With pot sales and use legalized in October 2018, it seems one yoga trend is about to become increasingly popular.
Cannabis and yoga.
Already available in Toronto (and in other cities where pot has been legal for some time), cannabis has been making its way onto mats.
But there are many differing opinions about whether or not it’s a good idea to add cannabis to a yoga practice. With legalization here, this question is sure to come up a lot more in mainstream discussions, so we’ve tried to best understand both sides of the conversation.
The Ayurvedic Reasoning Against Cannabis
It’s no wonder that the inclusion of marijuana into yoga is a very new idea. Obviously, this was not a common practice included in the ancient Ayurvedic texts that act as a foundation for yoga.
While some ancient texts describe marijuana positively in terms of medical benefits, they also warn of the “poison” of personal use, and never recommend mixing weed and yoga together. But other Ayurvedic principles may suggest cannabis and yoga aren’t supposed to mix.
When sitting down for a yoga practice, you have to set an intention. With cannabis yoga, is your attention and focus directed inward? Or is the focus on the cannabis and smoking for external pleasure?
For some, drugs and alcohol can become a way to block out feelings, or disassociate with the world around us. Cannabis is no exception. And if yoga is looking for clear connections of body, mind, and spirit, the use of anything external to get there may not make sense.
Furthermore, the government and many other health experts are quick to warn of some of the negative health benefits that can come from long-term cannabis use—especially for young people. With legalization so new, cannabis use will likely increase and we don’t know what the results of what more use will be.
Ayurveda practices are designed to help and heal our minds and bodies, and there is scientific evidence that cannabis may not be the route for some to achieve this health. However, in some cases, cannabis can be a useful treatment.
If you do use cannabis in your practice or otherwise, be mindful of the effects on both your mind and body, and honestly ask yourself if using the drug is causing you any harm or preventing you from being present in your practice or your life.
The Anecdotal Benefits of Cannabis
Cannabis has many documented health benefits, including use as part of a larger treatment plan for cancer, epilepsy, PTSD, chronic pain, and more.
There’s many stories and anecdotal evidence from people who say cannabis has helped them let go of certain judgments, or see their practice in a new light. Using cannabis as part of your practice can be much like enjoying a fine wine or beer along with your yoga class, especially since both types of yoga already exist. But the experience doesn’t necessarily need to be about the beer or marijuana. Instead, consider the use of these substances as tools to focus on the present moment.
Perhaps, if marijuana is able to be temporarily used as a stepping stone to get someone out of their own head, and into a new space, they could come to understand a new experience. Many yogis who now run cannabis yoga classes attest to this fact. This is something which perhaps needs to be experienced to be understood entirely.
And finally, cannabis is a natural plant and is not synthetic like many other drugs.
Some people may say you should never be on substances while practicing yoga. But, where do you draw the line? Should you not have caffeine in your system? If you decide to meditate after a family dinner with wine, are you not getting a “true” or “honest” experience because you have alcohol in your system?
Now that cannabis is legal, mixing it with yoga is a big question for the community to consider. What do you think? Have you ever mixed cannabis and yoga? If so, what was your experience? Do you think mixing cannabis and yoga is a good idea? Why or why not?