Yoga & Cannabis for Relaxation
Yoga has been a staple of Indian heritage for centuries. But what most do not realize is that in Hindu philosophy, Lord Shiva is the god that is not only the ultimate god of yoga, but also oversees cannabis It is easy to see the connection that cannabis and yoga can bring into the body, mind, and soul when both used consciously. In Western society, the rise of both cannabis and yoga are bringing more people into tranquility and relaxation in ways that can be very beneficial. If you have ever thought of joining the two together, here are a few ways to navigate so you can fully enjoy this happy marriage.
Where to Start
Aside from the spiritual lineage of cannabis use and yoga, there are certainly some things to keep in mind before you toke up on your mat. Firstly, there are some side-effects of cannabis that could inhibit the relaxation you are attempting to promote, such as shortness of breath, dry mouth, lightheadedness, difficulty balancing, or increased heart rate. If you are prone to any of these, try a microdose to start, such as just one puff or a low-dose edible (~2.5mg-5mg), keep a full cup of water nearby, and practice with plenty of space around you incase you accidentally topple over. That said, when first starting out, it is best to try incorporating medical marijuana into a practice in the safety of your own home, canceling any issues that may come up and cause a liability for a studio or instructor.
What Makes Them A Power Couple?
The benefits of adding cannabis to your yoga practice abounds. Research has shown that some properties of cannabis may help as an anti-inflammatory (for recovery and easing pain). Since ingesting cannabis can add sensation to the body, it is a great way to get more in touch with bodily awareness, helping you find poses and a flow that targets areas of the body that need a little extra love. Some people may argue that ingesting cannabis can take you out of your body and into your mind, but we think it is an opportunity to practice discipline of the mind and breath to encourage presence. A light curiosity of the body is beneficial for any practice. Lastly, many people report feeling relaxed when using marijuana, so even if you just end up in an hour’s long svasana (laying down flat on your back), that’s better than being a tightly-wound stressball for the rest of the day.
Tips and Tricks
If incorporating cannabis into your yoga practice calls to you, here are a few tips to ensure you are successfully utilizing the medicinal and spiritual qualities it can add to your experience.
1. Set An Intention: A yoga instructor told us that intention-setting for practice is very helpful. Creating an intention for a practice can help center the busy mind and keep the flow on track.
2. Low and Slow: Remember not to overdo it. Microdosing is key, as using too much can have adverse effects, especially if you are a light or moderate user. It is a good idea to keep the practice slow, close to the ground, and simple. Keep your practice easy as you are starting out, maybe with just some gentle stretches, then as you hone in on what your reactions are, build onto the poses to develop it into a perfect practice for you.
3. Keep Breathing: When you begin the practice, focus on your breath - invite deep, long breaths in and out. This helps to match your body movements with inhalation and exhalation to move blood, and therefore the cannabinoids, throughout the body gracefully.
If you are curious about what else cannabis can do for your practice, we recommend the book Ganja Yoga by Dee Dussault. She was one of the first to offer this magical pairing in a studio setting and has great tips for elevating your practice. Regardless of how this new pairing takes place, whether in your living room or in a class, remember to take it easy and be present with the practice.