The question when using cannabis and performing yoga is whether it clouds your mental ability or enhances them. Both yoga and cannabis have a long history in the subcontinent of India but have never fully coexisted. Yoga has always focused on heightening ones senses with the ultimate goal of reaching enlightenment. Cannabis also is used to help tap into the body and mind, but by stimulation though cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant. Each offers its own form of therapy but if you combine the two can you reach another level of complete therapy? Here we’ll look at the relationship between weed and yoga and if doing stoned yoga is a good idea or a bad idea.
Yoga and Marijuana
Though both yoga and marijuana have storied individual histories there is little research on the combination of both existing together. Looking at it on the perspective of general connections within the body might be the best way to understand the synergy between yoga and marijuana.
When stressed parts of the body and brain are damaged, specifically the endocannabinoid system (ECS), with the endogenous cannabinoids anandamide and 2-AG being lowered in the brain. Cannabinoids such as THC and CBD have been proven to interact with the ECS in a positive manner, allowing for things such as stress relief, pain reduction and much more. When practicing yoga such as asanas, things like deep breathing and meditation can mimic the effects of cannabis. Those who use cannabis during asana yoga say it allows them to be more one with their body. The main focus of asana yoga is the constant awareness on inhaling and exhaling, those using cannabis during yoga find it helpful to concentrate on their breathing and providing a stronger all around focus. The haze that you get after consuming THC can help tune out certain thoughts and tune better into the yoga. It has been shown that many who practice yoga can reach a cannabis state of consciousness, comparing it to flipping a switch within the brain. Many who use cannabis use it to help escape stressful memories, which makes cannabis such a powerful tool for those with PTSD. It has shown that cannabis plants have the power to alleviate symptoms from traumatic thoughts. There are studies done specifically on individuals with PTSD which examined yoga and how it can help with both PTSD and depression and the results have similar showings to how cannabinoids such as THC and CBD can help with the recovery process.
Yoga and marijuana share another ability when it comes to healing with both shown an enhanced power of reducing inflammation. Cytokines is what our immune system uses for inflammatory response within the body. Physical activity increases and produces cytokines to maintain a healthy immune system, while doing yoga the body is engaged in physical activity, movement and relaxation techniques. Such movements and exercises have been proven to reduce the resting levels inflammatory cytokines. Though there isn’t a lot of specific research surrounding the two coexisting together it has shown that using both cannabis and doing yoga separately can help with a variety of issues. Cannabis has the ability to boost the therapeutic benefit that yoga provides and yoga has shown to enhance the therapeutic ability of cannabis.
Tantric yoga works on subtle energies throughout the body to increase spiritual uplifting and physical enhancement, it is meant to bring forth energy, connecting that energy with the universe, with the goal of discovering the purpose of life and the connection of new dimensions. Tantric practice has been known to use unorthodox techniques using the body as a tool for finding enlightenment, swaying from the traditional practice of other forms of yoga such as eating red meat, drinking alcohol, having sexual intercourse and using cannabis. Tantra is based on worshiping incarnation of feminine and masculine spirits with practitioners being granted Siddhis, which is the magical powers and the ability to reach spiritual advancement. Tantric yogic believes cannabis is an important tool when used in appropriate context. Kundalini is a school of yoga that coexists with tantric practice, Kundalini rituals use cannabis after a 24 hour fast prior to their ceremonies. They believe that cannabis is an “ideal way to attain a sense of one’s own divinity through euphoric experimentation with the powers of one’s mind.”
Benefits of Yoga and Marijuana
Smoking cannabis can help with distracting the mind which makes pairing it with yoga a potential benefit, cannabis yoga can help with quieting the mind helping tap into the inner consciences. Cannabis yoga allows for an the mind to distance itself from external stimuli, providing those practicing yoga to focus on their physical and emotional sensations. It has also been suggested that cannabis yoga can help with the movement of yoga enhancing the rhythmic motions. Weed and yoga can also help with those suffering in pain or have reduced mobility, which we have already touched on in this article.
How To Cannabis Yoga
Limit your smoke intake
Breathing is a crucial element when it comes to preforming yoga, the exercise of focusing on your breathing is a critical step, so it’s obvious that smoking large amount of weed before a yoga session might hinder your breathing ability. When incorporating weed and yoga try to avoid smoking joints or doing bong rips. Things like vaping or consuming edibles are the best options for your pre yoga routine, this allows for unaltered airflow in the lungs and a pure and focused high to help you reach your enlightenment.
When we talk about consuming cannabis and doing yoga we don’t recommend getting belligerently high, it will just ruin your focus and make the yoga session pointless. To avoid this we recommend taking a small portion of what you would usually do when consuming cannabis, enough where you micro dose and feel the mildest buzz. Once you begin to open up your body you high will increase with the movement of blood flow, so a micro dose hit is a perfect balance between the two.
Pick the right strain
The last thing you want is to smoke a killer kush and be completely out of focus during your yoga routine, it’s good to know what specific strains do what to your body and mind. You may want a relaxing indica to help reduce you anxiety of an uppity sativa to give you an focused energy boost. It’s also a good idea to use a strain with a higher content of CBD, this will add to the relaxing and mindfulness of your yoga session, without feeling overly high.
Work on your balance
The last thing you want is to rush into class after taking a toke, move into a balancing pose and fall flat on your face. Experiment at home with your balancing after smoking cannabis, make sure to give yourself plenty of time between hitting that vape and starting your yoga class.
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Cons of Marijuana and Yoga
Though there are yoga practices and yoga instructors that have no issues with the blending of weed and yoga, others believe the two should not be mixed. They argue that cannabis does not belong in the body while practicing yoga, they point to the fact that yoga is about purifying the body and not intoxicating it.
Many believe that if you consume marijuana during yoga it will create an illusion of success. Using marijuana is an external source which takes away from the natural ability of finding an experience within yourself. The purpose of doing yoga is to find your enlightenment within your body, mind and soul but with cannabis it provides a real-life experience which takes away the natural purpose of yoga. Many also believe that using cannabis takes away the ability to fully focus during a yoga session, they believe it is all about the awareness of one’s self known as the perusha. When you preform yoga it’s vital to be attentive to the fluctuations of the mind and the real thoughts, it’s about building a discipline to be able to maneuver through those thoughts and notice them naturally. Another argument is the fact that cannabis detaches you from the real world, numbing your mind instead of calming it. Meditation is all about making the brain stronger to help build focus and calm during difficult situations. Using cannabis will only become a counter productive measure against the overall purpose of yoga and meditation.
Do What’s Best For You
The debate around stoned yoga is inconclusive. Various practices have used it throughout history while others have been against it, there are good arguments on both spectrum. When it comes down to it each individual is in control of their own surroundings and if they chose to do stoned yoga or not, that should be completely up to them. Every one has a different mind and body and what they do with it is their own business, some may find marijuana and yoga beneficial, some might find it a hindrance. If you are curious about the relationship between marijuana and yoga we suggest trying it out, if you don’t enjoy it out find it hard to focus then you know you don’t need to use it, but if you find it helpful and calming then it’s clearly the right option for you. Test is out and find the perfect balance for you to reach your calm and enlightened self.