Before You Begin
Pairing cannabis with your yoga practice requires a little knowledge. If you’re an experienced cannabis consumer, you already know your THC tolerance and preferred method of getting high. If you’re on the “greener” side however, be sure to go low and slow. If you choose edibles to elevate your practice, consume a small dose (I recommend starting with 5 mg) 1-2 hours before your first downward dog. If you’re sparking a joint, stop after a couple of hits and give yourself five minutes before hitting the mat to allow the full effects of the flower to bloom throughout your mind and body.
About 420 yoga
The unofficial holiday of the weed enthusiast—and whether or not you partake, we’re guessing you don’t associate “marijuana day” festivities with a healthy lifestyle. But some people have begun mixing their favorite exercises with more, um, recreational activities. Case in point: 420 yoga, or the increasingly popular act of supplementing your poses with pot.
“A growing number of yoga studios, in legal and medicinally legal states, are openly embracing the cannabis-exercise connection by offering 420-friendly classes that encourage students to participate ‘under the influence,'” writes Cheri Sicard in Mary Jane: The Complete Marijuana Handbook for Women (Seal Press). It’s not a Bring Your Own Bowl situation, though—students are expected to light up before class.
Yogis have been using cannabis to enhance spiritual practice for millennia. Unfortunately, we’ve lost this tradition in the modern practice of yoga, and along with it the ability to truly relax, self-connect, and find peace. In Ganja Yoga, Dee Dussault, certified yoga instructor and the first person to bring ganja yoga classes to North America, finally takes this ancient tradition mainstream.Suitable for beginners and sages alike, Ganja Yoga will show you how to:
- Reap the benefits of cannabis’ scientifically proven effects on mental and physical conditions
- Assume an altered state in a safe, energizing way
- Reconnect with the body and enjoy a form of exercise that is inwardly-focused and accessible to anyone
- Select the best setting, time, method of consumption, strains, poses, and breathing techniques to ensure an excellent experience
As cannabis is embraced more and more as a source of health and wellbeing, there is a growing cultural conversation about the role of the plant as part of a spiritual journey. Ganja Yoga is a welcoming guide through that process, offering a path to intentional relaxation that encourages meditation, movement, and awareness for a more stress-free, harmonious world.
Which Weed Do I Need?
Just as yoga contains an infinite number of asanas, there are countless kinds of marijuana that will enhance your flow all the way to shavasana (which, I’ll freely admit, is my favorite pose!). For an energetic practice, choose a sativa-dominant strain like Tangie or Power Plant. To infuse your yoga with balanced bliss, try a hybrid like White Fire OG or Sunset Sherbet. And if you’re on the mat at the end of a hectic day and are practicing to unwind, an indica-dominant strain like Mango or God’s Gift might suit you best. I’m partial to a weed tincture that I make myself with vegetable glycerin. It provides me with a mellow mindfulness and I feel more centered and balanced as I bend and breathe.
Cannabis Yoga Poses
Keep it simple for your first weed-and-yoga practice. Try a Sun Salutation—a series of 11 poses that coordinate perfectly to create a flow of movement. As you inhale to extend, and exhale to bend, you’ll find joy as the cannabis enhances each movement, each breath.
1. Standing Mountain Pose — Tadasana
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Press your palms together in prayer position. Rest your thumbs on your sternum, and take several breaths.
2. Upward Salute — Urdhva Hastasana
Inhale as you sweep your arms out to the side and overhead. Gently arch your back and gaze toward the sky.
3. Standing Forward Fold — Uttanasana
Exhale as you fold forward from the hips. Bend your knees if necessary. Rest your hands beside your feet and bring your nose to your knees.
4. Half Standing Forward Fold — Ardha Uttanasana
Inhale as you lift your torso halfway, lengthening your spine forward so your back is flat. Your torso should be parallel to the floor. Keep your fingertips on the floor, or bring them to your shins.
5. Four-Limbed Staff Pose — Chaturanga Dandasana
Exhale as you step or jump back into Plank Pose (High Push-Up Pose), with your hands under your shoulders and feet hip-distance apart. Continue exhaling as you lower your body toward the floor. Keep your elbows tucked in toward your sides. If needed, come to your knees for Half Chaturanga. Otherwise, keep your legs straight and reach back through your heels.
6. Upward-Facing Dog Pose — Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
Inhale as you draw your chest forward and straighten your arms. Draw your shoulders back and lift your heart to the sky. Press through the tops of your feet, lifting your thighs off the floor and fully engaging your leg muscles. Keep your elbows tucked in toward your sides.
7. Downward-Facing Dog Pose — Adho Mukha Svanasana
Exhale as you lift your hips and roll over your toes, placing the soles of your feet on the floor. Your heels do not need to touch the ground. Ground down through your hands and the soles of your feet as you lengthen your spine. Lift your belly and sit bones toward the sky. Stay here for five breaths. On your last exhalation, bend your knees and look between your hands.
8. Half Standing Forward Fold — Ardha Uttanasana
Inhale as you step or jump both feet between your hands. Lift your torso halfway, lengthening your spine forward so your back is flat. Your torso should be parallel to the floor. Keep your fingertips on the floor, or bring them to your shins.
9. Standing Forward Fold — Uttanasana
Exhale as you fold your torso over your thighs. Bend your knees if necessary. Rest your hands beside your feet and bring your nose to your knees.
10. Upward Salute — Urdhva Hastasana
Inhale as you sweep your arms out to the side and extend up once again. Gently arch your back and gaze toward the sky.
11. Mountain Pose — Tadasana
Exhale as you come back into Mountain Pose. Bring your hands into prayer position. Rest your thumbs on your sternum. Repeat the sequence two or more times.