As the popularity of both cannabis and yoga continue to gain steam, it is important to consider the impact. The combination of cannabis and yoga is a logical progression of our pursuit of optimal mental health and physical wellness. After we discuss some of the primary considerations, we’ll explore the top strains of cannabis for yoga.
Historical and Modern Traditions
Yoga has been around a very long time. It is an Indian spiritual and meditative practice that has evolved into a popular fitness and relaxation activity. The co-ordination of thoughts, breathing, and body movements is thought to enhance the mind-body connection. Moreover, potential benefits include better endurance, flexibility, and strength (Deuel & Seeberger, 2020).
Cannabis has been used to enhance the mind-body connection for centuries. Many of the early traditions around cannabis involved spirituality, religious ceremonies, and mindfulness. Just like with yoga, being high impacts our thoughts, breathing, and body movements. The mind-body connection is said to be enhanced by many consumers of cannabis.
1. Cannabis and Yoga
While there is nothing wrong with doing yoga completely sober, today we are going to talk about the addition of yoga. Whether you use cannabis before, during, or after your yoga session can provide different benefits and potential downsides. One should consider the type of yoga and personal goals when considering whether to combine yoga with cannabis.
There are numerous types of yoga with varying degrees of intensity, heat, and balance poses. People who are seeking maximal intensity or personal bests for performance will want to consider the post-yoga period for their cannabis consumption. On the other hand, mindful and relaxing yoga types are far better suited for the benefits of cannabis.
Benefits and Limitations
One study found that the majority of participants (over 81%) held positive views around using cannabis during exercise. Participants also described the benefits they received from this combination. They listed the following benefits (York Williams et al., 2019):
- Enhanced enjoyment
- Enhanced recovery from exercise
- Increased motivation to exercise
The evidence on athletic performance suggests that cannabis is not a performance-enhancing substance. This is in regards to optimal performance, without considering the impact of cannabis on factors like recovery or endurance. Researchers did note that it is possible that cannabis produces pain reduction or psychotropic enhancement. Pain management appears to be a larger driver of using cannabis alongside exercise (Kramer et al., 2020).
2. Cannabis before Yoga
Getting high before you begin yoga can be great for getting the body ready for the task at hand. Cannabis can promote relaxation, but it also produces an elevated heart rate. This little boost can be great for getting started with your yoga session.
On the other hand, cannabis does not exactly increase everyone’s motivation to exercise. If you are the type of person less likely to make it to yoga after you get high, consider one of the other timing options discussed here.
3. Cannabis During Yoga
Cannabis can be used during yoga if you are in the right setting for it. This option is fantastic for those who want to make sure they get started on yoga. After you are warmed up, and completed some of the more strenuous poses, you can add some cannabis. This can create the perfect calming second-half of a yoga session.
The downside of smoking cannabis during yoga involves the practical difficulties, along with the fact that it breaks things up. Certain people would prefer to stay in the zone and complete yoga first. If this sounds like you, there is still one great option left.
4. Cannabis after Yoga
You do not have to consume cannabis prior to your yoga session to provide benefits. Knowing that you have a cannabis reward awaiting you after yoga can provide some extra motivation. This timing also ensures that you can perform optimally, and is better for those performing at high levels. Instead of enhancing the yoga experience itself, consuming cannabis afterwards serves a different set of purposes:
- Enhancing the recovery experience
- Promoting relaxation
- Appetite stimulation
5. Things to avoid
Cannabis and some versions of hot-yoga have some potential adverse consequences. High-heat and high-intensity yoga classes are probably better performed sober. These are the types of classes that you may want to use as a post-session cannabis reward motivator. Any time you consume cannabis around yoga, you should consider the need for more water than you would normally drink. Finally, try to be considerate of the needs of others when doing any group yoga class with some cannabis.
6. Top Strain of Cannabis for Yoga
Now that we understand the benefits and limitations of combining cannabis and yoga, we can turn to strains. We have discussed the various options around timing, and depending on which you select you may want very different strains.
When it comes to mindfulness and relaxation-based yoga practices, some strains are better than others. The muscle-melting effects of indica-dominant strains can be perfect for such situations. For example, Ice Cream Cake can help you get in the right mindset for some deep relaxation and gentle stretching. After your yoga session, you may want to ramp-up the sedation. Consider strains like Do-Si-Dos to help you get settled in your couch or ready for bedtime.
For more active versions of yoga, consumers may want to select a sativa-dominant strain. The cerebral stimulation and energizing high is perfect for precise movements and a deepening mind-body connection. For example, Lemon Z is a stimulating strain rich in limonene and pinene.
If you are seeking a closer connection with your body while doing yoga, Wedding Cake might just be your best best. This fruity and indica-dominant strain will help you sink into your body without falling off to sleep.
When it comes to enjoying that post-yoga bliss, a higher potency strains becomes better suited for your needs. For example, Garlic Jelly is a high-THC strain with strong notes of petrol and spice. This potent strain may help promote the best recovery possible. Depending on the time of day, you may want different strains. For example, a sativa-dominant strain would be better after a morning class while an indica-dominant strain is better suited for after an evening class.
Well, there you have it. Now is the time to get some cannabis and start doing yoga. Adding a few yoga sessions to your week can have tremendous benefits to your health and wellness. As always, ensure you start low and go slow – especially when combining cannabis with physical activity. Remember that some types of yoga are better suited for cannabis than others.
Finally, we discovered how indica strains promote relaxation while sativa strains are more stimulating. The different effects can be combined with different timings to produce the best experience possible. Whether you enjoy cannabis before or after yoga, there are so many benefits to discover.