Why do we smoke marijuana? To make ourselves feel better. Why do we practice yoga? To make ourselves feel better. If these two goals align in your day-to-day life, imagine what would happen if we combined marijuana and yoga. There seems to be a common understanding in the yogi community that being present and quieting the mind are two of the practice’s end goals. At least that’s what I’ve picked up on from my vinyasa class — but easier said than done, right? So many of us are always in a rush or thinking about what’s next. What am I going to have for dinner later? What assignments are due by Friday? Where’s the closest gas station? Yoga and marijuana can help us keep these hectic thoughts at bay while we enjoy the moment. Of course, it all depends on which marijuana strains we smoke. They’re not all made for relaxing and unwinding. According to Marijuana Break, the top strains for total relaxation are
- Strawberry Cough
- Mr. Nice
- Willy’s Wonder
- Skunk #1
- Master Kush
Similar to marijuana, there are different levels and energies at the yoga studio. Some classes focus on breathing and meditation while others work to get your heart rate up. That’s the beauty of marijuana and yoga — we can customize our experiences based on what we want or need. If we were talking about any professional sport, like football and the NFL, smoking marijuana at any point during the season would be illegal. Professional athletes cannot smoke marijuana as it could affect their performance, either positively or negatively. This begs the question as to what impact marijuana can have on our physical practices — like yoga.
I’m passionate about this subject because I see the respective benefits in marijuana and yoga. I’ve witnessed them first-hand. I smoke marijuana every day and go to yoga three times a week. Naturally, I’m curious as to how these two can enhance one another. But instead of just taking my word for it, I found other yogi-and-marijuana-lovin’ bloggers out there who shared their experiences.
It was Lindsay Kellner who brought my attention to Ganja Yoga. It was introduced to her for the first time when the book Ganja Yoga: A Practical Guide to Conscious Relaxation, Soothing Pain Relief, and Enlightened Self-Discovery crossed her desk. The definition of Ganja Yoga is simple and straightforward: smoking marijuana before yoga practice, which, according to ancient texts, has been around for hundreds of years. Both yoga and marijuana, the author writes, “bring a shift in consciousness that allows one to become more open to psychological, emotional, and energy states that aren’t usually operational in the grind of daily life.”
So, how has marijuana benefited my yoga practice? These are some of the things I had in common with other sharers.
For starters, my senses were heightened from the minute I laid down my mat and sweat towel. I practice hot yoga so the 90-degree room felt especially comforting and cozy throughout the winter. It was like experiencing a warm hug from the universe. The temperature felt great, stretching felt great, and the music was pumping through my soul like a boombox. I realize this may sound corny, but it’s true. There’s also a food truck pod right outside the studio for when the munchies kick in later. Sometimes the senses can create more distractions, but after hitting the bowl a few times beforehand, it all melted together.
Before every practice, my yoga instructor gives the class a motivational quote. I can’t remember his exact wording right now, but it’s something on the lines of — “Discomfort is the brain. Pain is the body” — meaning that we shouldn’t allow our minds to trick us into thinking something is too hard. If it truly is too hard, our body will let us know. Mind over matter, right? Working through the discomfort is a challenge in any sport and it’s something marijuana can help with. The times that I smoked before practice I noticed my breathing was steadier and my muscles could hold the poses longer. Smoking marijuana after practice is also a great way to treat soreness.
Another benefit to smoking marijuana before class is that time seems to go by way faster. The same way you zone out while stoned on the couch in front of the TV is the same way you zone out at yoga — except your body is moving the whole time. It’s almost as if you go on autopilot for that hour. Your body is doing the work but your mind is in La La Land, thinking happy thoughts or maybe, nothing at all. A blank mind can be a good mind.
There are still days (many of them) that I go to yoga completely sober. If there’s a class at 7am, I’m not going to wake up extra early just to smoke marijuana. I’d rather have shut-eye for those 15 minutes instead. After enough sober and stoned practices, I can definitely tell the difference — and I prefer the latter. My only note would be not to over-smoke. Otherwise, you may feel dizzy in a hot room or feel too sluggish to even make it to class. As with all things, too much can ruin the experience. So with that, I encourage you to know your marijuana limits and apply them to any and all future yoga classes.