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How To Listen To Your Body & Give It What It Needs

We eat out of boredom. We exercise for vanity. We chase deadlines at work. And we sacrifice sleep to mindlessly scroll through the phone. This is the uninspiring and appalling reality we live in. Our bodies face it every day. And it has got to stop, before our bodies stop first.

Our bodies communicate with us daily through subtle signs, nudging our subconscious with a little twinge of pain here or an unexpected flare-up there.

With how preoccupied we are these days, it's easy to overlook the signals our bodies send us. However, learning to listen to our bodies is crucial to know what our bodies need to function at its best.

One key reason to listen to our bodies is that each person has unique needs.

Our bodies are remarkable machines. They constantly talk to us, giving valuable insights into our physical, emotional, and mental states. When we tune in to our bodies through mindfulness or meditation, we can find imbalances, deficiencies, or areas that need attention. 

Most importantly, we can find them before they become serious. 

Ignoring our body's cues can have detrimental consequences, such as chronic fatigue, digestive issues, weakened immunity, and even mental health challenges. In contrast, by deeply connecting with our bodies, we can gain much wisdom. We can also embrace a personal but holistic approach to health.

The “Pure Affirmation Healing Journey” pop-up event jointly organized by Singaporean wellness and gifting brands Innerfyre Co. and Freedom Flames aims to support this approach by providing an immersive sensory experience through aromatherapy and meditative yoga – an amalgamation of scent and movement to promote better health and well-being.

What Deprives The Human Body?

There are many reasons for our bodies to falter at unwelcome times. Two common reasons are exposure to physical stress, and emotional and environmental influences. Some other culprits include:

  • Lack Of Proper Nutrition: A diet lacking in essential nutrients can lead to deficiencies and imbalances that manifest in various ways, such as fatigue, poor concentration, and weakened immunity.
  • Chronic Stress: Prolonged exposure to stress can take a toll on our bodies, disrupting hormonal balance, compromising sleep quality, and contributing to conditions like anxiety and depression.
  • Sedentary Lifestyle: Slouching over a desk and a lack of physical activity can lead to a host of issues, including muscle weakness, poor circulation, and an increased risk of chronic diseases.
  • Environmental Toxins: Exposure to pollutants, chemicals, and other harmful substances can overwhelm our body's detoxification systems, leading to inflammation and cellular damage.
  • Poor Sleep Habits: Inadequate or disrupted sleep can have far-reaching consequences, affecting everything from cognitive function to metabolic health and emotional well-being.

A barrage of these stressors usually leads our bodies to scream out using ways it is most familiar with: Discomfort, pain, fatigue, or crumbling emotional resilience — if unlucky, we might even face all this at once.

Photo by Jacob Lund

Keeping a journal or a daily log of physical, emotional, and mental states could help find patterns. They show links between the body's needs and life. But, to connect with our bodies, we can turn to two powerful tools: The ancient arts of aromatherapy and yoga.

Combining purposeful scents with the practice of yoga can create a potent synergy for nurturing the mind, body, and spirit. Yoga poses, or asanas, offer numerous physical and mental benefits, while scents are valuable allies that can enhance and complement the holistic experience.

Did you know that certain scents can be paired with specific yoga poses? Together, they amplify the other’s effects and create a more immersive and transformative practice. 

Grounding yoga poses combined with earthy scents like cedarwood or vetiver, for example, can promote a sense of stability and connection to the present moment. Forward folds in yoga, such as the seated forward fold, work best with calming scents like lavender or chamomile. These scents help relaxation and introspection during these restorative poses.

Aromatic Scents and Yoga Asanas

Photo by Tzido from Getty Images

Scents and Yoga Poses for Sleep

Achieving restorative sleep is crucial if we are to regain some control of optimal body function. Seeing as many of us lack sleep, creating a calming routine to promote better sleep quality begins with turning off the phone, and incorporating relaxing aromatic essential oils into our bedtime routine instead.

Scents like lavender and chamomile are known for their soothing and relaxing properties, making them ideal choices for promoting restful sleep.

Along with these scents, add gentle movements to lull you into a peaceful state of mind and body, priming you for a rejuvenating night's sleep.

  • Child's Pose (Balasana): This gentle forward fold can help release tension in the back, shoulders, and neck, promoting a sense of relaxation.

Instructions: While sitting on the floor, relax and lower the forehead to the ground, level with knees; the arms can be stretched overhead with the palms on the floor, or stacked under the forehead; hold for a count of 4-10 breaths.

  • Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani): This reclining pose can help calm the mind and alleviate fatigue, setting the stage for restful sleep.
Photo from Getty Images

Instructions: Start comfortably, wiggling your way into a sitting position against the wall; make sure the legs are pointed vertically above the body, while the back of the head rests on the floor; place a pillow or folded towel under your hips for a more comfortable position.

  • Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana): This restorative pose can help open the hips and groin area, relieving physical and emotional stress.

Instructions: Rest on your back with soles of the feet together, knees opening out to the side; rest your arms by the body, palms facing upwards; use a rolled-up blanket to support your back and outturned knees if uncomfortable.

Scents and Yoga Poses for Meditation

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Meditation is an unassuming but powerful practice for cultivating inner peace, clarity, and self-awareness — combining the right scents with grounding yoga poses is a gateway to enhance your meditation experience and deepen your connection to the present moment, sans distractions.

Essential oils like palo santo, frankincense, and sandalwood, have grounding and calming properties, creating a still and meditative atmosphere when used during mindful yoga practices.

  • Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana): This gentle forward bend can help calm the mind and create a sense of introspection, making it an ideal pose for meditation.

Instructions: Sit on the floor with the legs stretched out, toes flexed; Inhale and raise the arms over the head; exhale and bend forward, arms outstretched towards the toes; avoid arching/rounding your back.

  • Easy Pose (Sukhasana): This simple cross-legged position can help promote stability and grounding, allowing you to remain present and focused during your meditation practice.

Instructions: Sit cross-legged on a block or bolster on the floor, while ensuring the hips are higher than your knees; align shoulders directly over hips; the hands can rest by the knees; inhale and exhale for 5-8 breaths. 

  • Lotus Pose (Padmasana): While challenging for some, this seated pose can help cultivate a sense of rootedness and stability, supporting a deeper meditation experience.

Instructions: Sit cross-legged, ensuring both feet are resting comfortably on the opposite thighs, soles facing upwards; the tops of the feet should settle into the hip creases; keep the back straight and tall as you meditate.

Scents and Yoga Poses for Self-Love

Photo by Dmitry Rukhlenko

Cultivating self-love and self-acceptance is a journey that requires nurturing our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Rose, ylang-ylang, and jasmine are popular scents that promote self-acceptance and self-love, thanks to their uplifting and nurturing properties. 

These rich and floral scents, combined with uplifting yoga poses, can help foster a sense of self-compassion and nurture a positive relationship with yourself.

  • Camel Pose (Ustrasana): This heart-opening backbend can help promote self-acceptance and self-love by releasing emotional tension and cultivating a sense of vulnerability.

Instructions: Kneel with the body upright and hips stacked over the knees; let the hands rest behind the rib cage as if supporting it, and use the hands to push open the chest towards the ceiling; try to maintain this position as the hands move to grasp the upturned heels; keeps thighs upright throughout.

  • Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana): This powerful standing pose can help cultivate a sense of strength, confidence, and self-empowerment.

Instructions: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes facing out; bend the knees so the ankles and thighs are parallel to the ground; stretch and bend the arms so the upper arm is parallel to the thighs; golf the pose for 5 breaths.

  • Supported Backbend/Bridge Pose (Salamba Setu Bandha Sarvangasana): This restorative pose can help open the heart chakra, promoting feelings of self-love and self-acceptance.

Instructions: Lie on the back comfortably, with knees bent hip-width apart; inhale deeply and gently lift the lower, middle, and upper back off the ground; ensure to support the back with the palms, while the shoulders, upper arms, and feet remain pressed to the ground.

Scents and Yoga Poses for Healing

Photo by koldunov

Self-healing is a multifaceted process that involves addressing physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of our well-being. Evoking the healing capabilities of nature, green and woody essential oils are believed to support the body's natural healing processes and promote overall rejuvenation.

Therapeutic scents like cypress, cedarwood, and white tea are typically used in conjunction with healing yoga poses for intentional physical rejuvenation.

  • Reclining Goddess Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana): This gentle hip opener can help release physical and emotional tension, supporting the healing process.

Instructions: While laying down, bend the knees and keep the soles of the feet pressed to the floor; gradually bring the soles of the feet together, knees facing outwards; remain on the back whilst inhaling/exhaling for 5-12 breaths.

  • Supported Backbend/Bridge Pose (Salamba Setu Bandha Sarvangasana): This restorative pose can help open the heart chakra, promoting emotional healing and self-acceptance.

Instructions: Lie back comfortably, with knees bent hip-width apart; inhale deeply and gently lift the lower, middle, and upper back off the ground; ensure to support the back with the palms, while the shoulders, upper arms, and feet remain pressed to the ground.

  • Gas Release Pose (Pawanmuktasana): This healing pose can aid in detoxification and improve digestion, supporting the body's natural cleansing processes.

Instructions: In a supine position, slowly draw the knees to the chest, until the thighs rest against the abdomen; keep the knees and ankles together by “hugging” the knees to the chest; bend the neck to rest the chin comfortably on the knees; maintain a normal breathing pace throughout.

Scents and Yoga Poses for Recharging

Photo by fizkes from Getty Images

Rather than flitting from one temporary obsession to another, we should take the time to recharge and replenish our energy reserves. Energizing scents and yoga poses have great potential to restore declining energy levels and promote a sense of vitality.

Citrus scents like lemon, grapefruit, and orange, as well as minty scents, provide us with light and uplifting qualities, and so are ideal for boosting energy levels. Similarly, yoga poses that promote a sense of lightness are the go-to practices to promote quick recharging.

  • Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana): This energizing backbend can help open the chest and promote a sense of vitality and confidence.

Instructions: Lie flat against the ground, belly-down; place palms beside your rib cage, pressing into the ground to lift the torso, hips, and knees into a plank position; keeping the elbows straight, ensure the wrists remain in line with the shoulders; the gaze should lift slightly, but the neck should not be strained upwards or backwards.

  • Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III): This challenging balance pose can help cultivate focus and mental clarity, while also building physical strength and stamina.

Instructions: While standing, place the right foot forward, shifting all bodyweight onto the right leg; stretch the arms over the head and inhale; exhale and lift the left leg up and out, hinging at the hips to lower the arms and upper body down towards the floor; ensure the body forms a straight, balanced line, from the left toes to the crown of the head; hold for 2-6 breaths.

  • Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana): This gentle backbend supports good posture and can help open the heart chakra, together promoting a sense of energy and vitality.

Instructions: Lie flat on the back, keeping the feet on the floor, hip-width apart; squeeze the glutes while lifting the hips and back off the ground; ensure to press the chest upwards as shoulder blades remain against the floor; once stable, keep the hands clasped under the body.

It is good for us to occasionally add a bit of aromatherapy and yoga to practices like sleep, meditation, or self-care. But, the real power is in making them part of our daily lives. This supports the body's needs in a holistic and regular basis — and, in turn, paves the way for a balanced and harmonious life.

The only question: How can you do so?

Photo by anyaberkut from Getty Images
  • Start Your Day with Intention: Every morning, set an intention for the day and choose a scent and yoga pose that aligns with that intention. For example, if your intention is to cultivate more patience and inner calm, you might choose a calming scent like lavender and a grounding pose like Mountain Pose (Tadasana).
  • Take Mindful Breaks: Throughout the day, take short breaks to reconnect with your body and mind. Diffuse an uplifting or energizing scent, and practice a few revitalizing yoga poses to help you recharge and refocus.
  • Create and Stick To a Bedtime Ritual: Good habits are hard to break, so establish a consistent bedtime routine that incorporates calming scents and restorative yoga poses to help you wind down and prepare for a restful night's sleep.
  • Carry Scents with You: Keep a small vial or roller bottle of your favorite essential oils with you, so you can inhale their aroma whenever you need a quick pick-me-up or moment of grounding.
  • Combine Aromatherapy and Yoga During Specific Activities: For example, you might diffuse a focus-enhancing scent like rosemary and practice a few energizing yoga poses before starting your workday or tackling a challenging task.

Conclusion: Honoring What The Body Needs Through Aromatherapy and Yoga

candle gift set  for sleep

Listening to your body and giving it what it needs is an act of self-care and self-love. Even with aromatherapy and yoga, the journey to holistic well-being needs a ton of self-discovery and self-compassion. It means being willing to listen to our bodies, always.

So, take the first step today. Embrace the ups and downs. Trust that by nurturing the mind, body, and spirit, you will find the balance and harmony you seek. Both you and your body will be very grateful for it.

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