Cannabis & Yoga: A Natural Combination. Is physical pain preventing you from reaping the benefits of yoga? It’s ironic, but many people who could benefit from yoga’s therapeutic effects, avoid the mat because they find it too painful. Suggestion: try adding cannabis. The relaxant and pain-relieving qualities can help you break through initial resistance to yoga poses that will gently stretch, strengthen, and rejuvenate your body. Restorative poses, in which props support your body, may be best to start, particularly if you have tight muscles.
Or maybe you’re someone who has no problem getting to yoga class, only to engage in mental conversations with your boss, meditate on your to-do list, or worry about any random thing, while going through the motions on the mat? If you’re a chronic over-thinker, cannabis can slow you down and help you focus—on your breathing, on proper alignment, and on what’s happening in your inner world. You might even want to keep a little notebook by your mat, to jot down insights as they percolate to the surface.
As cannabis is becoming increasingly mainstream both medically and recreationally, some yoga studios are now encouraging practitioners to smoke or vape before class in order to deepen their practice. Dee Dussault, author of Ganja Yoga, teaches a class by the same name in San Francisco. Dussault says, “When the dose is right and the strain is right, it helps people relax, and that’s sort of the foundation of yoga.”
A Sacred Plant in India
While Dussault and other proponents may be the new pioneers, cannabis has been revered and celebrated in India, the birthplace of yoga, for millennia. According to the Vedas (ancient Hindu texts), cannabis was one of five sacred plants and a guardian angel lived in its leaves. The Vedas call cannabis a source of happiness, joy-giver, liberator that was compassionately given to humans to help us attain delight and lose fear (Abel, 1980). It’s not a stretch to imagine ancient yogi’s using cannabis as a way to explore the effects of poses with hyper focus.
Cannabis can also help with sore muscles after your yoga practice. Studies are finding that two cannabinoids in particular: cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabiol (THC) are powerful anti-inflamatories. And cannabis may be safer than taking NSAID pain relievers, like Aspirin and Ibuprofen, regular consumption of which can lead to cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and kidney problems.
A Higher High?
Aerial yoga is practiced several feet off the ground, using a hammock as a prop. It allows the body to move more freely and the anti-gravity effect encourages spinal decompression, among other benefits. Paired with cannabis, this could be the ultimate yoga high. However, it’s worth noting that whether practicing aerial or earthbound yoga, judgment should be exercised when combining with cannabis. Start with a low dosage to ensure that you get the most out of your practice. Namaste.
Abel, E.L. (1980). The First Twelve Thousand Years. New York: McGraw Hill.