hand. This was just the rare day that I was out of chickpeas.

Going back to those food allergies I mentioned: I avoid cheese and soy. They both came back as oh no’s on an allergy test, and they also affect me in various ways, so best avoid them. This would conflict with a regular tuna melt. Behold, two more secret ingredients:

Vegan Mozzarella Cheese (I use the Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Shreds and find that it melts well)…

…and Just Mayo by Hampton Creek. Both are dairy and soy free. (Regular mayo is soybean oil-based). I love these products. (This isn’t a sponsored post, I just really love these products and they help me enjoy SO many comfort foods while still caring for my body).

A lot of this recipe is just eye-ing it and taste testing here and there. It’s like you’re making tuna salad, if you’ve done that before. Same idea, just with canned beans instead of canned tuna.

Directions:

1. Open can of beans, rinse, and pour into medium sized bowl. Mash beans up with a fork, but feel free to leave it chunky!

2. Mix in mayo (I started with 1/4 cup and increased as needed to create the consistency I wanted), relish, onion salt (I use Redmond Farms brand), and pepper.

3. Let sit in fridge for about a half hour, if you have the time! This helps the flavors blend a bit.

4. Take two slices of bread (I used wheat), oil the outside of each slice (you can use regular butter, vegan butter, coconut oil, or even more mayonnaise. I used coconut oil). Place one piece of bread on a frying pan on low-medium heat, oil side down. Stack on it shredded mozzarella cheese (if you’d like to make it a melt!), some “tuna” mix, and I like to add in some spinach or spring mix. Top with the second slice of bread, oil side out.

5. When the bottom slice of bread is toasted and the cheese is a bit melty, carefully flip the sandwich over. Continue cooking until bottom is toasted.

6. Enjoy!

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If you try this recipe, let me know what you think! Again, tuna fish sandwiches are pretty forgiving (vegan or not)—play around with ingredients and seasonings and see what you can come up with!

A Night Run

It had been weeks since I last ran. It’s surprising how quickly my mind went from “I love running! I can do this!” to, “Can I do this still?” I went from depression to inversion (bad Utah air between snow/rain storms in the winter) to snow and ice on the ground (I know, I have Yak-Trax, but I’d just rather not, you know?). I chose instead to exercise lightly in the comfort and warmth of my home, and to teach yoga.

But last night? Last night was the night. I had felt this vast unknown before me all day, the kind that weighs you down body and soul. It was 43 degrees and had just rained, so I knew there was less ice on the ground than there had been. I put on my fleece jacket, ear warmers, and gloves and off I went.

I ran in the dark streets of my neighborhood. I ran with my feet pounding on the wet streets, dodging lingering piles of snow and ice. I ran where I wanted to run, weaving up and down the streets. I ran with a prayer, and then with the tune of “To Make You Feel My Love” on repeat in my head (the Ane Brun version). I ran to let go.

And when I got home, two miles later, stretched and settled— only then did I realize that I didn’t notice the cold at all when I ran. I noticed everything else.

I can still do this after all.

Letting It Go: Depression

This was originally posted on my Instagram page (@alliebarnesyoga) in two parts back in December. For convenience and easy reference, I’ve decided to publish it here on my blog as well. 

I’ve thought about sharing some difficult things on here lately, and have honestly gone back and forth, but I want to let it go, and sharing seems like the best way to do that. So let’s talk about depression and anxiety.

This is not new for me. Adolescence into adulthood. Eight years ago I began trying to manage it with different medications and supplements. Good times, bad times. It got really bad while serving a mission for my church, to the point that I needed to come home early. A loved one once told me that I should drink more green smoothies to feel better, unaware of the very real dark fog over my entire life, and the self harm I was hiding from every person I knew. I was both afraid to be seen and ached to be seen. I’ve had a couple close people walk out of my life because they “didn’t want to deal with my anxiety.” Those experiences in particular greatly tainted my sense of self worth, particularly in relationships. Gratefully, life is far better now than it was then.

For the most part, I feel great now. (The “how” is a different post for a later time). But the last couple of months have been tough, and a couple weeks ago I found myself in a darkness that I hadn’t seen in years. That fog came back. Some days I didn’t leave the house, and the days that I did leave the house, it was brief. One day I forgot to brush my teeth until 5pm (sorry!) and showers didn’t always happen. I missed my dear friend’s wedding because I just couldn’t do it. I felt alone, I felt anxious, and I just couldn’t show up, even for myself. I’m grateful though that because I’ve done this before, I was able to start climbing out of that fog pretty quickly.

Overall, 2016 has been incredible. I’ve felt immense love and been shown the sweetest kinds of love. I’ve followed my passions and dreamed a little bigger for my life. The last couple months have been a blur though, and those last couple of weeks have been the lowest I intend to go. So here is to letting go—to putting it all out there and letting it go. Here is to light, hope, strength, and joy in the year to come. Intentional, cultivated, created light and joy. Namaste.

photo by gary barnes