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Why You Should Add Cannabis to Your Yoga Practice

  • 6 min read
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  • Updated 310 days ago
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Whether you practice yoga for the physical or mental benefits, adding cannabis will elevate your yoga practice in more ways than one.

More and more states are legalizing cannabis for medicinal and/or recreational purposes. So now more and more people are wondering if it’s right for them. Well, whether you’re a professional yogi or you’re
just rolling out a mat for the first time, you should definitely consider adding cannabis to your yoga practice!

If you don’t know a ton about the history of yoga, or cannabis for that matter, then the idea of combining them probably sounds strange. But the two have actually been used together for thousands of years. Not only that, but on their own they each have powerful health and wellness benefits. So using them together just makes sense!

Still not convinced? Let me break it down for you…

A (Very) Brief History of Yoga and Cannabis

For centuries yoga and cannabis have been used as tools to help people reach enlightenment. In India, the birthplace of yoga, cannabis is considered a sacred plant often connected to Lord Shiva. Oddly enough, Lord Shiva is a god of creation, destruction, and--you guessed it---yoga!

In one story, Lord Shiva stumbled upon the plant when he was injured. After consuming the leaves he was revived, and after that he was pretty obsessed with the plant. Can you blame him? In many depictions of Lord Shiva you can even see him with a bundle of the leaves.

Today, especially in Western parts of the world, we’re more concerned with the physical benefits of yoga (don’t worry, I’ll get to that in a second). However, yoga was originally practiced to promote spiritual growth. And one tool used to aid them in this growth was a beverage called bhang.

Today bhang is closely related to Holi, an ancient Hindu festival. The drink is made from milk, ghee, spices, and cannabis. Supposedly, bhang is said to help drinkers “boost meditation and achieve transcendental states.”

So yoga and cannabis were tools helping people reach the same end--transcendance and enlightenment. That’s something we can definitely get behind!

The Benefits of Yoga

While the history of yoga emphasizes spirituality, most of us are more familiar with the trendy and modern yoga practices of today. Either way, do your thing! If you’re practicing yoga just for the physical benefits then you’re still going to get a LOT out of it.

The American Osteopathic Association says that yoga can promote flexibility, muscle strength, a balanced metabolism, weight reduction, and even cardio and circulatory health. But why not just take a jog to get those benefits?

Well, in a comprehensive study review about yoga, the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine said that there’s good indication that yoga is just as effective as other forms of exercise when it comes to improving health. So if other forms of rigorous exercise aren’t a good option for you due to yourenvironment, access to equipment, and or injuries--yoga might be right up your alley!

But it doesn’t stop there. Harvard Health Publishing says that yoga can affect your stress responses. Essentially, this means that yoga can help those suffering from anxiety and depression. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty awesome!

Important Notes About “Cannabis”

Before jumping right into the deep end, let me make one thing very clear--only use cannabis if you’re comfortable with it. The whole point of combining yoga and cannabis is to elevate your practice. If you’re
anxious the whole time, that kind of defeats the purpose.

But this brings me to another important note about cannabis--there are two different types of cannabinoids you should know about. There’s tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and then there’s cannabidiol (CBD).

I know. Take a deep breath. I promise to keep the science-heavy terms to a minimum. We’ll get through
this.

When people think of the stereotypical cannabis plant, they’re probably thinking of THC. That’s the compound that has a psychoactive effect--basically, it gets you high. It’s also not legal everywhere. So before you try and get your hands on any, make sure you check to see whether or not it’s legal where you live.

CBD, on the other hand, is manufactured from the hemp plant and is legal in all 50 states. The other item of note is that CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive properties. CBD doesn’t attach to the receptors in the
same way that...you know what? In the simplest terms CBD just doesn’t get you high.

You might consider combining the two so that their benefits can work together. Which leads me to…

The Benefits of Cannabis

The reason that these compounds are able to have any effect on you at all is because of a unique communication system built into your body. This is called your Endocannabinoid System (ECS). And while I COULD go into a long bio-chemistry speech that outlines the exact way that these compounds interact with your ECS...I won’t.

I will, however, say that THC and CBD interact with your ECS differently. This allows each of them to have different effects on your mind and body.

HealthLine says that THC can help with--

  • Pain
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Glaucoma
  • Insomnia
  • Low appetite
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety

While CBD can assist with--

  • Seizures
  • Inflammation
  • Pain
  • Nausea
  • Migraines
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

So whether you’re using THC or CBD, you’re going to get some majorly good vibes.

How to Combine Yoga and Cannabis

Honestly, do it however you want!

But if you’re a complete beginner, consider these tips--

  1. Find out which style of yoga is right for you. Some practices are more physically demanding, while some are more focused on the meditative qualities of yoga. Decide what you’re trying to get out of your practice and then find a style that suits your goals.
  2. Decide whether you want to use THC, CBD, or both. If you’re more interested in the meditative aspects of yoga, you may consider a THC strain that promotes euphoria and relaxation. If you’re worried about joint inflammation, or want to avoid getting “high,” then CBD is the way to go. It’s important to note though, that CBD and THC work best when used together. Through a phenomenon known as the Entourage Effect, the compounds work together to become more powerful than they’d ever be on their own. Plus, CBD can lessen the paranoia that THC can sometimes induce.
  3. Figure out HOW you’d like to get these compounds into your system. You can smoke, vape, take edibles, use oils, etc. Some of these options take longer to take effect, so do your research. You may also want to play around with your dosages so you can find an amount that feels perfect for you. The best rule of thumb to follow is to start low and go slow.
  4. If you’re already pretty comfortable with your yoga practice, then you should be good to go. But if you’ve never tried yoga before, I’d recommend getting comfortable with your poses before adding in the cannabis element.

Closing Thoughts

As always, consult a doctor before adding anything to your body with the intent of changing your physiology. While the side-effects are pretty rare, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

We hope that this information helped inspire you to either take up a new hobby OR to take your yoga practice to new heights! Health and wellness are the natural state. So anything that helps people get in-tune with their bodies and minds is OK by us.

Let us know in the comments what your experience with cannabis and yoga has been like! And if you know someone who could benefit from this information feel free to share it with them. You never know what might be the final push to help someone change their life for the better.

~Namaste~

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