Ganja & Yoga: A Resurging Union?
Weed-yoga is exactly what it sounds like; it is the latest trendy way to both exercise the spiritual and physical nature of your being, helping bring peace and wellbeing to your life. However, while a relatively new concept here in the West, cannabis has been used to enhance the power of yoga for a very long time.
That is not to belittle this growing popularity, though; there is a reason that cannabis and yoga have been used together for centuries. In fact, you could even argue (albeit with a light heart) that any yoga without the use of cannabis is not the genuine experience. If you go all the way back to the roots of yoga, more often than not, a bit of weed was always used as part of the practice.
A HEALTHY TREND: LIGHTING UP IN CLASS
It is parts of the US where cannabis yoga is really taking off. In places like California, where medical marijuana has been legalised, a medical card will get you into a 15-minute communal smoking session, followed by an hour and a half of stretching out in bliss. In the places where weed has been fully legalised, things are going one step further; not only are weed-yoga classes popping up all over the place, but there is also now an emergence of dedicated cannabis yoga retreats and centres.
Initially, combining the two can be tricky - even for yoga pros. The assumption would be that it instantly enhances the experience, but the more physical aspects can take some getting used to. When you are used to precision balance while sober, performing the same stances can be quite tricky stoned. However, once you get into the swing of it, all aspects of the exercise are enhanced, coming away at the end of the session feeling much more revitalised, invigorated and at peace.
It is no wonder really that the match of cannabis and yoga is taking the market by storm. Yoga by itself has seen a massive rise in popularity over recent years, as people look to both enhance their health and seek out the more exotic and spiritual practices of other cultures. Adding in cannabis to enhance things further was never going to be scoffed at. But how has the art of combining cannabis and yoga been used as a traditional practice?
CANNABIS AND YOGA: A STAPLE OF THE INDIAN HOLY MAN
While practising yoga high is becoming quite a fad in places where cannabis is legal, as mentioned, it has been, and is, practised in a more traditional sense on the other side of the world. Sadhus, India’s wandering holy men, are renowned for their use of cannabis as a spiritual aid to yoga.
They are men that give up all of life’s ties, including possessions and family. They wander the country practising a life of yoga and celibacy in the search for enlightenment, living off the good will of the country’s devout. Those that dedicated their lives to Shiva, the God of destruction and rejuvenation, have a ready excuse to use cannabis as a tool – although the sadhus worshipping other gods happily use as well. Shiva is often depicted atop a mountain, high as a kite, seeking enlightenment through yoga. It only seems right for his disciples to follow suit.
It gives cannabis something of a holy status in India, and while technically illegal, few officials want to punish an agent of God, risking ending up on the God of destruction’s hit list. It has bred an atmosphere of tolerance and acceptance towards weed in the country – although tourists taking drugs are still cracked down upon.
The bottom line is that cannabis can be an excellent aid to spiritual exercise when used right. It has been done so for centuries, and will likely continue to be for many centuries to come. It is a practice that is pervading over into Western culture, as many seek to explore themselves through exercise, and open up their minds to the idea that cannabis may not be all that bad after all. Yet another use for our beloved herb.
Written by: Josh
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