Slow, meditative breathing is an important part of most yoga classes, but at Chronic Trips’ first cannabis-friendly yoga class on April 7, there was also a different kind of inhaling going on.
“We want to reduce the stigma of the lazy stoner,” said Chronic Trips owner Seth Frappier.
Frappier hosted the first Inhale Exhale yoga at Ora Care in Springfield, a store and café that sells hemp and CBD (cannabidiol) products. Participants were welcome to bring their own cannabis or CBD products and consume them before and throughout the yoga practice. While some people in the room refrained from smoking, many passed around a joint as Frappier introduced himself and the yoga instructor, Jessica Young, from Easthampton.
This yoga class was the first hosted by Chronic Trips and was a pretty unique event in the current cannabis climate. The Cannabis Control Commission in Massachusetts decided to push off regulating social consumption of cannabis until 2019, so in the meantime the only way to legally consume cannabis (alone or with other people) is to do so inside a private residence that is located on private property.
“Part of my business model is to build community, especially cannabis community,” Frappier said. “It’s a place to go where it is stress free. But I don’t want people to be sitting on the couch.”
The stereotype of the lazy stoner is a persistent one in popular culture, but Frappier believes that cannabis can help many people to enjoy many physical activities even more than they usually do. Research published in Future Medicinal Chemistry, says cannabinoids can treat many chronic diseases that cause inflammation, including Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.
“Some people who have felt stifled by their movements can break free with cannabis,” Frappier said.”
Yoga participant Sarah Keddell from Carver said that cannabis has helped her with insomnia and as an alternative to prescription anxiety medication.
“I’m here mostly out of curiosity,” Keddell said. “I’m glad we’re starting with a bunch of seated poses!”
Yoga instructor Jessica Young started the practice with some slow breathing and simple stretches, including neck rolls and side stretches. She said that she intentionally planned a mostly seated, relaxing practice, “for individuals who aren’t comfortable balancing after consuming.”
Frappier explained that both yoga and cannabis interact with the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for rest and digestion.
Young made sure that the seven participants knew that they could continue to consume the cannabis they brought throughout the practice. Young said that cannabis helped her to deepen her yoga practice when she was learning to be an instructor.
“I think before I really trained enough I was impatient,” Young said. “This really helps me to get focused and get in touch with my body and mind.”
In addition to the physical benefits that Frappier mentioned as a benefit of cannabis, Young also believes that there are meditative benefit to cannabis that make it particularly well suited to yoga.
“It helps you to drop into the moment more. It just relaxes the whole system and gives you the ability to be more single-minded,” Young said.
Chronic Trips hosts other active events that are cannabis friendly, including nature walks, all year round.
“It helps motivate and foster a holistic lifestyle,” Frappier said.
Meg Bantle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org