There is no doubt that living in the 21st century is stressful. Stress is lurking from everywhere. And it’s the result of our fast lives, but also the number 1 culprit for so many troubles we face in our everyday lives. And round and round the vicious circle goes. So, understandably, people are trying to find the best ways to fight this contemporary monster. We are looking for the answer in things that can help us relax and focus, things that can improve our mental health – consequently improving also our physical health. We turn to activities from the past, like hobbies and crafts that keep our hands busy, like jewellery making, knitting, woodwork, colouring…, or we dive deep into ancient practices and teachings, like meditation.
Being a part of so many different religions and cultures in many different forms, though it has gone mainstream, meditation has never actually been gone since ancient times. It seems as a very simple activity, but it’s in fact, for many people, it can be much harder to achieve than you might think. This, however doesn’t refute that meditation is simple – it’s that simplicity that makes it such a successful path towards serenity.
Fortunately, for those that find it hard to meditate, there are many things you can use to help yourself achieve the stress-melting self-awareness, mindfulness and calmness. And this is where essential oils, yoga mats, candles etc. come into play.
Essential Oils for Meditation
Scents have amazing powers over us. One of the reasons for this is that our sense of smell is the only of the five senses that has a direct connection to our brains. As a result, they provoke an emotional reaction as soon as the odour molecules reach our noses, and only after that we actually perceive the smell, and identify it. That’s exactly why aromatherapy with essential oils works. Our bodies and brains respond in incredibly positive ways to the smells coming off of essential oils, as well as to the healing properties of the plants whose essence they are.
Essential oils and blends from different plants can be used for relaxation. People use them simply by smelling them from the bottle, by applying them directly to their skin with a roller bottle, by adding them to a candle diffuser, other types of aromatherapy diffusers or vaporisers.
When it comes to meditation, these essential oils can be used as a way to help you ease in into a meditative state, or make the experience even more relaxing and enjoyable. You just have to select the perfect meditation oil for you – out of many that are believed to work in different ways towards the same goal.
According to a lot of people that meditate, the best essential oil for meditation is lavender, especially for beginners or people that are yet to learn how to manage stress. Since it’s primarily used for relieving stress-related mental and physical issues, such as anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, muscle tension etc., it’s logical that in meditation, it can make it easier for people that are struggling to let go of their worries and sit still.
For people that have already been able to calm down enough so that they can start meditating, frankincense can be the one meditation oil they are looking for. It’s the best essential oil for grounding. It’s has been used in many religions for spiritual enlightenment, which is this oil’s goal during meditation, as well. It’s also known as the essential oil that aids people straighten their awareness, their faith in themselves, while also promoting mental balance. It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, and it’s believed to relieve pain, asthma, and to improve arthritis, digestion, oral health etc.
Neroli, another oil considered to be spiritual can promote creative energy, mindfulness, courage, self-love and self-acceptance, but it can also help lower blood pressure, and relieve pain, stress and anxiety. Rose, patchouli, sandalwood, ylang ylang, cedarwood are some of the other stress-relieving essential oils used in meditation for their mental and physical health benefits.
Yoga Mats for Meditation
Even though meditation is an intimate act for which you only need your body and your mind, heaving the right “tools” to help you get there can make a very big difference. One of the most important conditions that allow us to relax, is comfort. Without comfort, it’s next to impossible for most people to relax. And this is why, though it’s not obligatory, you should consider finding a durable, high-quality yoga mat for meditation if you’ve decided to give this ancient practice a chance.
During meditation sitting on the floor is preferred over sitting on a chair or a sofa, for many reasons. In a spiritual sense, sitting up straight on the floor gives your body a connection between the earth and heaven – metaphorically connecting your physical to your spiritual existence. But, spirituality and beliefs aside, learning how to sit on the floor comfortably will be well worth it, though it might be uncomfortable at first. Sitting on the floor during meditating can help you build strength and improve your posture over time, decreasing your pain and helping you stand taller.
Providing good cushioning and padding, a high-quality yoga mat will provide you with much more comfort than a carpet, or a hard floor. Yoga mats are especially important, and again, though not obligatory, they can make a huge difference, if you are also practicing yoga, since they’ll protect you from slipping, provide you with more balance, protect your knees from the hard floor etc.
They come in different colours and patterns, but more importantly, different yoga mats are made from different materials, which means that there are different thicknesses from which you can choose and find what’s most comfortable for you.
Yoga mats can also provide you with insulation between your body and the ground, which will prevent you from losing heat. This is very important, because getting cold can be very distracting during meditation.