Yoga may free you from your suffering, but sometimes you’re suffering too much to do yoga. That’s where the marijuana comes in.
Knee aching too much for warrior pose? There’s a THC-infused lotion that works well. Stress of the day weighing you down too much for yogic liftoff? Try a strain high in cannabinoids.
In a nation increasingly open to lifting laws against marijuana, we’re entering a new age of exploration for yogis. For the first time in what is likely a longstanding relationship between marijuana and yoga, we’re trying out ways the substance can be used to advance the practice — and sharing the results.
When I smoke, I instantly start rolling my shoulders back, realizing how locked up they are. They were that way before those two or three hits, but I didn’t notice. Our busy day-to-day lives train us to ignore such inconvenient facts and soldier on. And that is the root of all suffering. The moment we start ignoring ourselves for the sake of our routine, it all falls apart — you can’t address an internal problem you don’t realize exists.
Ideally we wouldn’t resort to marijuana to achieve this state of realization. Ideally the yoga in and of itself would be enough to pry us from the stress of the day. But let’s face it: there’s pain, hate and violence out there in spades. It’s eating us whole, from the inside out.
I had a particularly stressful day recently and, for the purposes of this column, I tried combining weed and yoga. (Ok, maybe it wasn’t the first time. But it was my first time doing it with purpose.)
I walked out into my backyard a twisted hot mess, body and mind, but was truly amazed at how calm and content I emerged after 30 minutes. I took three hits from a bowl-pack and I’ve never had such a successful home practice — 40 minutes of sun salutes flew by. I could feel what poses my body needed, and where I needed to linger a little longer and breathe a little deeper. Overhead trees wiggled in the wind all the while, framing a twilit sky.
I even felt more flexible.
“The cannabis with yoga, it’s a calming effect on your nervous system and that goes a long way in the way you feel after class,” says Stacey Mulvey, originally of Salt Lake City, who’s in the midst of bringing her interstate workshop series, Marijuasana, to Boston. “Well after the practice, you’ll be like, wow! I still feel so open.”
Her classes, which take place in private residences, start with a social period in which students partake of various marijuana forms. She presents a CBD strain that “can be consumed by everybody — by your dog, by your grandma, by your kids and by you and it’s not going to get you high.” She also brings THC for those who appreciate the high. Attendees can choose to vaporize the marijuana, drink a tea steeped with it or rub in a CBD oil, whose properties bring about anti-inflammatory effects.
Mulvey says cannabis also brings a concentration to the practice that helps yogis stay present in the moment.
“It’s amazing to me as a teacher to see everybody shift, and you can see the smile come over their faces,” Mulvey says.
Marijuana mitigates residual pain and loosens body, mind and spirit.
“That’s how I started doing yoga and Pilates — it was a result of smoking weed and wanting to stretch,” she says.
Mulvey says that over time we lose connection with certain parts of our bodies. We store our stress there, compartmentalize it and forget it.
“You don’t even know you’re ignoring it, you’re just shutting it out,” she says. “Once you know, you can address it. That part of your body has a message that you’ve just been silencing.”
Mulvey launched her first Boston workshop last week. Her August events in Boston are already sold out, but she plans to schedule more in September. She also hosts events in Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, Nevada and Seattle, Washington. For more information visit marijuasana.com.
Amanda Drane can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.