The combination of yoga and cannabis hasn’t been discovered just now; marijuana has been used in yoga practice for centuries. After all, cannabis is capable of relaxing and soothing the human body, and so is yoga. Therefore, the consumption of cannabis products or just plain smoking pot right before engaging in yoga practice to boost the overall experience should be no surprise.
Pot yoga is on the rise. According to 10Buds, in the past ten years or so, alternative classes practicing “cannabis yoga” are gaining popularity and have developed a cult following of devoted practitioners, derived from recreational marijuana users and yoga fans. The shared goal is to reach a deeper immersion level into the “wholeness” of body and consciousness achieved by yoga, with the additional effects of cannabis.
How does it work?
A yoga session and marijuana use have a lot in common: they increase blood circulation, relieve and soothe pain, alleviate anxiety and depression symptoms, and relax muscle and nervous conditions. Plus, smoking a joint will probably make you feel like your senses are heightened and that you are more connected to your body than usual ―and so will yoga!
It has also been discovered during the last decades that the endocannabinoid system of the human body ―where the CBD receptors are located― is relevant to our homeostasis. That means that when using cannabis, our whole body is affected through our nervous and circulatory systems and that a combination with yoga practice could help us reach a whole new level of connection with our bodily functions and mental state.
And how does it work exactly? Most pot yoga classes have a smoking session at the start, usually lasting about 30 minutes. Participants smoke their joints and mingle to start feeling comfortable while cannabis takes effect; then, they start with their practice.
Pot yoga practitioners best enjoy the deep immersion into the experience, the heightened senses, and the spirituality mostly in closed circles ― so it’s advised that you find an instructor and/or class that you feel comfortable with.
Why try cannabis yoga?
If the idea of experiencing actual, deep relaxation and reaching that much-wanted state of utter connection to your own body and mind seems intriguing, then you’re already considering joining a cannabis yoga class. And let’s look at it another way: whether you’re a yogi who wants to try pot or a pot-head that wants to try yoga, or a fan of both separately, combining the two activities would surely be exciting. However, if you’ve never tried cannabis before and are worried about side effects, you should first consult a health professional.
Given that you’ve taken the right dose of the right strain with the appropriate method for you, cannabis yoga fans maintain that the achieved feeling of “embodiment,” mindfulness, and focus are extraordinarily calming, and the experience is a must for those seeking a more spiritual approach to their body and mind health.
Of course, not everyone agrees. While those who practice pot yoga report that they feel more connected and more deeply immersed in the overall experience, some yogis of the more traditional side don’t get along with the idea. They argue that the integration of cannabis ruins the whole “purity” of the yoga experience since cannabis is intoxicating.
How to begin?
As with everything cannabis-related ―and regarding anything that enters your system, really―, it goes without saying that you need to be informed and prepared. Smoking a joint by yourself at 6 and going to a random yoga studio at 6.30 is probably not a good idea ―not just for your own safety; you probably make others uncomfortable! So it’s best to have found the right place and have had a chat with the instructor beforehand to be prepared and ready for action.
Most yogis advise that you take the smallest effective dosage possible and that you do slow yoga, like Hatha, while avoiding hard poses and fast-paced movements, especially if it’s your first time. The use of basic CBD products rather than those high in THC is highly recommended, as the latter’s intoxicating nature does not always go well with strenuous activities. Also, make sure to pick a hemp strain or other CBD product recommended for its calming effects, according to their contained terpenes. It’s better to go for the ones you’re used to, in order to avoid unpredictable unwanted effects.
Whether you’re going for it alone or you’ve joined a class, you should opt for the softer practices with relaxing asanas (postures) and reclining poses, like restorative yoga (using blocks and blankets) or yin yoga, so that you have time to adapt, meditate and let yourself sink into the experience. Of course, the method is up to the instructor, and almost everyone recommends and practices pot yoga in that slow, careful way ―so it’s rare that you will encounter a different approach to this type of yoga. Still, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of the most recommended route if you come across a more unorthodox style that makes you feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable.
As we mentioned earlier, some of the strict, traditional yogis argue that if you want to reach that “wholeness,” deep relaxation and connection to your body and mind, you should work through your yoga practice and not use shortcuts like cannabis for an easier and quickest way to the final destination; they insist that this approach kind of misses the point.
However, it’s not a few people that cherish the extra effect of the cannabis “high,” and they advocate this way of enhancing the yoga experience enough to make whole new classes for it.
And what about you? Now that you know the basics, taking everything into account, and given that recreational cannabis is legal in your region, you can make an informed decision and try pot yoga the right way ―or avoid the “shortcuts” and stick to the basics.