Millions of people around the world choose yoga as a way to wind down. Looking to take it to new highs? Cannabis yoga could be the next step to elevate your practice.
Yogis in India have been blending the spiritual practice of yoga with cannabis for decades. In some of Hinduism’s (and the worlds) oldest texts – the Vedas – cannabis is also referred to as one of the five most sacred herbs humanity has to release anxiety.
Today, one woman has pioneered the cannabis yoga movement. Dee Dussault is the first woman in recent history to pair yoga with cannabis and bring it to the masses. In her words –
“Cannabis enhanced yoga is not about accomplishing poses. It’s about feeling our bodies and becoming more relaxed & present.”
At first, Dussault began by micro-dosing with cannabis and CBD in order to find the perfect balance for her practice. She quickly found that cannabis was psychologically and spiritually therapeutic. It also provided her with greater clarity and bliss when meditating.
Now, Dee Dussault is preaching the cannabis mind-body connection. She started curating ‘ganja yoga’ classes in her living room in 2009. She now has her own private practice in San Francisco and teaches two public classes per week. She has even written a book on the subject – inevitably called Ganja Yoga.
Anecdotal evidence from Dee and her fellow yogis suggests that the combination of cannabis and yoga can have benefits like elevated mindfulness. Let’s look more at how we can combine the two to create the perfect practice.
Benefits of Yoga
The health benefits of yoga aren’t just anecdotal. A 2011 study showed that not only does not only improve muscular strength and overall flexibility. It also found that it can promote improved respiratory and cardiovascular function, reduce stress, anxiety and depression and enhance overall quality of life.
Another study from 2012 also comments on how yoga has proved to be effective in improving health. It also suggests yoga is beneficial for managing and preventing a range of diseases.
A more recent study from 2018 reported that the mental benefits from yoga are also backed by science. Yoga regulates the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis and our sympathetic nervous system. This reduces the impact of exaggerated stress responses and also helps ease anxiety and depression.
Benefits of Cannabis Yoga
The health benefits of yoga alone speak for themselves. But if we bring cannabis into the equation, how can this enhance our practice?
Many people practice yoga not only to have a good stretch. Yoga activates other parts of the brain to enhance our feelings of relaxation, and cannabis can have a similar effect.
Anecdotal evidence says that cannabis yoga allows a greater level of focus on the body and muscle stretches. This could be due to the way that cannabis can quieten the mind.
Studies have shown cannabinoids like CBD (found in cannabis) have the ability to reduce anxiety. In turn, this could improve focus on the relaxing aspects of doing yoga.
Research has also found that CBD can relieve muscle tension, as well as chronic pain. Not only does this have a relaxing effect. It could also allow yogis to help block out any pains they might have prior to practice.
Being fully present in an experience is something that most of us should be more mindful of. Our fast pace of life, addiction to cell-phones/social media and our restless minds mean we’re always looking forward, rather than being in the ‘now’.
Practices like yoga involve movement and focus on breathing. This keeps our awareness engaged within our bodies. In the long term, it trains us to have a central focus and to disregard the chatter of the mind.
Cannabis yogis also find that the lessening of ‘mind chatter’ which comes with both cannabis and yoga takes away the habit of self-judgment and needing to make a posture ‘perfect’. As a result, this deepens engagement in practice.
Cannabis can help enhance these feelings because, like yoga, it can also quiet the mind and bring greater focus to bodily sensations. As Dee Dussault says in her book, those who practice cannabis yoga often have a deeper and more internalized experience during their practice.
Research studies prove that Yoga alone comes with an array of health benefits for mind, body and soul. Not only does it help prevent disease and improve circulation, but it also helps us to be more mindful and helps us to create positive thought patterns.
Add some cannabis or CBD to your yoga and you could potentially reap even greater benefits. The relaxing, anti-anxiety effects of cannabis and CBD can result in deeper relaxation when doing yoga. It can also help to block out racing thoughts as you try to focus on your postures.
As well as extra relaxation, the lessening of mental chatter associated with cannabis yoga can help you be more deeply engaged in your practice. This can allow for a more internalized experience with less self-judgement.
The scientific evidence for cannabis yoga is lacking at this stage and more studies need to be done to affirm its true benefits. However, if you’re looking to deepen your practice and presence, cannabis yoga could be a great combination according to the ganja yogis!
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