Hi Guys! My name is Hollie Corkum Sears and I’m a yoga teacher here in Abu Dhabi as well as a Wellness Advocate for Doterra Essential Oils. I’m from the beautiful seaside province of Nova Scotia, Canada and I’ve been living and teaching yoga here in Abu Dhabi for over 4 years.
I have two small children and I was drawn to using essential oils while pregnant with my first child. I was living in the Caribbean and wanted to find something safe to use to repel mosquitos and support my immune system. With some research, I was able to find what I needed there but I was never too sure on the quality and purity of what I was buying.
When we moved to Abu Dhabi and I was pregnant with my second child, I went on the search again for oils to support my pregnancy, labor and delivery but still couldn’t find any great options locally. After searching the interwebs for the safest and easiest options, I found Doterra essential oils from the US. And that’s how my journey with them began.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are the volatile and oil soluble liquids that are distilled from aromatic plants. These can be taken using steam distillation or cold pressing from the flower, bark, seeds, stems, roots etc. depending on where the highest concentration on chemical constituents are located. Essential oils embody the regenerating, protective and immune strengthening properties of the plant and cannot be artificially reproduced. Essential oils have been used since the beginning of civilization to support health, create perfumes and incense and to flavor foods.
We can use essential oils in three ways. Topically by diluting them with a pure vegetable oil, like fractionated (liquid) coconut oil, and using on the skin, hair, mouth, teeth and nails or for enhancing a massage.
Aromatically by inhaling the oil directly from the bottle or by using a cool mist diffuser to fill the air with the oil. Diffusing oils is the safest and easiest method of use as it can provide relaxation, freshen and purify the air and support the immune and respiratory system of everyone in the home.
The third method is internally. Only internalize pure, therapeutic grade essential oils from a high-quality brand like Doterra! If an oil is safe to take internally, it should have the proper, approved, dietary supplement facts written on the bottle. You can add essential oils to a glass of drinking water, food, an empty capsule or place a drop under your tongue. They can be used as a dietary supplement to support many health concerns.
How do essential oils support a yoga practice?
Essential oils have been used by many different cultures and religions for centuries to help calm the mind to allow for deeper mediation and spiritual connection. The most traditional oils used for this are the wood oils which are very grounding such as cedarwood, frankincense, and sandalwood.
Each oil supports various body systems but they also have an emotional element. Some examples would be: Lavender is the oil communication and allows for emotional honesty, Roman Chamomile is the oil of spiritual purpose and enhances divine connection. You can also choose oils based on their associated chakra.
So, as yoga teachers, we can select an oil or oils for a group or private session based on the theme of the class. Say for a morning vinyasa class, you could select an energizing oil like wild orange and blend that with cooling peppermint in a diffuser. For an evening class of heart opening you could have students place a drop of geranium in their hands, rub together and inhale deeply at the start of class. Geranium is the oil of love and trust. In a home practice, you can select an oil based on your personal health or emotional needs that day.
Essential oils can be used for any style of yoga or meditation. There are a few ways I like to use them for class. I diffuse while the students enter the room or during savasana and turn off the diffuser after about 15 minutes so that nobody becomes overwhelmed with the smell. I sometimes have students add a drop to their hands and inhale deeply (reminding them to not touch their eyes after). I always do assists in class, so I sometimes add a drop to my hands before adjusting students. Oils can also be added to water in oil-safe spray bottles and be sprayed around the room at different times during the class.
Essential oil safety
Essential oils are natural but also powerful substances that need to be treated with respect. Those who are the most sensitive are children, the elderly and those who are pregnant. I typically don’t recommend using more than two or three oils per class.
For most cases, all essential oils should be diluted with a carrier oil before using topically. The stronger the oil, the more dilution it will need. Dilution does not lessen the effects of the oil but minimizes the likelihood of adverse effects. Some oils to be careful with topically are those that are spicy such as oregano, cinnamon bark and cassia. All citrus oils can cause the skin to be photosensitive for up to 24 hours, which means they can cause you to burn if applied to the skin then be exposed to the sun. Avoid touching student’s skin with citrus or blends containing citrus if using in class. I always bring a bottle of coconut oil to class in case of a reaction. You can use the carrier oil to dilute and soothe. Never use water as it will intensify the reaction.
Children can have respiratory sensitivities to oils in the menthol family such as peppermint and eucalyptus. Avoid these oils for a kid’s yoga classes and stick to diffusing mild oils like citrus, lavender and chamomile.
For prenatal yoga, women are very sensitive to scents during pregnancy. Some essential oils can actually be dangerous during pregnancy such as Clary Sage and Fennel as they can possibly cause contractions of the uterus and those that are similar to Aspirin such Wintergreen and Birch. I rarely use essential oils in a group prenatal class other than the occasional mild citrus. They can however, be a lovely addition to a private prenatal session, supporting the individual needs of the mother.
And remember less is more when it comes to essential oils!
How do we know an oil is pure and safe to use?
There are many great companies out there selling great quality oils but there is also no regulation at all. You could get a bottle of olive oil and they could call it pure lavender. Really the only way to be sure is to research the company and where it sources the oil and how it is tested for purity.
Doterra sources their oils for the highest concentration of chemical constituents, sustainability of crops and if they can help out a community in need such as the Vetiver farmers in Haiti. The oils are tested by a third party in seven different ways to ensure purity and effectiveness.
With oils you also get what you pay for. You should never see a brand that lemon is the same price as frankincense. Each oil can have a drastically different price based on how easy it is to source and produce the oil.
Always look for oils that say pure, therapeutic grade. Oils that state they are for aromatic use only should be avoided.
Where can we purchase them?
Unfortunately, Doterra is not yet available for retail in the UAE, but hopefully it will be in the near future. In the meantime, you can purchase Doterra online with a US Shop and Ship address through my website https://www.mydoterra.com/maplesugarwellness/ or email me at [email protected] for more info. Becoming a wholesale member will give you 25% off the retail price and you could earn free monthly products and credits!
Want to learn more?
Join me for AromaFlow yoga at The Hot House, Al Zeina, Abu Dhabi, Sunday evenings at 8pm (I will be away for three weeks in November 2017). This is a 60min class of chill flow paired with two essential oils each week. All levels welcome. You can find me on Facebook at Hollie Sears Yoga and Wellness and on Instagram at Holliesearswellness.
You can also download the Modern Essentials App which is specific for Doterra but shows ways to use oils to support your personal health and wellness. The book Emotions and Essential Oils, Fifth Edition is available on Amazon and a great resource for selecting oils for a yoga.