We use cookies to provide and improve our services. By using our site, you consent to cookies.

Cookie Image

High Yoga: Does Weed Have a Place in Your Yoga Practice?

As the number of states legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational purposes continues to grow, the merging of yoga and cannabis has become a hot topic within the yoga community. Yogis are on both sides of the fence when it comes to the introduction of cannabis into their yoga practice.
Yoga has always placed an importance on a heightened sense of awareness. In fact, most yogis will tell you that they practice yoga to help them find a state that will allow them to reach enlightenment.
The question? Does cannabis has a place in that quest. Does toking up before yoga class block you from finding the very thing you are there for? Or does Mary Jane help you tune in to the frequency that you are seeking?

The Pros of High Yoga

Yogis in favor of flowing through their vinyasa while stoned point to the history books to support their vote. According to yoga historians, yogis have been partaking in marijuana in various forms for centuries.
Ancient yogis often consumed bhang, which is a beverage made from the flowers of a female cannabis plant, as well as hashish as a part of a daily meditation ritual which included asana.

“Historically, cannabis has been linked to really early use with yoga in ancient Shiva cults”

“Historically, cannabis has been linked to really early use with yoga in ancient Shiva cults,” states Dee Dussault of Ganja Yoga in San Francisco (formerly based in Toronto). “Back then, they weren’t smoking it, but drinking it in a milk beverage and burning it as an incense. But if you’re burning incense, you’re essentially hot boxing the temple as a result.”
The combination of yoga and marijuana here in the West is not new either. It dates back to the 1960’s when artists, free thinkers, and writers such as Ram Dass, Allen Ginsberg, and Timothy Leary were public about the adventures that were a result of practicing yoga and meditation while high.

Cannabis Can Help Yogis Connect Mind, Body, and Spirit

Many yogis contend that cannabis helps them develop a better connection with their bodies.
Some students have a very difficult time truly feeling their bodies. “Some people will die not knowing how to take a full breath. It’s hard for them to grasp the idea of breathing into your low back or lengthening from the crown of your head. Pot can help you work through that,” said Liz McDonald of Atwater Yoga in Los Angeles, who has been teaching a high yoga class at 4:20pm since 2004.

“In addition to body and breath connection, marijuana can simply help you relax and feel less pain.”

In addition to body and breath connection, marijuana can simply help you relax and feel less pain. Mark Haskell Smith, an author and yoga practitioner for over 20 years, occasionally uses pot when he practices and finds that it helps his body relax and go deeper into postures. “Part of the point of yoga is to relax the body. And marijuana helps a lot of people to do that,” he said.


The Cons of High Yoga

Others, however, are opposed to the addition of marijuana to yoga. Many yoga instructors and practitioners believe that drugs simply do not belong in yoga. Their argument against pot yoga, in part, focuses on teachings that emphasize purifying the body, not intoxicating it.
Nancy Romano, a yoga instructor in Los Angeles stated, “One of the things yoga teaches, even in something as simple as holding an uncomfortable pose, is how to tolerate reality. So any substance that fiddles with our ability to be with what’s really happening would not be helpful in a yoga practice.”
Dr. William Sands, dean of the College of Maharishi Vedic Science at Maharishi University of Management, believes that there isn’t a place for pot in yoga. “Marijuana inhibits the ability to experience yoga – the inner self – and is therefore incompatible with the practice of transcendental meditation,” he stated.
Julie Philips-Turner, the founder of Chesapeake Yoga and Wellness, stated in a recent blog post that yogis should be aware that one cannot reach enlightenment or Samadhi with marijuana. Instead, she stated, “It comes from hard work and persistent practice. A good practice includes complete faith, continued uninterrupted, for a long time – this is the way to achieve the state of yoga.”

What Do You Think? High Yoga or No?

The beautiful thing about yoga is that it is an incredibly personal practice. Yoga wants you to do what is best for you and your practice, and ultimately you are the only one who can say if incorporating the use of marijuana is right for you. Take into account what you know about yourself and your practice before you decide to bring Mary Jane to yoga with you.
Whatever you decide, get out there and practice yogis!

This article has been read 20K+ times. Bada bing!


wonderful comments!

20 Reasons Marijuana May Be Better for You Than Alcohol
Drinking alcohol is legal above the age of 21 throughout every state in the United States, while marijuana is currently only legal for recreational use in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington.
Read »

Elisha Thompson

Elisha Thompson is a yogi, an academic, and an author. She is a registered yoga teacher with 400 hours of training. Aside from yoga, Elisha’s greatest passion is writing. Her new book, Yoga for Kink, will be published this year. In her spare time, she loves to travel, spend time with loved ones, eat good food, and cuddle with unicorns.

Mind, body & life wellness in your inbox.

Get the
YA Classes App

No WiFi? No Problem! Download
classes and take them without an
internet connection.

Download YA Classes app on the Apple App Store
Download YA Classes app on the Google Play Store

Also available in Apple TV , Mac and Amazon apps.

Send this to a friend
Follow us on Close

Create Your FREE Account

Woohoo! You’re about to unlock unlimited articles, exclusive
community content, and select on-demand yoga and fitness classes.


Lost password?