As human beings what most of us strive to earn in life, apart from the regular income, of course, is the general well-being of our mind and body. Living in peace and harmony is a luxury not many can attain owing to their busy lifestyle but there is always hope. Yoga is one such fitness practice that not only benefits one’s physical aspect but also induces peace and harmony to one’s mental being. Likewise, cannabis has been an effective pain management strategy and has been providing therapeutic results for a long period. This brings us to the trending topic these days: Can cannabis enhance yoga practice? Is it safe and productive or just hype? How productive will the combination of the 2 turn out to be for human well-being in the long run? The answers are outlined in detail below. Also, read on to find out more about the pairing of these two ancient therapies which has been both a hot topic and a controversial one for some time.
Yoga and Cannabis: The Power Couple
Cannabis and yoga are the new power couple in town! Everyone is talking about them. The popular notion is that the pairing of these two therapies has enhanced both their unique benefits. Many types of yoga have amazing benefits ranging from flexibility to improved cardio-vascular functions, stress reduction, better sleep, and pain relief from chronic health conditions. Similarly, many research and studies evidence the pain management functions of cannabis that improve outcomes of various illnesses such as insomnia, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and muscle tension, to name a few. It is not surprising at all, that there has been an increase in ‘high yoga’ classes, especially considering the wonderful benefits both therapies bring to the table. It certainly makes one wonder; how good would the combination prove to be?
However, cannabis and yoga don’t necessarily go hand in hand. Even though ganja yoga or weed yoga have gained popularity all over the world, many yogis and yoga instructors have mixed feelings about this practice and are on both sides of the fence regarding the pairing. Today’s yoga instructors fundamentally differ in their interpretations and opinions about this, even though the combination practice has been going on for centuries. It is not a new concept; however, it is certainly a recent trend. Therefore, if you decide to go ahead with combining both therapies, you might find it useful to consider the pros and cons, as well as be aware of some vital measures that need to be undertaken before you commence your high yoga class.
Pros and Cons of Ganja Yoga
In Ayurveda, cannabis is known for its holistic properties as a medicine. However, the usage is dichotomized as “nectar” when used as a medicine, and ‘visha’ or poison, when the substance is abused for recreational purposes. In the same regard, there are plenty of ways your yoga practice could do more harm than good if or when not done properly. This informs us that potential benefits and possible disadvantages are part and parcel of this combination.
Let’s consider some pros of cannabis yoga:
- Improved concentration and focus- With the right dosage and strain, many yogis can improve their concentration and focus during yoga. However, the type of cannabis and your dose amount plays a key role in achieving this goal. Things can go wrong in many ways if not properly administered.
- Enhanced senses- Chemical compounds such as THC or CBD in cannabis can heighten our senses which could make the entire process intense and more enjoyable.
- A relaxed state of mind- THC, and CBD provide a soothing and calming sensation that enables yogis to connect their body and spirit. They can get proper control of breathing, which is a huge component of yoga.
- Lose your inhibitions- Cannabis helps you let go of any nervous feeling you experience before the session. This helps a person to engage in a productive yoga session.
Here are some negatives of cannabis yoga for you to consider as well:
- Effect on blood pressure- Cannabis has a direct influence on blood pressure. Sudden movements and certain poses in yoga may cause some people to experience low blood pressure or high blood pressure depending on the person’s unique circumstances.
- Poor concentration- While appropriate doses help in enhanced concentration, larger doses might cause the exact opposite. Too much cannabis in the system gets people stoned and “out of zone”. This leads to potential injury and an unproductive yoga session.
- Poor coordination- When you are high, many people find it difficult to execute certain poses or movements. Doing yoga under the influence of weed or other cannabis products needs proper administration and practice.
- Distressful effects- High doses or an overdose can lead to potential health risks and distressful symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, anxiety, stress, etc.
Few Tips to Combine Cannabis and Yoga
The community of yogis is very diverse, yet a basic agreement can be found that yoga offers enlightenment by merging body, mind, and soul. While some may argue that cannabis consumption before yoga may hinder your focus and physical purity, some find deep experience and connection within their practice after cannabis intake. Nevertheless, if you ever consider pairing cannabis with yoga, here are few tips to elevate your experience:
- Try cannabis on its own before you decide to combine it with a yoga session. Each body uniquely responds to cannabis and you need to understand how your body does the same. Give yourself at least a couple of sessions to see how weed affects you.
- Once you are ready to start, ensure you go slow and steady. Start with microdoses, and gradually work your way up. Remember, getting stoned is not your aim here. Instead, cannabis should help you calm your body and mind to get the best out of your yoga practice.
- Work with a trained yoga instructor who has had legit experience using cannabis with yoga sessions.
- Choose vaporizers over smoking as it is easier on the lungs. Edibles are a great option as well. However, keep in mind they take a long time to take effect and effects might last longer than your yoga session.
- Hydration is very important as it flushes out toxins and keeping a bottle of water next to you during a yoga session is always recommended even if you are not using cannabis.
- Find the right balance between CBD and THC. Again, getting super high during your yoga session would do more harm than good. Therefore, be mindful of taking a strain that has the perfect CBD: THC ratio.
- To find the right ratio you need the right strain. Please note that different strains provide different effects, and you need to choose the right one that suits your unique needs.
- Last but not the least, you need to go easy on yourself. While cannabis can help you get “in the zone”, oblivion is also not the goal here. You need to go easy on the dose as well as yoga poses or asanas. A complicated routine will make things very hard for you.
Measures to Undertake a Responsible Practice
Please keep in mind these considerations before you pair cannabis with your yoga session.
- Avoid a crowded yoga session as you need to be comfortable and in control during the session.
- If using inhalation methods, make sure your breathing is not impacted by cannabis inhalation as proper breathing is conducive for yoga.
- Pair with a strain that is familiar or reliable.
- Do not attempt asanas that challenge your motor coordination.
- Know your limits in terms of consumption. As a good starting point, use 2.5 to 5 mg of THC.
- Don’t exert yourself by wanting a sweaty yoga practice. Instead, try to calm both your body and mind to explore the soothing side of yoga.
Yoga teachers promoting cannabis yoga are taking on a huge responsibility in terms of the well-being and utmost care of their students. It is important to understand the ethical implication of such yoga classes as well. Many students or participants may experience anxiety, fatigue, or dizziness which could precipitate further health risks. It is also important to consider that yoga teachers are trained, medical practitioners. And remember, even though the risk factors are on the lower side, the symptoms are not to be underestimated at any cost. Ensuring proper hydration, checking prescriptions, and keeping safety as a top priority are to be mandated without fail. Cannabis and yoga have deep emotional, spiritual, and physical healing powers and can cultivate long-lasting effects when done properly. Stick to the basic do’s and don’ts, and experience the complementary benefits.