Yoga and Cannabis – Were or weren’t they meant to be together?
Yoga, the ancient Indian system of meditation and exercise with a focus on regulated breathing and controlled postures, is practiced all around the world and yet a formal international recognition of this form of mental and physical exercise came about quite recently. The Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi did some strong lobbying at the United Nations and in 2015, for the first time UN declared June 21 as the International Yoga day.
The Yoga that we now know and practice is one of the five Yogas mentioned in the ancient texts, where it is called the Hatha-Yoga. Hatha is the Sanskrit word for “Strength of Will” and Yoga translates to “a connection.” Thus, Hatha Yoga, or Yoga (as we now know it) is using the strength of your will to make a connection between your heart, body, mind, and soul.
Marijuana has psychogenic properties and that it helps generate a calming effect. Meditation, which is one of the important dimensions of Yoga too aims at helping people achieve peace of mind. This forms an obvious link between marijuana and yoga. Yogis or spirituality-seekers of different religions and cultures have used marijuana as a facilitator of visions through ages. The dervishes, the Indian sadhus, and even the Shinto priests have had cannabis in their repertoire of holy possessions.
In the modern world, people do combine yoga and ganja (ganja-yoga or weed-yoga) and some swear by the results. Read this very interesting and informative article “Is 420-friendly Yoga More clever than Marketing.”
But then are these pot-friendly yoga classes merely a marketing gimmick, or is there a real synergy between cannabis and yoga?
In other words,
Is there a proven connection between the two?
A definitive historical connection between health and cannabis is outlined in the Soma-mandala of the Rig-veda (the oldest text of Hinduism,) which has verses dedicated to soma (haoma or cannabis.) These verses call upon soma to cure the illnesses that afflict people.
Yogic exercises too are aimed at the improvement of mental and physical wellbeing of a person. Thus, it appears, that yoga and ganja both have similar goals. And yet, a similarity in their goals doesn’t mean that they have a synergy and that one improves the performance of the other.
The fact that marijuana can help you feel more relaxed by reducing anxiety and can numb the perception of pain can help people focus better on the exercises. The preliminary yogic exercises (pranyama or breathing exercises such as Anumlom-Vilom, Bhrastika etc.) can benefit from the use of Marijuana. The reduced perception of pain can however be a double-edged sword because the more complex postures (such as sarvangasana or halasana) aren’t recommended for people who suffer from certain pains and illnesses. The weed-numbed warning mechanism of the body may let you perform an asana (posture) that you shouldn’t and that could be harmful.
So the decision of whether or not you should combine marijuana with yoga, is best taken by you and your yoga instructor together.
• The answer to the question – whether yogasanas were developed on the assumption that you’ll be high while performing them, is in all probability, a clear “no.”
• For the question, whether there are people who have used weed while doing yoga, the answer is a definite “yes.”
• Whether you should combine the two or not? The answer is it depends primarily on your health and also on your age. If you are healthy and suffer from no pain or ailment of any kind – go ahead and give it a shot. If not, tread carefully and maintain a safe distance between your two loves.