Feeling frazzled? Overwhelmed? Pause for a moment and take a deep breath. Inhale slowly in through your nose, hold it in for a moment, then exhale out with a long sigh.
If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, this is something you might hear the instructor say quite often. Why? Because in order to let the body relax and become more flexible, the mind needs to release the mental tension first. When we slow down our breathing, it directly affects the parasympathetic nervous system. This is your body’s program that tells the brain it doesn’t have to be in flight or fight mode anymore – it’s time to rest and digest. In other words, it helps to slow the heart rate, regulate digestion, normalize glandular function, and ultimately lower cortisol levels. Simply taking a few deep breaths in a moment of stress can make a huge difference at the end of the day.
But what if deep breathing could be made even more effective? You might have been in a yoga class, or even at the spa, when your nose is greeted with the pleasant aroma of terpenes. Lavender is commonly incorporated in yoga classes to aid relaxation, especially at the end during the final relaxation pose, also known as savasana. Savasana roughly translates to corpse pose, when you can let everything go. The body is allowed to totally surrender for several minutes with a conscious opportunity to integrate all the benefits of the previous more physically vigorous postures. It’s common for the instructor to hand out lavender-infused eye pillows, or perhaps use an infused oil to scent the room as she helps the students ease into a deep meditative state.
The main terpene in lavender is linalool, which is commonly associated with a sense of calm and restfulness. But there are many other terpenes that can enhance your yoga practice, like limonene to invoke cheerfulness or nerolidol to open the heart chakra. With terpenes and yoga, you can connect to a deeper state of consciousness and support the overall balance of mind and body. Try it today and give yourself the chance to unwind and be kind!