The goal of yoga is to relax the mind and body, while increasing awareness and focus. Many people use cannabis in hopes of achieving those same results. It would seem then, that cannabis and yoga go hand-in-hand—that they would benefit each other. This is true for some, but for others the two activities do not belong together.
So before you combine these two recreations, it’s important to understand the potential advantages as well as the downsides to doing yoga while high.
Some people say smoking marijuana before a yoga session can help you focus on your breath and help you be more receptive to the poses.
The THC found in marijuana can increase focus and meditation as well as help enhance body awareness.
Marijuana relieves stress for a lot of people, which has proven to be beneficial when paired with yoga.
It’s difficult to clear your mind and forget about the outside world, but with a little help from marijuana, many people have found it much easier to feel relaxed and focus on their breath and each pose, thus enhancing their experience.
Dee Dussalut runs a monthly session of cannabis-enhanced yoga out of her home studio in downtown Toronto as well as at the Hot Box Café in Toronto’s Kensington Market.
Dussault said, “When you’re high, you can focus better on your breath.”
She also says cannabis can help people be more receptive to the philosophies behind poses.
“For some people, it makes them uninhibited and open to the idea of heart chakra, for example.”
Liz McDonald has been using cannabis to enhance her yoga sessions for years.
As a child, McDonald had severe scoliosis, but thanks to practice, she is able to bend her body in ways she and doctors never thought possible.
She now runs a cannabis-enhanced studio in Glendale, California.
“I find it to be a valuable tool in teaching. Disbelief is my biggest obstacle. People don’t believe they can feel their heart beat or that they can send breath into their lower appendages. A little pot relaxes them into comprehending,” McDonald said.
Not everyone shares the same support for cannabis-enhanced yoga as Dussault and McDonald, however.
In fact, many in the official industry disapprove of the combination.
Nancy Romano, a private instructor in Los Angeles, California does not believe marijuana is beneficial to yoga.
She believes one main purpose of yoga is to teach the individual how to tolerate reality.
Holding a tough pose trains the body and the mind to handle real-life trials.
“So any substance that fiddles with our ability to be with what’s really happening would not be helpful in yoga practice.” Romano says.
The lack of research on the effects cannabis has on yoga also adds to some people’s hesitation to give it a try.
Many poses are physically difficult and require maximum focus and precision, and some fear that while under the influence of marijuana, people might not be as aware of their body and may be more inclined to injure themselves.
Others view both cannabis and yoga as spiritual experiences, so combining the two makes sense. Perhaps the only way to find out if marijuana will enhance your experience is to give it a try.
You might find that cannabis improves your ability to focus and internalize each pose. Or you might find that you prefer to keep the two activities separate.