Rooted in the ancient practices of the Indus Valley over 5,000 years ago, yoga has transcended time to become a globally embraced phenomenon. What began as a spiritual discipline in ancient civilizations has evolved into a widespread wellness practice and multi-billion dollar industry.
Today, yoga's acceptance and integration into mainstream health and wellness routines are undeniable, fostering a global movement towards mindfulness and holistic well-being. Similarly, cannabis, which is also used in spiritual practices but confined to the fringes of societal acceptance in many cultures - especially in the West - is now carving its place in health and wellness communities as well.
As the idea of health and wellness continues to broaden, the convergence of cannabis and yoga is garnering attention, sparking curiosity about the potential interplay between these two practices and whether cannabis can enhance the profound benefits of yogic practices.
This article will delve into the age-old traditions and contemporary intersections of cannabis and yoga, aiming to shed light on the mindful relationship between the two and the questions surrounding their combination in fostering holistic wellness.
Ancient Traditions: Cannabis' Spiritual Role in Yoga Practices
Cannabis is known to have held an important place in a number of ancient spiritual and religious practices like yoga. There are believed to be references to the marijuana plant in both Greek and Norse mythology. The Egyptians, Hebrews, and other Semitic cultures are said to have burned cannabis as an incense as early as 1000 BC.
Cannabis has been used by shamanic and pagan cultures to achieve enlightenment and even as an aphrodisiac for rituals. Similarly to cannabis, researchers have found that yogic practices have also been associated with religious and meditative purposes throughout history.
In India, there has been a heavy association between Shiva, one of the principal deities in Hinduism and also the god of yoga, and cannabis. Yoga as a spiritual discipline is rooted in Hindu religious philosophy. In the fourth "veda" of Hinduism, cannabis is allegedly described as an anti-anxiety agent and “bringer of freedom” and “source of happiness.”
Cannabis is said to have been commonly used as a "medicine for the Gods", with Shiva (the god of yoga) taking a particular liking to it. By researching these texts and observing that the world's first yogi also shared a deep love for the marijuana plant, it becomes evident that cannabis may have contributed to the development of yogic practices since the beginning.
Cannabis and Yoga in the Modern Day
Today, the intersection of cannabis and the yoga community reflects evolving attitudes and a growing acceptance within modern wellness circles.
The emergence of "Ganja yoga" or "stoned yoga" classes exemplifies this trend, as practitioners explore the benefits of combining weed and yoga in a communal setting. These classes, gaining popularity worldwide, signify a shift in the perception of cannabis from a stigmatized substance to a potential ally in fostering mindfulness and relaxation during yoga practices.
Modern wellness communities increasingly embrace this synergy, marking a departure from traditional norms and paving the way for a more inclusive and diverse approach to holistic well-being and practicing yoga. Furthermore, as cannabis use becomes medically and recreationally legalized across the world, the integration of cannabis into wellness practices like yoga gains both legitimacy and broader cultural recognition.
Can Cannabis Enhance Yogic Practices?
Cannabis has the potential to significantly enhance yogic practices by fostering a deeper connection with one's inner self. Through its relaxing properties, smoking weed can produce anti-inflammatory effects, allowing practitioners to engage more fully in yoga postures while promoting overall physical and mental well-being.
The synergistic relationship between cannabis and yoga extends to meditation, breathing exercises, and the cultivation of a heightened spiritual awareness. The calming effects of cannabis can facilitate a relaxed state, enabling individuals to delve into their practice with a heightened ability to focus on breath, maintain postures, and explore the spirit-body connection.
By fostering a sense of relaxation and awareness, cannabis may act as a tool to unlock new dimensions in yogic experiences, encouraging a more profound exploration of the self and the practice as a whole.
My yoga instructor said “ wow someone smells like weed”— NFT kid “Keith Berry” (@kokid951) January 10, 2024
I said “ yeah smells like someone missed tf out on the sesh”
I stay high 🌿💨🤤
Which Practices are Best for Cannabis Enhanced Yoga Classes?
When considering the combination of cannabis with yoga, gentler practices such as Hatha, Restorative, Yin, or Gentle Flow/Vinyasa are generally recommended for a relaxed experience. These practices align with the calming effects of cannabis and promote mindfulness.
On the other hand, more intense practices like Power Yoga or Ashtanga may intensify the mind-body connection but should be approached with caution, especially for beginners. Additionally, Bikram or Hot Yoga (which takes place in a heated environment) can cause potential dehydration and increased heart rate, so caution is also highly advised.
Regardless of the chosen practice, starting with a low cannabis dose, monitoring individual responses, and aligning the practice with personal intentions are key considerations for an enjoyable experience.
Choosing the Right Cannabis Products for Your Yoga Goals
Selecting the appropriate cannabis products is essential for optimizing the synergy between cannabis and yoga. Different strains and consumption methods can help you reach different goals within your yogic practice. For those seeking a more serene and grounded practice, strains with higher CBD ratios might be preferable, offering relaxation without the intense psychoactive effects. Conversely, individuals aiming for heightened focus and energy may find consuming cannabis strains with a higher THC content more suitable.
The debate over whether Indica or Sativa is better for ganja yoga remains subjective, as the ideal choice depends on personal preferences and the specific goals of the practice.
However, those looking for pain relief and body relaxation may opt for an Indica-dominant cultivar while a consumer looking for energy, alertness and euphoria may want to try Sativa-dominant offerings. Ultimately, understanding the intricacies of cannabis strains and their respective properties empowers those who practice yoga to curate an optimal ganja yoga experience.
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Here are some factors to take into consideration when deciding on the best cannabis products to combine with your yoga practice:
- Dried Flower: Selecting dried flower strains with balanced CBD-to-THC ratios can provide a milder and more controlled experience, promoting relaxation without overwhelming psychoactivity. Inhalation methods, such as vaporization, offer a quick onset and allow users to adjust dosage more easily, making it suitable for those seeking a mindful yet adaptable cannabis experience during yoga. Dried flower and traditional hashish are the “natural” ways to consume that have been associated with yoga over the centuries.
- Pre-rolled Joints: Pre-rolled joints can offer convenience and a consistent dosage. Opting for strains with higher CBD content and moderate THC levels can provide a gentle lift without inducing excessive psychoactive effects. The slow-burning nature of joints can complement the pacing of a yoga session, allowing users to maintain spatial awareness and coordination.
- Edibles: Edibles provide a discreet, odorless and long-lasting option for yogic practices. Choosing edibles with a higher CBD content and a gradual onset can result in a more sustained and subtle experience. This format allows practitioners to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of cannabis throughout the yoga session and beyond, fostering a deepened mind-body connection.
- Beverages: Infused beverages, such as teas or tonics, can offer a gentle, odorless and hydrating way to integrate cannabis into a yoga routine. Opting for low-dose and CBD-dominant options can provide relaxation without the rapid onset associated with inhalation methods. The calming effects of infused beverages align well with the mindful and meditative aspects of yoga.
- Capsules and Oils: Capsules and oils provide precise dosing and are discreet and odorless, making them suitable for yoga practitioners who prefer a controlled and measured cannabis experience. CBD-dominant capsules or oils can offer therapeutic benefits without significant psychoactive effects, enhancing the overall well-being during yoga practice.
- Dabbable Concentrates: Dabbable concentrates, such as wax or shatter, should be approached with caution due to their potent and fast-acting nature. If used, choosing concentrates with a balanced CBD-to-THC ratio can provide controlled effects.
Remember, individual preferences, tolerance levels, and experience with cannabis are critical factors in choosing the most suitable product format for your yoga practice. It's advisable for consumers to experiment responsibly and be mindful of their own reactions to different products.
The Benefits of Yoga and Ganja Yoga
Cannabis and yoga, individually and combined through practices like Ganja Yoga, play a significant role in promoting holistic well-being, both physically and mentally. The shared emphasis on relaxation, stress reduction, and heightened mindfulness forms a powerful synergy.
Physically, both yoga and cannabis contribute to pain relief and muscle relaxation, fostering a sense of overall physical wellness. Mentally, the calming effects of cannabis align with yoga's focus on mental clarity and stress reduction, creating a harmonious balance. The shared benefits, including enhanced mood, improved sleep, and a sense of inner peace, underscore the complementary nature of cannabis and yoga in cultivating a comprehensive approach to well-being.
Ganja Yoga and the Endocannabinoid System
As humans, we all have natural Endocannabinoid Systems (ECS). The ECS system is a complex biological system that regulates various physiological processes in the body including mood, stress, immune function, sleep, appetite, metabolism, and pain perception, through the interaction of molecules called endocannabinoids.
When consumed, cannabis interacts with the ECS by introducing external cannabinoids (such as THC and CBD) that bind to cannabinoid receptors, primarily CB1 and CB2.
Some studies indicate that activities such as cycling and singing can increase the endocannabinoids found in the body, increasing “some of the long-term beneficial effects on mental health, cognition and memory”. This leads many to believe that other physical activities like yoga may have similar effects on our ECS, which could be enhanced further when combined with cannabis.
Cannabis, Yoga and Anxiety
In the realm of holistic wellness, the synergy between cannabis, yoga, and anxiety reduction emerges as a powerful antidote to stress. Many yogis turn to their practice as a natural means of alleviating anxiety, finding solace in the harmonious blend of movement, breath, and mindfulness.
Simultaneously, cannabis consumers often seek the plant's calming effects to unwind and soothe anxious thoughts. When seamlessly combined, yoga and cannabis create a dynamic duo, offering a profound sense of relaxation that extends beyond the sum of their individual benefits.
The online community, particularly on platforms like Twitter/X, buzzes with conversations about this potent pairing. Countless anecdotes and testimonials highlight how the integration of cannabis into yoga practices becomes a holistic approach for melting away anxiety, creating a harmonious space for individuals seeking relief from the tumult of anxious thoughts.
The most beautiful date I had was when we went to the park to do yoga while high. I love to do simple things with my lover.— AURÉLIE LA SIRÈNE 💧❤️🔥🦂⚡️ (@aurelielasirene) February 24, 2023
Cannabis and Yoga: A Mindful Match
The intricate journey from the ancient practices of the Indus Valley to the modern phenomenon of "Ganja yoga" unveils a profound and mindful relationship between cannabis and yoga. Throughout history, these practices have not only coexisted but also complemented each other in fostering physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
From the shared emphasis on relaxation and heightened mindfulness to the potential enhancement of the endocannabinoid system, cannabis and yoga create a mindful match that transcends cultural boundaries.
As we delve into this symbiotic relationship, it is crucial to approach the exploration of cannabis and yoga with responsibility and mindfulness. If you've ever thought about trying it yourself, let this be an invitation to explore. We hope this information helps you cultivate a mindful consumption approach that respects the essence of both cannabis and yoga in promoting holistic wellness for yourself.
Some find that using cannabis before yoga enhances mindfulness, creativity, and relaxation during the practice. It may make certain poses more comfortable and lead to a more imaginative session. On the other hand, using cannabis after yoga can amplify the relaxation achieved during the practice, promote reflection, and potentially alleviate post-practice muscle soreness.
Yes, many find that practicing yoga while high is enjoyable. Mindful cannabis use can enhance the yoga experience by promoting both relaxation and heightened mental awareness. Choose optimal strains and product formats to get the most out of your stoned yoga experience. And always be mindful of your dosage, starting small and building up if necessary.
Yes, CBD can be beneficial for yoga. CBD, a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis, is known for its potential to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. Incorporating CBD into your yoga routine may enhance the overall experience by fostering a calm mind and easing muscle tension. Its anti-inflammatory properties could also contribute to post-yoga recovery.
Engaging in exercise while high is a subjective choice, and many individuals find it enjoyable. Cannabis can enhance the exercise experience by promoting relaxation and increasing mindfulness. However, it's crucial to be mindful of personal tolerance levels and start with low doses to avoid potential negative effects on coordination and focus. Experiment responsibly to determine whether exercising while high is a positive and enjoyable addition to your fitness routine.
In regions where cannabis use is legal, some yoga studios offer specialized Ganja Yoga classes. Search online, check with local studios and join online communities to help locate these teachers and classes. You can also enjoy the benefits of ganja yoga in your own home, in a natural environment or at your local gym.
When practicing yoga while high, consider poses that enhance relaxation, mindfulness, and the mind-body connection. Child's Pose encourages introspection, Corpse Pose fosters deep relaxation, and Lotus Pose supports meditation. Downward-Facing Dog promotes full-body relaxation, while Seated Forward Bend releases lower back tension. Mountain Pose provides grounding, and Warrior Poses build strength and focus. Cat-Cow Pose encourages mindful movement. Tailor your practice to your comfort level and listen to your body, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience.
Combining cannabis and yoga is generally safe for many individuals, but personal tolerance levels vary. It's crucial to start with low doses, be mindful of strain choices, and consider individual health factors. Consulting with a healthcare professional is advisable, especially if you have any underlying health concerns. Responsible experimentation and self-awareness can help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience when blending cannabis with your yoga practice.
For a serene yoga practice, strains with higher CBD content are often recommended, providing relaxation without intense psychoactive effects. Charlotte's Web, ACDC, Harlequin, Harle-Tsu, Cannatonic, and Pennywise are examples of cannabis strains with high CBD, balanced THC-to-CBD ratios, or both. Conversely, individuals seeking heightened focus and energy may find strains with higher THC content, often associated with specific cultivars, more suitable. Some strains that are reported to go great with yoga include Blue Dream, Sour Diesel, Grandaddy Purple, Durban Poison and Jack Herer.