Expanding Consciousness with Cannabis, Meditation, and Yoga
A combination of cannabis, yoga, and meditation can reduce stress and increase positive thought and movement. Teachers who offer sessions involving those three elements have numerous tips for ingestion, incorporating music, and duration of the session.
Recommended strains include Headband, Big Sur Holy Bud, Ringo’s Gift, Hindu Kush, Jager, Baba Kush, Blueberry Kush, OG Kush, Blue Dream, Girl Scout Cookie, and Tangie. Sativas can leave you feeling jumpy, nervous, and excited. They are primarily recommended for practitioners who are leading a session and want an extra burst of energy.
If you are experiencing physical pain or discomfort due to everyday activities or the prolonged sitting and movement required for meditation and yoga, consider topicals and tinctures. Edibles spread out a slow effect for extra-long sessions of three to six hours.
Read also: Cannabis Strain Review: Headband
Planning out the Session
Creating a relaxing, comfortable space with aromatherapy oils like lavender and sage or incense is key. It is easy to practice in a space where you cannot be disturbed. Put your mobile phone into silent mode. You can use your phone to play music, nature sounds, or vibrations to guide you through the session. You can also use musical instruments like bells, Tibetan singing bowls, or triangles.
It’s good to start the session by smoking cannabis. If you are practicing with other people, consider holding a “smoke circle” or “smoke session” to get in touch with your feelings and create a community. Joints and vaping are ideal choices. They allow the medicine to take effect quickly and in time for the first meditation prompts.
After five to 15 minutes of meditation, you can consider about 30 minutes of guided yoga movements. Avoid any moves that are too strenuous or painful. Close with a final, shorter meditation session that helps you return to reality. Some practitioners recommend an additional smoke session to close practice, both for reflection and to decrease pain experienced in yoga or sitting. Many teachers say their typical cannabis, yoga, and meditation session takes about an hour and a half.
Teachers Share Their Wisdom
Figuring out how much cannabis to use and what strain works for you is a process, says Eliza Maroney, a cannabis yogi who teaches “Bend + Blaze” classes in San Francisco and Venice Beach.
“Micro-dosing every time unless you’re in serious physical pain is a good idea. My goal is to find the least amount necessary. You’re here to get lifted, not to get high,” Maroney says.
Rachael Carlevale, a teacher of cannabis plant SpiritYoga in Boulder, CO., recommends sitting with the plant, introducing yourself to it, and engaging in a mindful contemplation before starting meditation and yoga.
“In a ceremony which takes about three hours, I help students get to know the soil. (This is) the most important part of the plant medicine, as the soil feeds the plants. I will bring in soil, compost, and worms. We’ll do a meditation holding the soil on marma points on our hands. Then we may do a mindfulness meditation holding a cannabis leaf, using all five senses, including smelling, hearing, and tasting it. We do this education to get to know the plant and our intentions with her,” says Carlevale.
Sari Starr, a leader with Cannabliss Retreats who practices at Yoga Nest in Venice Beach, notes practice is all about quieting your mind.
“When you get present, you get closer to the divine source in you. That’s when you start connecting with who you really are. This practice helps you activate that centering in all areas of life. It’s especially helpful when things get a little chaotic,” says Starr, adding before practice she recommends asking herself some questions.
“Why am I taking this? What is my intention and how do I want to feel? I call on protection and guidance. Because we are more energetically open when we use cannabis and other mind-altering substances, we need to be mindful. It’s very important that the environment we are in is supportive of our intentional journey with the plant.”
Read also: Athletic Performance and Cannabis Use
Cannabis Yoga Training
Teachers come to be instructors through different paths. Most teachers of cannabis, yoga, and meditation practice have been using cannabis and learning yoga and meditation on their own for several years. State governments do not require yoga instructors to have a license. Yoga organizations like the Yoga Alliance do not certify instructors. They register individuals who have completed a certain number of hours in teaching and training others. Introductory classes in cannabis yoga and meditation typically cost between $15-$30 a person for a 90-minute session, with private instruction running close to $100 per person.
Amber Demers, a San Diego-based instructor, teaches Ganja Yoga, a form of cannabis-enhanced yoga that originated with Los Angeles-based instructor Dee Dussault.
“I began practicing yoga as a young athlete. About three years ago, I started using cannabis for lower back pain as a medical patient.
A couple months later, I learned and introduced meditation into my daily life. I realized that when I would use cannabis as part of my meditation practice, I was able to reach a deeper level of focus and relaxation. I became a 200-hr certified yoga instructor in November 2017, and then attended Dee’s first Ganja Yoga Teacher Training program in January 2018,” says Demers.
Jessica Clark, an instructor at The Soul Shack Yoga Studio in North Hollywood, says she has been meditating since she was a child.
“I started yoga when I was 19 because I suffered from bad back pain. I went for physical reasons, but instantly after the class I noticed the mental effects. Nineteen, coincidentally enough, was also the age when I first started using cannabis. After a month or two, I thought of combining cannabis and yoga. Then I went to India and studied yoga at an ashram. In 2010, I became certified as a yoga instructor. I’ve been practicing cannabis-enhanced meditation and yoga in my own practice as well as with private clients since 2014. I began offering cannabis-enhanced classes to the public in 2017,” Clark says.
What Practice Can Do for You
A healthy session should leave you relaxed, energized, and mindful. Do not be surprised if you rest or sleep as part of the session. The point of combining the three elements is not to achieve a set goal, but see where the cannabis, movement, and meditation take you.
“You can use cannabis to tune out or really tune in. What I learned about myself is I definitely had not been using cannabis the right way in the past. Maybe I had even been abusing the plant. Now, by combining cannabis, yoga, and meditation, I’ve brought about a complete paradigm shift in my own health and understanding of plant communication. Being an instructor helps me share the healing with others,” says Carlevale.