Ganja yoga classes may be popular now, but mixing cannabis and yoga is a sacred tradition that dates back thousands of years. And there’s a reason.
While cannabis and yoga are both trendy, they’re also tools for connecting with yourself and the divine. So whether you’re looking to embark on a journey of self-discovery or just looking for new ways to align your body, cannabis and yoga can help you do that.
We’ll look back at the origin of this unique combination and then give you some tips for incorporating it into your own life.
In India, the birthplace of yoga, both yoga and cannabis are revered as sacred. In fact, Lord Shiva, the god of yoga, is also the god of cannabis.
According to legend, it is said that Lord Shiva was suffering from sun exposure when he landed upon a cannabis plant. It was believed that these plants only grew in sacred areas where Amrita, the elixir of life, had been dripped.
Lord Shiva ate the plant’s leaves and was magically rejuvenated. After making cannabis a staple in his diet, he became known as the Lord of Bhang. To this day, Bhang is a traditional cannabis drink that is still sold in the streets of India.
And that’s not the only connection between cannabis and yoga in ancient India. Early tantric cults also believed cannabis was a link to divine powers. Tantric cults were an ancient Indian tradition that has influenced many of the poses we see in our yoga classes today.
For them, the sacred plant provided prolonged stamina and increased pleasure. Plus, cannabis allowed ancient Tantrics to feel the divine powers within their and their partner’s bodies, allowing them to achieve newfound levels of euphoria.
High yoga classes, sometimes called ganja yoga, 420 yoga, or stoned yoga, are becoming all the rage.
In states with adult-use cannabis, like California and Colorado, there are plenty of ganja yoga classes to choose from. So many, in fact, that you can be picky. Prefer to smoke joints rather than vape? Not a problem, there’s a class for you. Check out the Maze newsletter to see the ganja yoga class offerings in your city.
Live in a state without adult-use cannabis? No need to get jealous because CBD yoga classes are also popping up in states. In states without accessible cannabis laws, hemp-derived CBD products are still readily available, and yoga classes are starting to offer CBD drinks, oils, flower, and vapes.
Cannabis and yoga work well together because they both have similar benefits.
Those include stress reduction, pain reduction, and the lowering of blood pressure. So when you pair them at the correct dose for your tolerance and with the amount of movement you’re comfortable with, they can enhance these benefits even more.
Yoga has been around for so long because it helps people not only relax but achieve spiritual awareness and bliss. Cannabis has also been used for these purposes, both traditionally and to this day.
Combining the two can help you clear your mind and feel into poses, making important adjustments for alleviating tension and achieving optimal alignment.
Ganja yoga only goes wrong when people push themselves. They either consume more cannabis than they’re comfortable with or do more yoga than they’re physically able to do. But if you take it slow and keep the dose low, you’ll find that cannabis and yoga enhance each other.
Not only can cannabis enhance the yoga experience, but if your muscles get sore after your practice, cannabis can help.
Applying cannabis products topically can help with muscle soreness in specific locations, and taking cannabis products like CBD oil or other edibles can help reduce your body’s overall inflammation.
You don’t need to attend an expensive class to enjoy the benefits of 420 yoga. You don’t need to be a yoga expert either. There are several yoga stretches you can do at home from your bed, when you get up in the morning or before you go to sleep.
The Seated Forward Bend is one of the perfect stretches to start with once you’ve had your puff of ganja.
To begin, get into a seated position, which you’re probably already in, extend your legs forward, and flex your feet towards you. Then, lift up your arms and bring them down to your feet or ankles, whichever is most comfortable, of course.
For around 30 to 60 seconds, hold that position with your shoulders relaxed and continue stretching forward while maintaining a steady breath.
To move into the next stretch, the Seated Side Bend, cross your legs and place your right arm on the bed while extending your left arm over your head.
With your fingers reaching as high as you are right now, exhale, reach up, and bend to the right, giving your left side a nice deep stretch. Then, while pressing your left hip into the bed, begin expanding both your left lungs and ribs.
After holding the pose for 30-60 seconds, switch sides.
With your legs still crossed, begin the Seated Spinal Twist by stretching your spine toward the ceiling.
If you need extra support, try sitting on a pillow or a couple of folded blankets. While keeping your hips rooted to the bed, start twisting to the right and relax your left hand on your right knee.
Deepen the stretch as much as you can and hold for 30 to 60 seconds before switching to the other side.
Now it’s time to get on all fours and dive into Wide Child’s Pose. To start the stretch, keep your hands in place and move your hips backward onto your feet.
Keep those toes together and open your knees as wide as you can with your arms reaching in front of you and your shoulders stretched.
After holding that position and breathing steadily for 30 to 60 seconds, try walking your hands to the right, take a few breaths, and then move to the right and repeat.
Next up in this series of stretches is Cat Pose. You should still already be on all fours, with your hands under your shoulders and knees beneath the hips.
Once your hands are beneath your shoulders and your knees are under your hips, as you exhale, start rounding your spine up to the ceiling, bend your chin to your chest, and draw your belly button into your spine.
Continue stretching and lengthening the spine for around 30 to 60 seconds, putting all of your attention on it.
This is one of the most rewarding stretches on the list. Lie down on your tummy, place your elbows beneath your shoulders, and your palms and forearms flat on the bed.
Then, lift your chest and shoulders, extending through your upper back rather than your lower end. Your shoulders should be drawing down your back and relaxed away from your ears.
If you have the flexibility, straighten your arms and try to lift even higher so that the spine feels elongated but not cramped. Maintain the position for 30 to 60 seconds.
After mastering Wide Child’s Pose, you’re officially halfway through your bed stretches. Feel free to reward yourself for your hard work with another puff of herb.
Once those cannabinoids are deep in your lungs, it’s time for Pigeon Pose. To begin, position yourself into a lunge position with your right foot forward and your hands resting on the bed.
Putting most of your weight in your hands, bring your front foot close to your left hand, then lower the knee towards the right. Next, press the exterior of your right calf onto the bed parallel to the front of you.
Finally, drop your back shin and knee slowly to the floor, square your hips to the front, and bring your arms forward, holding the pose for at least 60 seconds. As soon as your right hip and glute feel good and stretched, switch sides and repeat.
While you’re down on your stomach, you might as well attempt the Bow Pose. To do so, stretch your arms behind you and grab your feet, bringing them into the air.
Then, hold onto the outside of your ankles and lift your heels up to the ceiling with your knees up and away from the bed. Also, lift up your head, chest, and upper torso while you’re at it.
Keeping your neck aligned with your spine, pull your shoulder blades together and down towards your back and hold for 30 seconds.
Just one more pose to go! But before moving on to the last of the stretches, go ahead and flop onto your back to begin Happy Baby.
Then, bring your knees into your chest with your hands on the outside blades of your feet. Opening your knees at least shoulder-width apart, press your back into the bed as much as you can.
At the same time, push your feet into your hands while pulling down to create resistance. Don’t forget to breathe in and out deeply while holding the pose for 30 to 60 seconds.
Last but certainly not least of the stretches is Seated Pose. Sitting on your bottom with your legs crossed and your feet relaxed, lift your spine high to the sky, rest your hands on your knees, palms facing down, and just breathe.