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A Yoga Teacher Shares Her Experience Teaching Marijuana Infused Yoga

Cannabis and Yoga. Two ancient tools, both used for thousands of years. Both with roots in healing the body, meditational aides and spiritual ties. Pairing the two is nothing new. Records found dating back to 7th century A.D. link cannabis use with Tantric Yoga philosophy.
Lord Shiva, the Hindu God, is said to be the Lord of Ganja due to the myth of him giving the plant to humans to use for enlightenment. The Vedas, which is the earliest texts of spiritual guidance, is recorded to have combined cannabis with yoga as far back as 2000-1400 BCE.
The Rastafari have been using ganja with their meditation practices from the beginning as a vehicle to a better understanding of the Self and a deeper connection to the Divine.
As time has gone on science has stepped into the weed game too, uncovering many key benefits to cannabis and creating more good reasons to pair yoga with the plant medicine.

Marijuana Legalization and Scientific Studies

Cannabis is becoming legal in more states each year, for medical and/or recreational use. Currently there are 29 states that have medical marijuana laws plus the territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and Washington DC. Of those 29 states, 8 states are fully legal for medical and recreational use of cannabis.
Due to the growing approval, more medical discoveries have been made about the plant and all the benefits that cannabis has to offer.
In 1990, scientists asked how can this one plant help so many different ailments? The answer they found came with the discovery of the endocannabinoid system, named after the plant.
The endocannabinoid system is a system of receptors located throughout the body, in the brain, organs, glands, muscles, connective tissues, and immune cells.
The goal of the endocannabinoid system is homeostasis – to maintain a stable internal environment. If it gets thrown out of balance, the body can suffer from many types of diseases. Scientists found two cannabinoid receptors that help maintain that homeostasis: CB1 and CB2.

Cannabis and Its Healing Properties

Cannabis has been found to bring relief to people with many different ailments like cancer, chronic pain, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Crohn’s disease, and Multiple Sclerosis just to name a few.
Scientists also found that the properties within Cannabis, THC, CBD and CBN, stimulate those receptors and brings balance back to the endocannabinoid system. That’s some powerful science!
Thomas Edison said, “There were never so many able, active minds at work on the problems of disease as now, and all their discoveries are trending toward the truth that you can’t improve on nature.”
The discoveries made through cannabinoid research has proven this statement is still valid. Now combine this plant power with the healing art of yoga and the benefits are endless . . .

Yoga and Cannabis – How They First Met

With states going legal for medical and recreational use and the approval of cannabis rising, many yoga practitioners have found their own way to combining weed with their yoga practice.
In the Western world, it has many different names, Lifted CannaYoga, Ganjasana, Ganja Yoga, Stoned Yoga, 420 Yoga and it’s been going on for quite a while now.
Want to learn more about Ganjasana and its founder, Rachael Carlevale? Watch her interview on YouAligned!
The first weed and yoga pairing in the U.S. was founded by Dee Dussault, author of the book Ganja Yoga and owner of the yoga studio by the same name, established in 2009. I had the pleasure of taking her class in Portland, Oregon during her book tour in June 2017.
The class was soulful and enlightening with a strong sense of community from smoking cannabis with new friends before moving through a slow Hatha flow together. It was an inspiring experience to say the least – so much so that I went home to my conservative town in Eastern Washington and started my own cannabis-infused yoga classes.


The Benefits of Cannabis and Yoga

Cannabis-infused yoga brings a heightened awareness and focus to the body helping you to sync mind, body and breath more efficiently which in turn aides with anxiety, depression and pain management.
Using marijuana and yoga together helps tone down the analyzing and preparing that goes on in the prefrontal cortex of the brain so you can focus more on the sensual engagement and sensory experience. Translation: you’re able to step out of your head and into the now on your mat.

Yoga promises bliss and spiritual awareness, while cannabis helps our body respond well to these virtues.

Your yoga practice in general helps you reduce stress, lower blood pressure (which aids in cardiovascular health), increases metabolism, supports your immune system, and strengthens muscles and joints.
When it comes to treating pain, the combination of yoga and cannabis is a powerful tool. Cannabis and yoga are individually said to relieve pain and inflammation.
Also, cannabis and yoga both speak to the parasympathetic nervous system, so combining the two brings a deeper relaxation and connection to your inner self. Yoga promises bliss and spiritual awareness, while cannabis helps our body respond well to these virtues.

My Experience Teaching CannaYoga

Through my personal experience of practicing high yoga for the past 12 years, and more recently, teaching others, I have witnessed the immense healing benefits of combining the two, and numerous students have found a healthy path to treating their ailments holistically.
While teaching ‘CannaYoga’ classes, I have witnessed the euphoric effects of a good yoga practice paired with good ganja. Students leave feeling relief from pain and stress, with smiles on their faces and inner awareness in their eyes.

To me as a yoga teacher, the best part of the cannabis yoga classes is the community they create.

Surrounding yourself with like-minded souls with similar interests and common goals is refreshing to say the least. The CannaYoga experience is worth having for so many reasons and always with an open heart, open mind and a fat joint.
It’s been an ancient act of healing and higher awareness for thousands of years and will continue to be whether practiced in India, a studio, a friend’s place or alone.

High Yoga: The Takeaway

Now there are those who say that yoga and cannabis should never be mixed, or those who have never tried it. There are people within the yoga community who feel that involving an intoxicating substance with their yoga practice negates the positive effects of yoga, clouding your spiritual journey making it more difficult to reach enlightenment.
Everyone is entitled to their opinions. But I challenge anyone that finds themselves in the boat of skepticism to do some research on the scientific findings of cannabis, its medical uses, and its history. Maybe even give it a try . . .

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High Yoga: Does Weed Have a Place in Your Yoga Practice?
The merging of yoga and cannabis is a hot topic within the yoga community as the popularity of marijuana increases. Find out if High Yoga is for you here.
Read »

Lacey Davis

Lacey Davis is a meditating, holistic living, homeschooling, stay at home vegan yogi mamma of 3 crazy fun kiddos in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Her holistic lifestyle came about recently due to an extreme need to naturally treat her clinical depression. Finding peace and grace in this lifestyle, she’s constantly searching for love and light to share and spread.

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