CANNABIS INFUSED YOGA
Controversial? Yes. Trendy? Definitely. Therapeutic? The jury is still out on this one. Call it what you will, ‘stoned yoga, ‘420 yoga’, ‘ganga yoga’, or simply ‘infused yoga’, the rise of cannabis use with yoga is taking hold. Many yoga enthusiasts consider the benefits of pain relief working in unison with exercise as nothing short of extraordinary. Those who swear by it believe that combining cannabis with their yoga practice helps them surrender overactive thought patterns, relieve tension and allow the mind and body to benefit more than without it. Many people find it difficult to succumb enough to feel centered, which is what yoga requires in order to reap its most essential rewards. Those who oppose it feel that for someone to be dependent on cannabis in order to achieve control over their body is simply the opposite of achieving the clear, still mind that can only be attained through discipline and structure.
Historically, it has been discovered that ancient second century text from India suggests that yoga and cannabis share similar properties-
“Cannabis use allows for a quieting of the outside world and the ability to focus more totally on the interior process of meditation.” – Yogasutras 4.1
This may be true for some, but generally the practice of meditation is a solitary one, when you are in a yoga class full of participants, it can more difficult to find that space for yourself, (especially if you’re prone to giggle fits). If you need to tune out thoughts and get to that meditative place quicker, then cannabis use may be a good idea. However, you’ve got to know how you’re going to react to what you are ingesting before entering the class, some people feel paranoia, or have their racing thoughts become even more intense, so if it is your first experience, it could backfire. Knowing this about themselves, some may choose to use a strain lower in THC (the psychoactive properties that induce a high) and higher in CBD (the calming, anti-anxiety properties).
Those attending cannabis infused yoga class will spend the first 30 minutes smoking marijuana and then ease into moderate yoga exercises. Finding it easier to ‘drop in’ the mental state of calm while high, in order to focus largely on breath and movement, all movement would feel exaggerated in order to create more space within your body, and with a practice such as yoga, this type of feeling, is kind of the point. Some people suffer immensely with debilitating, chronic pain and/or mental conditions, for which they may not even be able to practice yoga at all without some relief through marijuana use. In cases like this, it is tough to dispute the benefits of combining the two, as this type of mind/body exercise is one of the most effective therapeutic practices around.