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Ganja Yoga: Is Marijuana-Enhanced Yoga the Extreme Yoga Antidote?

in YD News
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Image via Ganja Yoga Meetup

Marijuana is getting more legal, but is smoking pot and yoga kosher? Formalities and legalities aside, the once stoner-scented trend of getting high before yoga class is now turning into a legit phenomenon. No longer a punch line, yogis are lining up for “enhanced” yoga classes. Well, at least they are in San Francisco.

Dee Dussault leads weekly Ganja Yoga classes in the Bay Area and claims to be the “very first yoga teacher to publicly offer cannabis-enhanced yoga outside of ancient India.” According to Dee, Ganja Yoga is “the intentional pairing of cannabis and yoga” treating ”cannabis as a medicine and spiritual aid” allowing opportunities “for you to enjoy trippy relaxation, pain-relief, sensuality, and the cultivation of inner peace, through all-levels, relaxation-based yoga.”

There are 15 minutes for toking and 90 minutes for hatha-based relaxation, tripping, room spinning, sleeping…whichever level you’re at that day. This is BYOW – students must bring their own weed and must present a medical marijuana card, OR they can just come to class high already. Although yogis are always so giving aren’t they? We’re sure you could bum a hit off your neighbor.

None of this should come as a shock at this point. If you got ‘em, smoke ‘em, right? The stoned yoga experience is interesting though. Is it enhancing? Inhibiting? In any case, it’s almost the antithetic antidote to all of this push-to-the-edge “hard-living” extreme power yoga that’s gotten so popular lately. Maybe it’s just what the marijuana dispensary clerk/yoga teacher ordered. Now that’s a business venture: forget yoga studio bars, how long until we see yoga studio marijuana lounges?

Weed for thought.

[via SFist]

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12 comments… add one

  • Thom

    Using stupefying drugs violates Saucha for those who practice Yoga. It also interferes with Dharana as one falsely focuses on unimportant and trivial things instead of Atman. If you only practice the cross fit that many think is “yoga” then smoke up. It will probably not do any more damage and will keep you in avidya so you cannot be taken seriously by those who are serious about the practice. It will also keep you unmotivated so you don’t have the Tapas to spread this false practice.

  • David

    Pound salt, Thom.

  • Hey Thom – I use to date an uptight yoga teacher and she sounded a lot like you. All caught up in a bunch of shit she didn’t really understand, yet tried to put meaning to it all as she saw fit. Lol!

  • Gina

    I hardly think Tom needs to pound salt, considering what he said is in line with the philosophy and teachings.

  • s

    It’s sure not in line with any knowledge of marijuana use, effects, and history.

  • James

    I have no issue with smoking pot. Having said that, I’m pretty sure that being high would ruin my practice: I wouldn’t be able to focus on my movement and I wouldn’t be able to clear my head. It would be completely antagonistic to the reason I practice. Being high is great but it would not mix well with my yoga practice. Now, if we’re talking about Cards Against Humanity then being drunk/high will enhance that experience. Time and place, people.

    I don’t follow the strict interpretation of a yoga practice that Thom advocates but I take my practice seriously. I wish people would stop trying to shoehorn marijuana into everything. Just admit that you just want to smoke pot and/or that you have a dependency. There’s nothing particularly noble about marijuana.

  • Shantelle

    Cannabis has been used in many spiritual practices for many years dating so far back into history (3000 BC). Just recently it has become a substance that is used for primarily recreational purposes. With that being said meditation and yoga are both spiritual practices. When I practice yoga and meditation it as purely spiritual act, it is my way of connecting to who and what I am as a “being” or “energy source” I have used cannabis to elevate the experience in both. It helps to remove the mental barriers that you get sometimes when meditating and doing yoga. It has also helped me breakdown barriers when practicing yoga and allowed me to improve and widen my practice. It makes the connection and vibrations stronger. It allows me to concentrate and focus my energy in a more effective way. So to refer to marijuana as a “stupefying drug” is comment that can be viewed as stupid in itself. Or even assuming that people “just wanna smoke pot” or “have a dependency” only shows a lack of knowledge of one of the most medicinally and spiritually valuable plants know to man. In direct contradiction, I “only” smoke cannabis when I want to elevate my mind state and not recreationally. Those statements also show how today’s society has successfully demonized a plant that grows from earth that is capable of so much healing. The fact that is is referred to as a “weed” says it all. I say try it and you may like it. Yoga and meditation is all about having an open mind, transcending ones spiritual self, and raising your vibrations. Yes, those things can be done without the use of cannabis and one should be able to accomplish those things without having to use it but I don’t believe that occasionally adding it to your practice is stupid or unbeneficial.

    Kudos for the great topic and discussion

    Namaste!

  • James

    Shantelle, by your own statement, the current primary use for marijuana is recreational. Therefore, it seems like you would agree with my assumptions that most people “just want to smoke pot” recreationally and don’t use it only to achieve your lofty mind states.

    You have your practice (and life) and I have mine. I doubt we have much in common but that shouldn’t get in the way of a short and cordial discourse. If I need a mind-altering substance to do something then I feel as though I’m doing it wrong. For example, I rarely drink caffeine because I don’t want to develop a caffeine dependency. I don’t pour myself a glass of bourbon immediately upon feeling stress because I feel as though I shouldn’t need alcohol to relax. I also no longer visit theChive.com because I noticed that I was spending too much time on it – I was becoming dependent so I stopped. Your experiences may differ. My yoga is a place where I focus on me and I escape from everything outside of my mat. I don’t want to require the help of some drug to achieve that focus and escape.

    For the record, the notion that modern marijuana is any more natural than a box of cardboard is simply naive. Odds are that any marijuana the typical person buys today will have been grown in a factory under precise conditions and/or farmed by migrant workers living in squalor. Nothing wrong with pot and nothing noble about it either. I feel the same way about beer.

  • Thom

    Happy Patanjali Jayanti everyone. Today is the day that we celebrate the teachings of Patanjali. Let us turn to his teachings to resolve this dilemma. He says in II.33 vitarkabadhane pratipaksabhavanam, questionable or dubious principles which run counter to yama and niyama are to be countered with knowledge and discrimination. One’s body and mind are a temple. To pollute them with marijuana runs counter to Saucha, or cleanliness.

    Although many cite sutra 4.1, janma ausadhi mantra tapah samadhijah siddhya, accomplishments may be attained through birth, use of herbs, incantations, self discipline or samadhi as license to smoke marijuana, they are easily misled. It is only through Tapas and profound meditation where one gains true liberation. You are welcome to prove me wrong by smoking marijuana. I will just stick to my practice.

  • jesus_loves_you!

    happy 4.20!

  • Jo

    Thom you sound way too judgy for a yogi. And how would someone prove you wrong if you’ll be sticking to your own practice? Simply by them showing that they themselves could enjoy it/enhance their practice and experience? Because if that’s what the criteria is, thats certainly been done.

  • John

    If you’ve never had a puff before an hour+ of yoga, all I can say is don’t knock it till you’ve tried it! Commenters on this site really need to get over themselves.

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