Since smell is so closely connected to our emotional state and our memory, we can use aromatherapy as a therapeutic intervention any time of the day. Today, let’s look at aromatherapy, ayurveda, and addressing trauma.

Why it works: Aromatherapy is an immediate attitude adjustment that affects the limbic system of the brain, a set of regions that regulate fear, anxiety, memory, and other processes. In Ayurveda, aromatherapy is valued for its easy-to-use positive benefits, without side effects.

Ways to use aromatherapy:

  • Set up a diffuser in your home. I have two going at all times: one by the front door to greet my guests and myself when I come home, and one in my bedroom.
  • Spray scents on your pillow to encourage sleep.
  • Add a couple of drops of essential oils to the soles of your feet for immediate absorption and to calm the nervous system.
  • I like to put peppermint in and behind my ears before a workout. I also put Breathe oil blend from dōTerra under my nose before an outdoor walk or workout.
  • Use a roller ball of aromatherapy oils on the inside of the wrists, the neck, or around the chest. I use Whisper oil blend by dōTerra or straight-up sandalwood.
  • Place a few drops on a cotton ball to have beside you on your yoga mat or to smell during meditation. Tuck it inside your clothing.
  • Spray your yoga mat with diluted essential oils. Just make sure you don’t slip!
  • Doshic Effects of Aromatherapy
  • In general, grounding, earthy scents are calming to the vata dosha: vetiver, sandalwood, patchouli, nag champa, frankincense, and palo santo.
  • Sweet and cooling scents are calming to the pitta dosha: rose, jasmine, peppermint, and lavender.
  • Uplifting and stimulating scents are balancing to the kapha dosha: rosemary, citrus, and cinnamon.
  • I use eucalyptus in the mornings, lavender and patchouli at night, and spray my bedding down daily.
  • I also like to keep a spray bottle with essential oils added to a facial toner in my fridge and spray my face a few times a day. Just make sure you keep your eyes closed until the oil settles and keep the spray away from your eyes.


Beth Shaw is the president and founder of YogaFit Training Systems. The leader in mind-body education, YogaFit has trained more than 200,000 fitness instructors on six continents.

Now Shaw is an internationally known fitness expert and the author of Beth Shaw’s YogaFit and the publisher of Angles magazine. Shaw and her company have been showcased in numerous fitness magazines as well as Oprah’s O magazine, TimeMoreEntrepreneurYoga JournalGlamourSelf and USA Today. She has also been featured on CNBC, CNN, NBC, CBS, E Style, Channel, Showtime, and Donny Deutsch’s Big Idea.

To purchase a copy of Healing Trauma with Yoga: Go from Surviving to Thriving with Mind-body Techniques by Beth Shaw, you can go here. You can also buy one wherever fine books are sold.

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