Examining Cannabis-Enhanced Yoga: Can Marijuana Help Deepen Your Practice?

This article reprinted courtesy of Duber Medical. To get your Ohio medical marijuana card, go to DuberMedical.com. Receive $10 off when you use discount code “MedicateOH”.
Yoga
As marijuana becomes legalized and more socially acceptable across parts of the country, cannabis-enhanced yoga classes have sprung up in response.

Looser marijuana restrictions and decreased stigma have led to a multitude of pairings between cannabis and healthy practices like yoga. In recent years, studios worldwide have sparked the latest holistic craze: Yoga sessions that utilize and celebrate the plant. You may have heard it called Ganja Yoga, 420 Yoga, Marijuasana, or CannaYoga, but the current trend toward cannabis-enhanced yoga classes isn’t a new concept.

Yoga has been known for centuries as a way to improve flexibility to promoting cardiovascular function. So has cannabis. Practicing yoga regularly can reduce stress and chronic pain levels. Medical marijuana patients seeking to remedy their chronic conditions might find that coupled, yoga and cannabis together can work together to promote healing.

The world’s oldest sacred texts, the Vedas, mention the relationship between two powerful medicinal tools of healing: yoga and cannabis. The Vedas led to the creation of Hinduism and the development of the yogic philosophy.

Another ancient document, the Yoga Sutras, mentions marijuana too. Since cannabis is referenced in the Yoga Sutras, many yogis consider marijuana to be not only beneficial to their practice, but essential.

How cannabis-enhanced yoga works

The bending, stretching, posing and breathing patterns that define it as a physical activity only scratch the surface of yoga’s purpose in an individual’s life. Ashtanga yoga outlines 8 principles (or “limbs”) meant to help individuals develop a more inspired, conscious life. Some yoga instructors espouse that yoga can propel one toward uniting their spiritual and physical selves, contributing to overall better health.

Cannabis-enhanced yoga classes tend to take a gentle approach. The classes are typically taught similarly to restorative yoga, a deeply relaxing practice with modified versions of yoga postures supported by assistance from blankets and blocks. It might also be taught in a yin yoga style, which involves longer-held seated and reclining poses.

Cannabis-enhanced yoga classes may veer away from standing poses that could be disorienting. The class may instead focus on floor postures and meditation.

One cannabis yoga instructor, Daniele B, says she feels the benefits of combining the two. “I’ve found weed to be an integral part of my own personal practice. I don’t have to get high to feel yoga’s many benefits — like stress relief, pain relief, and body-mind-heart-spirit centeredness, among others — but I feel a palpable enhancement and heightening of those benefits when I do.”

Controversy

Yogis have been enhancing their practices with cannabis since the beginning of time. But that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable now. Today’s yogis are widely divided on whether or not cannabis is beneficial or detrimental. Some argue that developing your practice could be hindered by consuming cannabis. Others may find that cannabis use enables them to explore their practice more deeply and with fewer mental and physical barriers, according to Leafly.

Nicole H., a yoga instructor from Kentucky, doesn’t like to use cannabis as part of her practice. She said, “I don’t practice under the influence. When I do, I get distracted and my breathing is weird.”

Lynne Theodose of the website Yoga Basics explains how a cannabis-enhanced class might not be a good choice for every yogi. She says: “Marijuana can elicit feelings of euphoria similar to the bliss enlightened yogi masters describe. For some, this may be a handy shortcut, but it can also be a form of spiritual bypassing, where you chase faux spiritual experiences in an effort to avoid unresolved personal issues or pain. Most often earned through intense self-scrutiny and yogic practices, true samadhi (liberation, absorption) won’t fade with your buzz.”

Tips for Trying Cannabis-Enhanced Yoga

In a class setting, only consume or vaporize the amount of medical marijuana that’s been recommended by your doctor for your condition. Before entering class, choose a strain or product that you know has a consistently predictable effect. Especially if you do choose to inhale your cannabis, drink lots of water during class to keep your mouth and throat from becoming too dry.

Strains to try for cannabis-enhanced yoga? It really depends on what time of day and what effect you are trying to achieve. To enhance relaxation, many yogis find that heavy indicas help them fully relax in order receive the most benefit. Strains such as Northern Lights and high CBD strains like ACDC can be good go-to’s for helping you relax into your late evening candlelit asana before bed. On the other hand, a morning or afternoon session would benefit from an energizing hybrid strain like Jack Herer.

Another tip for trying cannabis-enhanced yoga involves your method of administration. Many studios cannot legally allow you to smoke or vaporize inside, so consider that when you plan for class. A coughing fit after a big hit would surely detract from finding your zen, so consider another form. A fast-acting tincture, edible, or beverage product that takes effect in about 15 minutes after consumption might be most beneficial.

Do not take any product just before or during cannabis yoga if you’re unfamiliar with the way your body will react to it.

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Want to get your medical marijuana card in Ohio? If you suffer from one of 21 qualifying conditions in Ohio, you may now consider medical cannabis for treatment. Reach out to us at medicateOH@gmail.com and we’ll match you with a physician who can help effectively treat your condition.

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