Using essential oils to stay calm & focused

How Colleen Saidman Yee uses essential oils
Colleen Saidman Yee
General by Colleen Saidman Yee

Yoga teacher Colleen Saidman Yee shares how she uses essential oils to help herself and her entire family relax, stay grounded and get through hectic mornings.

As I was winding down last night and put myself in child’s pose with lavender essential oil (for relaxation) on the base of my neck, and focusing on the exhalation, I was feeling very grateful for these simple techniques.

Upon waking, and feeling like I would rather sleep another couple of hours, but knowing that I had to pack lunches, get kids off to school, and then get myself to the studio to teach two back-to-back classes, and you all know the rest of the story…. So, instead of getting grumpy, I got up, put a drop of peppermint (to wake up) on my tongue and practiced 10 Sun Salutations, then sat down with Valor (grounding and confidence) on my feet and focused on the inhalation, and dropped into a precious five-minute meditation. The day was starting out on the right foot (and smell).

Feeling calm and awake, I passed that on to the kids as they were getting off to school. My daughter seemed a little more moody than usual, so I rubbed some Dragon Time (balances hormones) on her belly, and as I was rubbing the oil, I smoothed out my breath, which transfers to her. I, then, returned to my oil kit, and applied Clarity (clear intention and focus) on the base of my neck and on the temples as I brought my focus to teaching. As I got to the studio, I diffused frankincense (get into meditative state) to start to get the students into their bodies and out of their stories.

I don’t always take the time to take care of myself, so that I can go into the world with a clear and kind intention, and end the day not feeling so tired and wired… but on the days that I do incorporate these tools, it feels so right, and I have to think, “Why is it that I don’t start and end every day like this?” The combination of yoga, breathwork and essential oils are taking the effects of this art form to another level. The beauty of it is that you can use these tools at any time, or stage of life. 

About the Author

Colleen Saidman Yee

Colleen Saidman Yee’s introduction to yoga was at the urging of a roommate who convinced her to attend a class at a loft space in New York City. It was not long after that first class, that her worn out running shoes, her basketball and her boxing gloves became relics of the past. And in 1994, after enduring back surgery, Colleen’s commitment to her yoga practice deepened.

A graduate of Jivamukti’s Teacher Training program in 1998, she has been teaching ever since. Colleen has been featured in Vanity Fair, New York Times, USA today, New York Magazine, Oprah, Marie Claire, Allure, and has been on the cover of yoga journal, fit yoga and natural health. Colleen is featured in the PBS special called The Practical Power of Yoga. She has also been a guest on the Good Morning America Show. She is co-writing the masters class column for yoga journal for 2009. A consummate student, Colleen’s thirst for yoga knowledge is insatiable. Colleen has taught several teacher trainings, both 500 and 200 hour programs. Colleen holds a certification in Shiatsu and lived in Calcutta, India working with Mother Theresa at the Homes for the dying destitute.

Colleen owes tremendous gratitude for her studies of bhakti and vinyasa to David Life and Sharon Gannon. She studies with Richard Rosen and Richard Freeman as frequently as possible. She also offers thanks to the many other teachers with whom she has studied, as well as to her husband Rodney Yee, who remains her principal teacher.

Together with Rodney, she presents the Gaiam Yoga Studio as well as several popular Yoga DVDs. In recent years, they helped to create and now co-direct the Urban Zen Integrative Therapist Programn, a worldwide initiative of Donna Karan. Colleen lives in Sag Harbor where she is the director of the famous Yoga Shanti yoga studio. She and Rodney are raising 4 wonderful teenagers, and are teaching yoga teacher trainings and retreats worldwide.


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