Cannabis and Yoga: Unlocking the Mind and Body
Yoga Sutras 4.1: The subtler attainments come with birth or are attained through herbs, mantra, austerities or concentration.
Using cannabis when practicing yoga dates back to ancient India. Thousands of years ago, it was regularly used by yogis, only to be stigmatized and forgotten. The Sutra quoted above suggests that the two can be used together to open up the mind and to help bridge the gap from unconsciousness to divine consciousness. Recently, modern yoga practitioners have rediscovered the power of using cannabis to enhance the spiritual state of oneness that yoga attempts to achieve.
What are the Benefits of Using Cannabis to Enhance Yoga?
The ultimate goal of Hatha yoga, or the movement/posture aspect of yoga and one of the 8 limbs of yoga, is to reach Samadhi: oneness, enlightenment, a mystic trance of united consciousness. It is believed that the calming, relaxing and tranquil effects of consuming cannabis can help quiet the mind, enhance inner connection, and lead to a deeper and more meaningful yoga practice. When consumed in ceremony and treated as a sacred ritual, it is believed that the combination of cannabis and yoga can help people access new spiritual experiences.
Beyond tapping into our inner divine consciousness, there are more practical applications to combining cannabis with yoga. We live in a chaotic, fast-paced, stress-inducing world where it can be difficult to find solace. Yoga is a great tool to escape that madness, calm one’s thoughts, slow the mind, and de-stress. But some folks experience anxiety, stress, or nervousness to a degree that it inhibits them from successfully silencing the mind and feeling fully present and calm while on their yoga mat. This is where cannabis comes in. The stress-reducing properties of cannabis can make a present, centered yoga practice much more accessible.
Many “stiff” people and those with chronic pain are often hesitant to practice yoga, despite the fact that it can be deeply healing for their conditions. Barriers in the mind lead people to think they aren’t flexible or mobile enough to practice yoga. Further, many struggle with ailments such as lower back pain, sciatica, and joint pain and find that attempting certain yoga poses can be extremely difficult, frustrating, or painful. Cannabis can help. It can eliminate the self-conscious thoughts that they aren’t “good enough” for yoga and create a more open and inviting state of mind. Additionally, cannabis is known to have pain-relieving properties and can eliminate strain and tension, allowing those with tight muscles and pain to move more freely through poses. This can ultimately lead to long-term pain-relieving and tension-releasing effects achieved through a regular yoga practice, enhanced by cannabis.
Who Could Benefit from Cannabis-Enhanced Yoga?
Integrating cannabis into your yoga routine can benefit anyone who is open to it! It is all about acceptance, mindfulness, and being in touch with one’s self.
Someone looking to deepen the spiritual aspect of yoga may benefit from the sacred ritual of consuming cannabis before practice. Someone new to yoga and apprehensive about an unfamiliar experience may benefit from the calming and heart-opening qualities of cannabis. An overworked, sleep-deprived individual who finds it difficult to relax may finally experience inner peace by combining cannabis and yoga. And if someone feels they are too stiff or too tense to stretch, a dose of cannabis and a gentle yoga flow may be just what they need.
Where Can I Find a Cannabis Yoga Offering?
Interested in trying out the renewed ancient practice of combining cannabis and yoga? We happen to know of a few great certified yoga teachers with cannabis class offerings in California and Colorado.
- Ganja Yoga: Dee Dussault offers multiple Ganja Yoga classes each week in San Francisco. Dussault recently wrote a book titled Ganja Yoga and has been teaching enhanced yoga classes since 2009. She also offers tantra and sexuality coaching.
- Lit Yoga: A plant-inspired yoga studio in Venice offering multiple enhanced classes a week.
- Cannabliss Retreats: Multi-day experiential cannabis retreats in Southern California featuring yoga, massage, and dining.
- Ganjasana: Offers healing yoga ceremonies with cannabis master plants in Denver and Boulder.
Have you tried cannabis and yoga? If you have experience with this practice and feel called, please share your story in the comments below!