June 19, 2020 4 min read
If you’re even just a little bit interested in yoga and meditation, I’m sure you’ve seen at least one advertisement for a “bake and bend” yoga class. Practitioners are expected to come blazed to these yoga and meditation sessions, which are becoming increasingly popular in states that have legalized pot. However, not all yogis believe that bud is the answer to achieving the overarching goal of oneness between mind and body. Those that want to keep yoga pure think that any altered state of consciousness (even alcohol) is counterproductive to the objective and that the effects of pot put a veil over reality, limiting how deep you can go within yourself during sessions.
On the other hand, the idea of combining Mary Jane, yoga, and meditation isn’t anything new. Cultures have used pot to deepen their practice for thousands of years before it became a trend in the U.S. In India, the Sadhus are renowned master yogis who use marijuana for religious purposes due to its association in texts to the god Shiva. Cannabis is used in meditation for clarity and to provide a sacred connection to the gods. Even if you’re not smoking bud for religious purposes, the plant is well-known for its ability to quiet the mind, remove the noise of the outside world, and provide a deep state of relaxation, which are just a few reasons yogis are drawn to grass. Meditation is notoriously difficult to do correctly and can take many years of continual practice to reach a place of enlightenment. Oftentimes, marijuana’s effects can speed up this journey of self discovery.
The health benefits associated with yoga and meditation are well studied. Some people use meditation for stress reduction, improved concentration, self-discipline, self awareness, enhanced self-image, and better sleep, among others. One study found that a regular mindful meditation program can help manage anxiety and other aspects of psychological stress associated with high-stress jobs like those working in the healthcare industry, but can apply to any field. These benefits are considerable by themselves, but are compounded when combined with cannabis, which is known to have similar benefits to overall wellbeing. Marijuana for anxiety, stress, relaxation, and insomnia may be of particular interest to yogis who want to elevate their practice.
Heather Larivee, the founder of Sparkflo says “Using cannabis can potentially provide an incredibly deep, insightful, and reflective meditation session. The combination allows us to soften, open a door and gain new perspectives on our human experience.” More and more people are turning to meditation and apps such as Headspace and other guided meditation programs make it easy to get started. Today there are many different variations to traditional meditation or yoga so everyone can find a way to individualize their practice and fit it into their lifestyle. Ganja is best suited for practices such as sophrology, kundalini yoga (the most meditative yoga style), and especially sleep meditation since marijuana is also used to treat insomnia.
Medical patients often cite that they use marijuana for pain and these claims are backed up with scientific research. A study published in theCanadian Medical Association Journal found that patients with chronic nerve pain, such as pain that doesn’t go away after major surgery, were able to reduce their pain by using marijuana throughout the day. Yoga and meditation can also help manage certain types of chronic pain. Darrin Zeer, nicknamed Yogi-D, founded 420 Yoga Retreats after experimenting with ganja yoga and meditation for pain relief, improved self awareness, and spiritual enlightenment. He has been combining marijuana and yoga for over 20 years and has found that the altered state during his practice has helped alleviate his chronic back pain that was caused by a major injury in addition to helping with his emotional pain. Yogi-D isn’t the only one that saw an improvement in his chronic pain after combining cannabis and yoga, many practitioners swear by the combined benefits.
Stress is the underlying cause of many illnesses and the reason behind 70% to 90% of all doctor visits in the U.S., making it the number one health issue in the country. Certain types of cannabis strains, particularly those high in CBD are often used to help manage anxiety and stress. The endorphins produced in the body during exercise is attributed to lowering stress levels, but yoga is extra special since it provides a mind body connection. Over 85% of people who practice yoga report that the activity helps them alleviate stress. Blazed yoga classes focused specifically on stress relief via CBD tinctures and topicals may help sufferers find added relief. The calming effect of cannabidiol lets practitioners focus their entire being on the yoga experience, breaking down any unseen mental barriers along the way.
If you’re interested in experimenting with cannabis during your practice, be sure to start slow. Microdosing is a great option if you suffer from anxiety, chronic pain, or want to gauge your tolerance level. As a tip, hold back from taking a huge bong rip before heading into class, instead take a few small puffs to get into a relaxed state. Smoking, vaping, topical, and tinctures are all great options to choose before your first session. On the other hand, edibles are infamously easy to over do and time correctly, so it’s best to choose other methods for your yoga practice.
If you’re a dedicated ganja yogi or have blazed before a class, let us know what your experience was like in the comments!
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