how to use incense, scents & essential oils in yoga studios

How To Use Incense, Scents & Essential Oils In Yoga Studios?

Smell is one of the most potent human senses associated with positive and negative emotional responses. It is usual for yoga and meditation practitioners, in both professional settings and at home, to use aromatherapy as part of their practice. A wood wick diffuser, an incense stick, an essential oil candle, or a burner that uses oil droplets are all viable options.

The culture of Northern India is credited with pioneering the origins of Yoga more than five thousand years ago. The Vedic priests, the Brahmans, first utilised it in the Rig Veda, a collection of books containing mantras, rites, and hymns. Aromatherapy was used as part of these yogic ceremonies. The scent was widely recognised as a potent medium for achieving a mystical state.

Brainwaves Frequency

It is thought that the most beneficial brainwaves for mental and physical health occur during the Gamma state, which is reached during intense meditation. Researchers have shown that meditation is an effective way to reduce mental clutter like worry and anxiety. This heightened awareness may last for days after a meditative practice has ended.  The two sides of the brain work together more effectively, leading to improved creative thinking and expanded imagination. Gamma fields can be thought of as a state of bliss, as their presence causes the release of endorphins.

Is there an odour, then? Every scent we experience “talks” to our brain uniquely. According to scientific research, different fragrances evoke different brainwave patterns.

For instance:

  • The aroma of lavender stimulates alpha brain waves;
  • Jasmine increases beta brain waves, causing a calm but attentive and clear frame of mind;
  • Patchouli, musk, and sandalwood stimulate theta and gamma brain waves, making them the perfect scents to wear when meditating;

Aromas like cedarwood, frankincense, and palo santo have all been employed for ages in religious and spiritual contexts. The ancient practitioners chose the most visually beautiful species without any scientific basis, yet they were effective nonetheless. We don’t need a scientist to know which aroma will benefit us, just like sick animals instinctively know which plant will heal them. Your meditation or spiritual practice will benefit from whatever scent puts you in a good mood, so choose wisely!

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Only Natural!

Natural smells only have a psychological and physiological impact, according to research. Artificial fragrances will never be able to replace natural ones because their molecular structures are incompatible with our cell receptors. 

Only smell directly connects to the limbic system among the five senses. Since the limbic system is linked to the centres of the brain that regulate physiological functions like heart rate, blood pressure, stress, breathing, hormone balance, and memory, natural smells can work wonders on our bodies. Aromatherapy is effective because the natural ingredients are breathed and affect the brain, regardless of whether or not the individual can detect the odour.

Essential Oils Vs. Incense In Yoga Studios

Your yoga instructor may occasionally ignite incense sticks to enhance the atmosphere. They have a strong odour and can keep burning for hours. You won’t just see them at yoga studios; they’re also common in martial arts dojos and other related settings. 

While incense may be more common, essential oils have several health benefits. Reasons why are listed below:

  • Studies show that incense smoke is bad for your lungs. 
  • The subtle fragrances of essential oils add to the relaxing atmosphere of a yoga practice. 
  • Essential oils can be used to perfume a whole space with only a single drop. 

A Guide To Purchasing Incense For Yoga Studios

Here are some pointers to consider while shopping for incense rather than essential oils:

Purchase Genuine Incense Sticks For Your Yoga Studio

It would help if you only bought unflavoured sticks that have not been tampered with. The fragrance from two hours of burning pure sticks might linger much longer. They don’t waste oil as many incense sticks do, and they don’t give off too much smoke.

Avoid Purchasing Incense That Smells When It’s Not Lit

You shouldn’t be able to smell the incense you buy before you light it. Pick up some incense sticks from the shop and give them a whiff to see if the statement holds. Is there a potent scent coming from them? Then it’s best to stay away from them. The greatest incense sticks release a scent once they’re lighted and then smoke. 

More Advice For Purchasing Incense For Your Yoga Studio

Additional guidance on selecting the best incense for your yoga studio is below.

  • A little “cloud” of incense smoke should fill the yoga studio and prepare the space for practice. 
  • You need help understanding how the incense will smell once it’s lighted in your studio by smelling it dry in the shop. 
  • Sniff the incense packaging to ensure it doesn’t have an overwhelming aroma before lighting it. It will be unpleasant for your class if it has a strong odour. Ideally, the incense you purchase would have no discernible odour when unwrapped but would provide a pleasant scent if burnt.

Warning: The incense smoke should not be directed at the kids. Pure smoke is bad for the lungs, and they’ll be breathing it in. Once the incense smoke has mixed with the air and spread throughout the room, the benefits will only be felt. 

Essential Oils And Their Benefits For Yoga Studios

The harmful effects of smoke have reduced the usage of incense in yoga studios, notwithstanding its historical popularity. The smoke turns off many pupils, and would rather use essential oils with a more natural aroma. Plant extractions yield highly concentrated essential oils, including roots, flowers, and stems. They are natural and can improve your pupils’ emotional and mental health. These oils are good for your skin and can help ease muscle pain and boost your spiritual health.  

Essential oils’ primary advantage is that they improve the atmosphere in a studio without posing any health risks to those working there. One bottle of essential oil should last for around a month with regular use. Depending on how often you apply it, you may go through more bottles as a yoga instructor than your students.

Essential Oils’ Health Benefits

The aroma of essential oils is becoming the norm in yoga studios.  In contrast to the incense banned from yoga studios, essential oils offer positive health effects and can be used anywhere. 

Essential oils have several positive effects on human health, including the following:

  • The use of essential oils has been shown to aid in the treatment of cancer, as well as skin problems, migraines, respiratory problems, and heart problems.
  • Essential oils have been shown to benefit the immune system and general well-being. 
  • In addition to benefiting from practising in a pleasant atmosphere, your students’ health will improve the more they attend your courses.

Only add essential oils to your yoga lessons at the studio once you’ve tried them at home to see whether you like them. Your time together can be amplified with the help of essential oils. You should get ten different bottles and see which ones you like most.

Applying the oils to the mat is a great way to test their durability. You can spray or diffuse the oils without worrying about any stains.,The usage of various essential oils varies. Varied essential oils have varied qualities and will elicit different responses from students. Some essential oils are good for relieving headaches, while others might promote restful sleep in children. The small size of essential oil bottles reflects the difficulty and rarity of their production. But that also means they pack quite a punch. 

Essential oils can transform a space with just a few drops. However, some essential oils should never be applied directly to the skin due to the risk of an allergic reaction. Select oils that won’t trigger allergies if you often apply them to your students. However, rather than putting the oils directly on the students’ wrists, it is recommended that they be used on the mats or sprayed around the classroom.

How To Use Aromatherapy In A Yoga Studio

There are several ways in which you can incorporate essential oils into your yoga classes. Essential oils have various uses, including topical application, diffusing, room spraying, and cleaning.

Application To Skin

A single drop of oils is required to infuse oneself with fragrance for the day. Spread it evenly over your skin after applying. The neck, the space behind the ears, the wrist, the temples, and the forehead are good places to apply oils. If you apply it, you should only be exposed to diluted oil. You’ll need a carrier oil that mixes well with the primary oil to dilute it. 

The best oils to dilute essential oils with are coconut and almond. Oil is typically applied on pupils’ wrists by teachers. Students with sensitive skin or disorders like eczema should perform a skin patch test before using the oil. Put some on their hand, and let them wait a minute or two. If they don’t notice any effects after applying a small amount, it should be fine to apply a larger dose.

How To Use Diy Sprays To Apply Essential Oils

Essential oils can be applied directly from the container, although spray versions are available for purchase or can be easily crafted at home. You can also construct a spray using your prefered fragrance or combine several fragrances to create your blend.

Here’s how it works:

  • Fill up an empty spray bottle with water. 
  • Drop 10 to 20 drops of your essential oil into the bottle. 
  • After mixing, give it 24 hours to rest. 

You’ll then have a spray that won’t stick to your yoga mats and can be used all over the studio.

If your essential oil has cleaning capabilities, your homemade spray can double as a mat cleaner.

Using Diffusers To Apply Essential Oils

Since the diffuser can be turned on and off at the beginning of each yoga session, it quickly replaces candles as the technique of choice for dispersing aromas in yoga studios. Inexpensive, diffusers can be used in any yoga studio. A few drops of your chosen essential oil are taken by the diffuser and dispersed throughout the room. Humidity in a yoga studio is crucial. Therefore, these machines combine the oil with water. 

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Alternative: Candles Made With Essential Oils

Candles infused with essential oils are a popular substitute for incense and bottle diffusers. These candles have a powerful fragrance since they are drenched in essential oils before being sold. Most essential oil candles are inexpensive and make a safer option to burn incense or essential oils straight from the container. Only non-toxic candles should be used since the oil will be in contact with the flame.

Exercise Extra Care When Using Essential Oils

If you’re looking for a safer alternative to incense for your yoga studio, consider using essential oils instead. But it would help if you still were careful when utilising them. Only use one or two drops if you wish to utilise them undiluted. Be sure to dilute the oils before using them for cleaning, or your mat may become discoloured. Added cautions with essential oils are as follows.

  • If you are not utilising a diffuser or candle by hand, be cautious with the amounts you apply. 
  • Students with respiratory conditions like asthma may be adversely affected by prolonged exposure to essential oils. 
  • Some of the students may have sensitivities to essential oils. Make sure you check with your class before using any essential oils.
  • Oils used on students should be diluted with water or a carrier before application.


Aromatherapy is often done in yoga schools because it is a powerful way to get into a mystical state. The first people to use aromatherapy were the Brahmans, who wrote about it in the Rig Veda. This is where yoga began. The Gamma state, which is reached through deep meditation, has the best brainwaves for your emotional and physical health. Different smells make your brainwaves behave in different ways, and natural smells can affect both your mind and body.

Strong-smelling incense sticks are often used in martial arts dojos and other places. But essential oils have a number of health perks, like lowering the risk of lung disease and making a room feel more calm. Using real incense sticks is important for a yoga studio’s health because they don’t waste oil and give off less smoke.

When buying incense, it’s important to get real, unflavoured sticks and to stay away from incense that smells even when it’s not lit. Children shouldn’t breathe in incense smoke because pure smoke can hurt their lungs. Essential oils come from the extracts of plants. They are natural and can improve your mental and emotional health, as well as the health of your skin and mind. One bottle of essential oil should last about a month if it is used every day, and there are many ways in which essential oils can help yoga schools.

Essential oils are becoming more common in yoga schools. They can be used anywhere and are good for your health. Cancer, skin problems, headaches, breathing problems, and heart problems can all be helped by them. They are also good for the defence system and the body as a whole. The health of students will get better if they take yoga classes. To use essential oils in yoga schools, you should first try them at home and pick the ones you like best. Putting the oils on the mat is a great way to see how long they last and how well they work.

Different essential oils can be put on the skin, diffused, sprayed around a room, or used to clean. Spread one drop of essential oil evenly over the neck, the space behind the ears, the wrist, the temples, and the brow. Dilute the oil with a carrier oil that goes well with the main oil. Coconut and olive oils are the best ones to mix with water.

Essential oils can be put in diffusers, which can be turned on and off at the start of each yoga class. Diffusers spread essential oils around the room, making sure there is enough moisture in the studio. With their strong scent, candles made with essential oils are a popular alternative to incense and bottle diffusers.

Be extra careful when using essential oils. Only use one or two drops pure, and dilute the oils before using them to clean. Long-term contact with essential oils could be bad for students with breathing problems like asthma, and some students may be sensitive to essential oils.

Content Summary

  • Smell plays a significant role in evoking emotional responses.
  • Aromatherapy is common in yoga and meditation practices.
  • Wood wick diffusers, incense sticks, and essential oil candles are popular methods of aromatherapy.
  • Yoga originated in Northern India over five thousand years ago.
  • Aromatherapy was a part of the early yogic ceremonies in ancient India.
  • The Gamma brainwave state is linked to intense meditation.
  • Gamma waves trigger endorphin release and promote well-being.
  • Different fragrances can stimulate various brainwave patterns.
  • Lavender promotes alpha waves, while jasmine enhances beta waves.
  • Cedarwood, frankincense, and palo santo have spiritual significance.
  • Natural fragrances affect our physiology due to their compatibility with cell receptors.
  • Only the sense of smell directly connects with the limbic system.
  • The limbic system regulates functions like heart rate, breathing, and memory.
  • Incense sticks are popular in yoga studios and martial arts dojos.
  • Essential oils offer health benefits beyond creating a relaxing atmosphere.
  • Incense smoke can be harmful to the lungs.
  • Genuine, unflavoured incense sticks are the best choice for yoga studios.
  • Quality incense sticks should not emit a strong odour until lit.
  • Essential oils are a favoured alternative to incense in modern yoga studios.
  • Essential oils are extracted from plants, including their roots, flowers, and stems.
  • They can enhance emotional, mental, and spiritual health.
  • Essential oils pose no health risks when used in yoga studios.
  • Essential oils have proven benefits, including treating certain ailments like migraines.
  • Before introducing essential oils in studios, instructors should test them personally.
  • Essential oils can be applied to yoga mats without staining.
  • Some essential oils can trigger allergic reactions when applied directly to the skin.
  • Essential oils can be applied topically, diffused, sprayed, or used for cleaning.
  • Coconut and almond oils are popular choices for diluting essential oils.
  • DIY sprays can be created by mixing essential oils with water.
  • Diffusers are replacing candles as a preferred method of dispersing aromas.
  • Diffusers mix essential oils with water, aiding studio humidity.
  • Essential oil-infused candles are an alternative to direct burning.
  • Only non-toxic candles should be used in yoga studios.
  • Excessive or undiluted use of essential oils can pose risks.
  • Students with respiratory conditions may be sensitive to certain essential oils.
  • It’s essential to communicate with students before using any aromatherapy products.
  • For safety, essential oils should be diluted before being applied to the skin.
  • Aromatherapy has been historically significant in the yoga tradition.
  • Patchouli, musk, and sandalwood are ideal scents for meditation.
  • Ancient practitioners used specific aromas without a scientific basis.
  • Only natural smells can truly impact human psychology and physiology.
  • Artificial fragrances can’t replicate the effects of natural ones.
  • Genuine incense sticks release their scent once lit.
  • Essential oils have grown in popularity due to concerns about incense smoke.
  • Essential oils provide a range of health benefits without the risks associated with smoke.
  • The aroma of essential oils is becoming a staple in yoga studios.
  • Some essential oils have therapeutic properties and can treat various conditions.
  • It’s possible to blend multiple essential oils to create custom fragrances.
  • One must be cautious when selecting oils to ensure they don’t cause allergies.
  • Essential oils can transform a yoga studio’s atmosphere with just a few drops.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can Scents Affect Your Mood?

The brain might react to certain scents, but odours can influence moods. In one study, people exposed to natural plant odours were calmer, alert, and chipper than those in an odour-free environment.

What Scents Are Used In Yoga?

The standard essential oils at yoga studios include rose oil, lavender, frankincense, sandalwood, patchouli, peppermint, lemon, orange, and cedarwood.

What Are The Benefits Of Aroma Yoga?

You will gain more awareness of your postures and alignments, feel the interconnection between different body parts, and seize greater control of your physical and mental well-being through breathing. With all these, you will feel stronger, both physically and mentally.

Why Do You Use Essential Oils In Yoga?

Using essential oils for yoga can be hugely helpful in so many ways. They’re great for setting an intention for your practice and will help deepen your mind-body connection.

Why Do Scents Make Us Happy?

These moments of nostalgia occur because our olfactory response is directly linked to the limbic system, the emotional centre of our brain. The limbic system is where emotions and memories are processed, as well as the perception of scent.