As June brings us both Father's Day and the Summer Solstice, a powerfully Solar and purpose driven essential oil is needed. One to help us cultivate our inner warrior, while staying humble and rooted to what we know is right, just and true.
And for all that and more, doTERRA's Ginger is the perfect oil to carry us into this new season of light, heat and power.
Ginger is the Oil of Empowerment. It gifts us with purpose and the will to become fully present in our life; an active participant in every experience, both the ones that build us up and the ones that break us down.
Because just as the sun never rests - rising each day to carve it's path across the sky, shining with equal measure on days where we see the light, and on ones clouded by the struggles of circumstance - so to does our life move forward diligently. We are given the choice to become a victim of our circumstance, and be held back by the twins of self-pity and blame, or to cultivate a "warrior mentality" of personal integrity and individual choice.
We can become the active creators of our lives, the Heros in our own stories. And Ginger essential oil can help us walk that path of light and strength by clearing the way from the inside out.
Physically, Ginger is a default oil to help promote digestive health and to provide respiratory relief. Energetically, that links this spicy oil to the third Chakra - Manipura, our solar plexus, how we define ourselves and our power - and the 5th chakra - Vissudha, the throat chakra, how we communicate and express ourselves to the world. In this way, Ginger can become a tool for clearing the path towards discovering and becoming who we are truly meant to be.
So take this ancient root out of the kitchen, and begin to experiment. Diffuse it, or apply it directly over the solar plexus to encourage strength from deep within. Inhale direct from the bottle or your hands, or apply it to the lower abdomen to stabilize and ground you.
Diffuse with Frankincense to add wisdom to your fire, so that it burns with higher purpose and drive, or with Geranium to let love lead the way.
Paired with Rosemary, the Oil of Transition, Ginger can help us navigate the sometimes difficult upheaval of our life's evolution with purpose and responsibility. And together with Lime, which brings a true zest for life, Ginger jumps us in with two feet and greets life with arms open wide.
And the medicinal benefits are not to be glossed over, as they've been driving Ginger's journey around the world for over 5000 years. Originally from Southeast Asia, the value of this spice was so widely known that by the 1st century, it was already being traded throughout the Middle East and into Rome.
A tonic root for all ailments, a few drops of Ginger in warm to hot water can soothe an upset stomach and clear a congested throat. A single sharp inhale can almost immediately reduce nausea and motion sickness, and a little rubbed into the soles of the feet or the abdomen will aid digestion. Plus, it tastes delicious and has been flavoring our milks, cakes and candies since Medieval times.
In asana, Ginger becomes a wonderful oil to apply over the solar plexus before integrated core work, and the more earth-bound arm balances of the Bakasana, (crow) and Tittibhasana (firefly) families. Ginger is a root after all, so it helps us play with that balance of Earth and Fire. Also a great compliment to a deliberate and focused Warrior series practice. Because remember...
"Being a warrior is not about the act of fighting. It's about the ability, courage and commitment to end the war within oneself and not quit until it is done."
~ Richard Machowicz
"Mother's love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved.*"
Being a mother is, without a doubt, the most difficult thing I have ever done.
It's as if every ounce of my heart is out there in the world, in a whole and separate person. And that person has her own thoughts, her own opinions, her own struggles, her own journey, and most of it is completely beyond my control and, oftentimes, my understanding.
Concern for her well-being dominates all aspects of my life. I second guess literally every action I take or decision I make when it comes to her.
My life became infinitely more complex from the moment she opened her eyes.
And yet, I wouldn't change a thing about her.
But the love of a Mother can be like that - dedicated and illogical, fierce and all encompassing.
And oh, the gift of having a woman in our life who loves us like that!
Maybe it's our mother, who's love for us is beyond all comprehension.
Maybe it's a sister, or friend, or teacher, who have always held us up when we would rather fall.
Or maybe it's the Divine Mother, the Earth Mother, the Sacred Feminine, from which unconditional love and all bounty flow.
Whatever concept of "Mother" best suits our experience, Myrrh essential oil - the Oil of Mother Earth herself - can help us reconnect to that nurturing space of devoted love beyond measure.
Myrrh, like Frankincense, is an historic oil of biblical proportions, and has been a valuable trade good for over 5,000 years. Both Chinese and Ayurvedic traditions rely on Myrrh as a healing tonic, with regenerative and circulatory properties. It was commonly taken into battle by soldiers of ancient Greece and Rome as a means of healing wounds and preventing infection. And ancient Egyptians not only used Myrrh in their incense, perfumes and royal embalming techniques, but medical texts from 1550BC have been unearthed in Egypt, listing Myrrh as the preferred means of treating wounds and burns as well as respiratory issues. And even today, many natural toothpastes, powders and mouthwashes contain Myrrh, as it has long been used as a way to naturally strengthen gums and heal toothaches.
So with such a lineage to point to, it's no wonder that the physical healing power of Myrrh is well known. But how can it help and heal on an emotional level? By reconnecting us back the Mother, the source of all healing.
An extremely grounding essential oil, anointing the body with Myrrh can bring on a tremendous feeling of safety and relaxation. Like nutrient-rich colostrum from mother's first milk, Myrrh helps protect us from the harms of the world, both actual and perceived. Because nowhere is safer than in the arms of the Mother. And nowhere else do we heal quite as quickly as when we're surrounded by complete unconditional love. And as we heal, Myrrh can help us let go of fears and replace them with trust and hope, fortifying the heart to try again.
Myrrh essential oil can also help reconcile a fractured relationship with a direct maternal figure. It can foster the healing of disturbances, both the subtle and the traumatic, and nurture the soul in the process.
Likewise, Myrrh becomes a catalyst for connecting to the Divine Mother of your understanding. Gaia, Mary, Durga, Isis - whatever her name, the love remains the same. And it's difficult to feel whole without it.
In asana, Myrrh becomes a wonderful tool in a pranayama (guided breathing) practice when applied over the heart and shoulders.
For a very centering meditation, try applying to the forearms and sitting with the palms face up on the thighs.
A wonderfully loving massage oil - both for self massage or for partner bodywork like Thai Yoga Massage- Myrrh will leave the recipient feeling completely cared for, head to toe.
And a few drops onto a hot, wet towel and placed over the chest in savasana can enhance deep breathing and mental clarity.
Plus, if any muscle spasms or cramps come up after your practice, that Myrrh infused towel can do wonders for muscle relaxation.
*Quote from Erich Fromm
I write this post with the full understanding that the mother-child relationship is one of the most complex in our society, and the idea of "mother" can bring up equally complex reactions. My intent is not to gloss over these complications, but (for this purpose) to provide a simpler correlation to the term "mother" - a woman who has impacted our life for the better, or more broadly, the Divine Female essence. That is why I have chosen to capitalize the word "Mother".
"April come she will
When streams are ripe and swelled with rain"
April is a saturated month, a month of water, of flow. And not just because of those pesky "April showers."
The Earth itself is thawing, melting; hard frozen ground becomes soft fertile soil. Icy mountain streams become cascading waterfalls. Our creeks and rivers swell, and life returns.
Water is certainly on the move this month, but it's not like the swirling ethereal movement of air and space, that can sometimes leave us feeling overwhelmed and disconnected. The movement of water is much more grounded and driving. It's purposeful and full of intention.
Harness that power with the oil of motion and flow, Cypress.
Cypress is a wonderful tool this time of year to help bring stagnant energy into motion, release what's past and surrender to the flow of life.
The Cypress tree itself thrives in wetlands, and was a wood of choice in the ship building of ancient peoples. The Greeks are responsible (once again, see Marjoram) for the botanical name of this lovely evergreen tree: Cupressus sempervirens which translates to "ever living." Ancient Egyptians often made their sarcophagi out of Cypress wood, because after all, death is simply a continuation of the unending journey of the spirit.
Life is a constant state of movement, and nothing that is still will thrive for long. Cypress encourages us to release fear, which is the main culprit for those controlling tendencies that hinder our forward progress, and to flow on without any sense of compulsion.
This ability of Cypress to encourage purposeful, fluid movement can have a positive impact on our physical bodies as well. It encourages the release of toxins when applied topically over the liver and gallbladder pressure points, can ease heavy menstrual flow when massaged over the abdomen, help stop bed wetting when applied over the bladder and can even help diminish cellulite when used along with a hot compress on affected areas.
Diffuse Cypress during your asana practice to encourage productive, flowing movement. Mix with Bergamot, and an uplifting and hopeful practice will be encouraged. Mixed with Lavender, and you will find soothing, relaxing movement begins to flow. And it also makes a powerful pre-practice mat spray when mixed with distilled water and doTERRA's Elevation blend oil.
As the first buds of spring cautiously begin breaking through winter's earth, I thought an oil that encourages a softening of the heart and a restoration of trust would be the perfect compliment to our own spring awakening.
Trust is a hard thing these days. With so much misinformation and social injustice, it becomes very difficult to know where to place your trust - or even if you should place it anywhere, or on anyone, in the first place. Isn't it safer to trust no one but yourself?
No, its not safer. Because while you always risk being deceived if you trust too much, imagine the sadness and heartbreak that can come from not trusting enough. If anything, this is the time for more connection, not less. And Marjoram can help us on this path.
Packing all the healing power of it's sister oil, Oregano, but sweeter and more delicate, the name given to this lovely little green herb, literally translates to the "joy of the mountains." (a tidbit that always makes me smile)
Marjoram is the oil of connection. It helps us heal the wounds that have frozen our heart, and take those first timid steps towards re-establishing meaningful relationships by thawing open the pathways to the heart.
A symbol of happiness to ancient Greeks and Romans, bridal garlands were often woven out of Marjoram, which was seen as sacred to Aphrodite, the Goddess of love. It was believed that she used sweet marjoram in her love potions to bring lovers together, and often wore them as wreaths in her hair.
The culinary uses for Marjoram extend far beyond the cuisine of Greece and Italy. It's subtle, fruity nature is often a main ingredient in herb blends in France; it is commonly used to flavor sauces and sausages in Northern Europe, and in Germany it is known as the "goose herb," as one simply cannot roast a proper goose without it.
Aside from helping us learn to trust others and perfectly seasoning poultry, Marjoram can help calm the nervous system when inhaled and brings an instant lift to the spirit. My husband uses Marjoram and Frankincense daily, as an uplifting beard conditioner.
When diffused, Marjoram helps support a healthy respiratory system, and when taken internally, it can help support a healthy cardiovascular and immune system.
Paired with Lavender, it makes a lovely oil to diffuse at night to help promote a calm and peaceful sleep, and can be safely applied to a fussy child's feet to encourage rest.
Partnered with Clary Sage and applied topically to the abdomen, Marjoram can help bring muscle relaxation during your menstrual flow. And it is also be a helpful oil for any type of massage or bodywork, since it not only soothes tired muscles and relieves stiffness in the joints, but it would also encourage an increased sense of trust between practitioner and recipient.
So it's no wonder that in asana, Marjoram becomes the perfect oil to apply to the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet before any partner or Acroyoga work. Because trust, in those instances, is paramount.
(Just be sure to rub it into the skin well before attempting anything too drastic. Because while you can certainly put your trust in Marjoram, well oiled hands and feet don't always make for the best Acro partners.)
And if you take only one thing away from this, let it be...
"The best way to find out if you can trust somebody, is to trust them."
~ Ernest Hemingway
(So first, a disclaimer: there are very few things in the world that I love more than the scent of roses.
I work with roses on a regular basis, creating custom malas and rosaries out of clay made from their petals @theroseandthelotus
I have a collection of books on the rich history of roses, on roses in art and poetry and tips on growing them organically - which I attempt every spring, to varying levels of success.
But please, read on for my completely unbiased opinion on Rose oil)
My love of roses runs deep, so needless to say, I can think of no other oil to offer up in this month of love than the beautiful NEW Rose Touch from doTERRA.
The connection of roses to love is so deeply ingrained in our human psyche, that it's almost instinctual.
An ancient flower, (30 million year old fossils have been unearthed in China and North America) the rose was first cultivated in ancient Greece and was quickly associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of Love and Beauty.
In the 7th century BC, when describing the goddess' most sacred grove, the great Greek poetess Sappho wrote:
And with roses
The whole place is shadowed
A sacred flower that casts its shadow at the heart of love's most inner sanctuary? Quite a start, huh? But so begins our epic love story with the rose.
But it's not just beauty, or Aphrodite's botanical tastes, that make me love Rose oil so much. It's this beauty's ability to heal, uplift and inspire the heart that makes it the perfect oil for the heart opening of February.
February is an ideal time to focus on opening the heart, and not (just) because Hallmark tells us to. But rather because, in most of North America, the cold weight of winter is bearing down on our shoulders, making us physically collapse into our heart space. Our shoulders are slumped as we are constantly drawing in our energy in to maintain warmth. We can feel smaller, more diminished somehow.
Heart opening work is helpful in February to counter all that, from a both a physical and emotional level. Plus, any excuse to celebrate the power of love is welcome in my book.
As the "Queen of Oils," Rose is the oil of divine love - the very essence of love, of Love itself, with a capital L. A love that is unconditional and unwavering.
It stimulates our desire to walk the path of the heart; a route filled with grace, that teaches the strength of gentleness and encourages harmonious actions.
In asana, apply Rose oil to your heart at the start of a deep backbending practice, and go from heart opening to heart awakening.
Or roll it onto your forearms in seated meditation and focus on opening to Love in all its manifestations.
Off the mat, Rose is a wonderful oil to help manage depression, especially postpartum. It makes for a decadent but highly effective skincare addition, to both increase skin suppleness and clear acne.
And, to no one's surprise, Rose oil makes for a powerful aphrodisiac, especially when paired with the more masculine energy of Sandalwood.
"The Rose speaks of love silently, in a language known only to the Heart."
We are always so full of good intentions in January. Resolutions abound, and we are all seeking ways to be better, to do better.
Fast forward a couple weeks, maybe 3 months at most, and where have all those good intentions gone? No doubt they've been swept away by the current of our everyday habits, which gradually but ceaselessly erode our commitment to changing, instead seeking a smooth return to the status quo. And we give up.
But if we dig a little deeper, we'll find that at the source of each of those habits is a thought. And if we can change our thoughts, we can change our habits. And if we can change our habits, then all our good intentions might actually amount to something; a positive lasting change, that leads us to wherever it is we want to be.
However, changing our thoughts, especially ones we've been committed to thinking for years and years, is easier said than done. That's when we have to examine the why behind wanting the change. Why are we setting this as our intention? Why do we seek this change? What is our motivation? When we gather a sense of the truth in our purpose, actual lasting change becomes not only possible, but probable.
And since Roman Chamomile is considered the Oil of Spiritual Purpose, I can think of no better oil to infuse my days now, at the turning of the year.
Used by ancient Romans to give them courage and clarity of mind in times of war, Roman Chamomile supports an individual in discovering their true purpose AND finding the courage to live it.
By easing the overactive "ego-mind," it can assist us in shedding the meaningless, and bring focus to the fulfilling.
It reminds us to not be defined by our past experiences. We are so much more than the sum of what we have done. We are more than our "life situation," our relationships, our career, our finances.
We are divine energy in motion; living, breathing perfection. Roman Chamomile can remind us of that, and give us the courage to act like it.
In asana, Roman Chamomile can serves two purposes...
~ Swept over the third eye in seated meditation to help center our body, clear our mind and clarify our purpose
~ Rubbed onto the soles of the feet and the pulse points during savasana can take our relaxation to a place of deep and all encompassing peace.
"There is no passion to be found in playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."
Life, like baseball, is hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the hard that makes it great. And the only way to make the "great" part work for you, is by tackling Life head on. Free from fears and burdens, and armed with a passion that burns like the light of a thousand stars.
So go ahead. Go do that.
Like everything worth having in life, it is easer said than done. Easier wished for than accomplished. But the best way to begin is by believing that you can. Believing in your inherent potential and capacity for greatness. A greatness that's judged as equally by it's outcome as by the way in which it was achieved. Anything done in love and with dedication is a success, because it inspires others to do the same.
Asanas that bring out a playful and spontaneous spirit will serve you well in your quest to discover your soul's passion. Variations on parsva bakasana (side crow) like scissored legs, or the lovely fallen angel pose are wonderful ways to find a sense of suspension in infinite grace. Ardha Chandrasana (half moon) with the sugarcane pose variation (Chapasana) allows the heart to open fearlessly into the unknown. And Goddess pose with eagle arms (garudasana) is a call to the Muses to refill your cup with inspiration and beauty.
For their part doTERRA has harnessed the naturally warming and renewing qualities of some of nature's most delicious herbs and spices for their Inspiring Blend, Passion. A mix of Cardamon, Cinnamon, Ginger, Clove and Vanilla, with some Sandalwood and Jasmine sprinkled in, it's impossible to take a single whiff of this fragrance and not feel a sudden burst of clarity and inspiration. Add to your pulse points or diffuse throughout the day to overcome burdens and blockages, boredom and disinterest, and begin to live your life with the passion it deserves.
"Be fearless in pursuit of what sets your soul on fire."
"Nothing will work unless you do."
The hardest part of any journey is the start. Fears and apprehensions can grip us, make it seem impossible to take that first step. Perhaps we are used to disappointments, perhaps we've grown cynical, doubting our potential, (and the potential of others) to achieve greatness.
But sometimes just starting isn't enough. Sometimes we start with the best and truest convictions, a direct pathway to our dreams, and then Life comes in. Life with a capital L, will knock us off course, throw constant obstacles in our way, or barring all else, simply try and wear us down with Time. We become lethargic, weary, frustrated, and the idea of continuing on is implausible.
But life moves on, and we must move with it. Movement is the constant in life, nothing that thrives is still and stagnant. And so we must always be moving forward, moving with the highs and lows, the ebbs and flows. Because if we don't keep going, keep swimming, we drown.
So whether you need a jump start, or a reboot, asana can give us the boost we need. Surya Namasakar (sun salutations) is one of the best ways to energize the body, focus the mind and bring a sense of intention and gratitude to the heart. A set of 10-12 poses practiced repetitively, this invigorating sequence is a full practice in and of itself. It targets all major muscle groups, improves blood circulation and can be tailored to serve any body. Practiced at a vigorous pace, sun salutations are a full cardiovascular workout. Practiced slower and steadier, they can help the body tap into a deeper, more rooted strength.
Add some of doTERRA's Motivate blend, either rubbed into the soles of the feet or diffused during your practice, and the power to motivate and invigorate is amplified. An engaging blend of citruses and minty herbs, like Peppermint, Clementine, Coriander, Basil and Lemon Balm, this Encouraging Blend uplifts the spirit with energy, drive and focus. Diffuse it while studying, driving long distances, or exercising, or apply to your pulse points before a big event where a confident body, heart and mind would make all the difference. And let it become a go-to tool when life knocks you down, wears you out or breaks your heart. Use all the tools you can to help get yourself up, brush yourself off, and begin again.
"Our greatest weakness lies in our giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time."
"Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy, and keep choosing it every day."
It's hard to look at the state of the world and find reasons for joy. We are constantly inundated by images of war and violence, pain and suffering, injustice and incompetence, to a greater degree than humankind has ever been before. Through the lightning technology of virtual connection, we now have a front row seat to every atrocity, every tragedy, all over the world, at all times. It's too much for our brains, and certainly too much for our hearts.
But in reality, our lack of joy is not the fault of these awful truths. Our lack of joy comes from us allowing them to dull our inner light. To steal our energy, our power, and cover us under a blanket of inescapable darkness. We cannot change all the ills of the world, but we can change how we react to them. We can learn to choose happiness. To see the good as well as the bad, because there is so much more good. The kindness of our neighbors, the sweetness in our children, the beauty of nature, and to be grateful. And when we find gratitude, the joy arises from within, burning brighter and stronger, lifting up those around us, and hopefully leading to a world where choosing happiness doesn't take so much effort.
In asana, playing with rooted heart and side body opening can invite space around the heart and increase our capacity for joy. Exalted warrior and peaceful warrior, variations of virabhadrasana I and II respectively, are wonderful options to play with the balance of rooting and rising. As are sphinx pose (bhujangasana on the forearms) or it's light and playful sister, pincha mayurasana (forearm balance).
Nature also offers up tools to lift our spirits and warm our hearts. And doTERRA harnesses these beautifully in their delightful blend of citruses and spices, fittingly called Cheer. This Uplifting Blend of Wild Orange, Clove, Lemon, Nutmeg, Vanilla, Ginger and Cinnamon, is warm and inviting, encouraging lifted spirits and bringing sunshine to the darkest seeming days. Placing a couple drops into the palms of your hands, rubbing them together, then cupping your nose and mouth and inhaling deeply can lessen the weight of despair and sadness, inspire hope, and help open the pathway to gratitude. Because gratitude is the key to living a life in joy.
"The root of joy is gratefulness. It is not joy that makes us grateful, it is gratitude that makes us joyful."
"Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it."
Forgiveness is a tricky thing. Anger and resentment, hatred and bitterness, can build impenetrable walls around the heart that cannot be breached by outside forces. They stifle joy, crush hope and continue to break our heart over and over again. And the only way to stop the cycle and break through those walls, is with a revolution from deep within their barricades.
Forgiveness comes from the deepest recesses of our heart. It takes a great deal of inner strength and self awareness to love those who have hurt us deeply, but that is what true forgiveness is. An ability to see past the action that has wounded us, to the imperfect and flawed person behind those actions. To offer them compassion, and attempt an understanding that, in most cases, our suffering was not their primary intention, no matter how it may seem from our perspective.
Because we are all imperfect and flawed. And we all deserve compassion and forgiveness.
Again, easier said then done as forgiveness cannot be forced. And when you are wronged, it can hurt so deeply it may seem like an impossibility. But it will come, when the heart is ready. When the body has learned to let go and be vulnerable again. When we can once again trust, and believe in the goodness of others. And for that, our greatest tool is time.
But of course, yoga can help us on this journey. Gentle backbends like standing camel pose (ustrasana) or heart pose (anahatasana) invite the heart to open from a rooted and grounded place. And a supported, heart opening, supta badha konasana (reclined soles of the feet together, bolster along the spine) will allow the body to release any attachments to a negative past and re-establish trust once more.
Adding some of doTERRA's Forgive oil on the pulse points and heart center, or diffusing a few drops as needed throughout the day, can help encourage the heart to reopen gently and slowly, like the warming sun on the first buds of Spring. A soothing blend of trees and herbs like Spruce, Juniper, Arborvitae, Thyme, Myrrh and Bergamot, these oils help calm the emotions in times of stress, and foster a sense of renewal, understanding and tolerance. Because the one we best serve by offering forgiveness, is ourselves.
"Forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace."
~Jonathan Lockwood Huie
I love incorporating doTerra essential oils ~ and all things holistic and natural ~ into my life, my home, my practice and my classes.