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learn | 01.08.2020

Cannabis and Yoga: What You Need to Know

It might seem that cannabis and yoga wouldn’t make a great match, considering most people don’t associate physical activity with marijuana. However, combining the two may lead to increased relaxation, deeper awareness, and greater ability to hold poses.

It might seem that cannabis and yoga wouldn’t make a great match, considering most people don’t associate physical activity with marijuana. But yoga and cannabis might be the exception. Cannabis users and yoga enthusiasts often have similar goals: relaxation, a search for bliss, and deeper awareness. In fact, yoga and cannabis go together frequently enough that even The New York Times has reported on it. After all, if we can mix yoga with wine, why not mix yoga and marijuana?

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Photo credit: Blanca via Flickr

According to The New York Times, some yoga studios offer classes designed for students who smoke up before class. Depending on the class and studio, yogis may smoke as a class or privately before class begins. Profiled in the Times article, yoga instructor Liz McDonald starts her 4:20 Remedy Yoga at 4:25 (to avoid conflicting with the 4:20 smokers). Instructor Dee Dussault also runs a Ganja Yoga class in San Francisco for students who add marijuana to their yoga experience. The poses within these classes are designed to accommodate people who may be in an altered state of consciousness.

Breathe Deeply
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Photo credit: Patrick Savelle via Flickr

Many people take up yoga for the same reasons others take up marijuana: to encourage relaxation, spiritual awareness, bliss and inner self-reflection. If each activity can help with those goals separately, combining the two might lead to even deeper awareness, greater bliss or enhanced relaxation.

Both yoga and marijuana are also used to ease the pain of physical ailments, such as scoliosis. For these individuals,  marijuana use combined with yoga may further enhance their physical improvement. It may even make yoga that would have been impossible without the marijuana, possible.

The Controversy

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Photo credit: Eugenia Lyakhova via Flickr
< Not everyone agrees with toking before yoga. Some practitioners argue that yoga is about “mastering the self” without outside assistance. Marijuana use in this context may suggest that a person is dependent on the drug for that mastery. Attending a class in this drug-induced state may not allow for a clear, tranquil mind.

The Science
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Photo credit: Matthew Ragan via Flickr

There is little research surrounding the benefits of yoga and marijuana. However, individuals who combine the two say it helps them achieve deeper relaxation and more mindfulness. Others are concerned that there could be negative effects from combining drugs and exercise.

The Results

Those who combine marijuana and yoga say that their relaxation increased, because their brain activity is decreased. In addition to this, yoga students with physical ailments say they wouldn’t be able to practice yoga without the marijuana because it eliminates the pain that usually prevents them from exercising. Others say it quiets their mind and helps them relax. Of course, effects of marijuana use is a  subjective experience, and it is at the user’s discretion if they decide to light-up before falling into their downward dog.



Header photo credit: mightyboybrian via Flickr

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