Like yoga, aromatherapy is a traditional form of healing, and like yoga it is holistic – it aims to work on the whole - mind, body and spirit.

Aromatherapy essential oils are the natural, fragrant liquids found in nature. These oils, also referred to as “essences,” are botanical extracts of various plant materials, and do not just come from flowers, but also from herbs, trees and various other plant materials. These essences have been used for centuries by healers.

Depending on the mix of oils, they can be soothing, and relaxing, or in contrast, cleansing and stimulating. They work very directly on the brain, bypassing our thinking processes, which is why certain smells can have such a sudden and powerful effect.

When we inhale an essential oil, their aromatic molecules enter the body via special receptors in the nose and travel directly to the centre of the brain, to a network of nerves known as the limbic area, which is responsible for memory, creativity and motivation.

In our class this week, I used a special mix of oils made up for us by an aromatherapist based on my theme of balance and harmony: sandalwood, rose, palma rosa, frankinsence, jasmine and lemon.

Before our final relaxation, we did some balances, which you might like to try at home. These include simple heel raises onto tiptoe; knee lifts; and tree in three stages, adding the arms last of all.

Another soothing and meditative balance to try is heel to toe walking up and back down the centre of your mat. The slower and more stable you are the better.

If you want to find out more about aromatherapy, please contact Adéla, who made the Balance Me spray I used in class, email ahadelle@gmail.com

Below is a reminder of the balances we practised this week.