If you’re a fitness enthusiast and are not yet convinced of the amazing mind-body connection that cannabis can activate, you’ve got to try incorporating the plant into your stretching routine.
Flexibility is the first step in obtaining strength; without optimal range of motion, muscles and joints will never develop or perform to their full potential. From yoga to injury rehabilitation, people have seen outstanding improvements in flexibility as a result of their cannabis use. Almost any stoner will tell you that marijuana helps you get more in touch with yourself, your body, and your environment. There is actually some biochemical truth to this. Light to moderate use of THC results in dopamine release, activating the “reward center” of the brain and thereby amplifying the feelings of pleasure and release one feels while stretching out the limbs and joints.
It’s important to mention, though, that overusing cannabis can potentially inhibit dopamine receptors, making your brain less sensitive to stimulants and even endogenous feel-good chemicals. As with any drug or supplement in the wellness lifestyle, moderation is your best bet.
Does It Really Help?
When explaining how cannabis aids the mind-body connection, it can get complex. Cannabis is not the end-all, it’s simply an enhancement to a normal stretching practice. The magic of the cannabis plant in helping to “feel the body” lies, of course, in the endocannabinoid system, which works with the rest of the lymphatic and endocrine systems in regulating body processes. We still don’t know as much about endocannabinoids and their effects on the body as we would like to, but along with supplementing your lifestyle with cannabis, there are specific parts of your body you can stretch in order to promote good physical and emotional health.
Not many people know that much of your primal emotional responses originate from the abdominal region, particularly the muscles that connect your spine to your legs. The psoas muscles contract in times of fear or stress, and can also be aggravated in the long-term by sitting for hours each day, which many of us do at work. Stretching and releasing the psoas muscles, in particular, can help you free up blocks in that area of the body, de-stressing the body and your endocannabinoid system to naturally balance itself. In addition to emotional significance, if you suffer from knee, hip, or back pain, tension the psoas could be the main cause of your pain. If you’re not sure what part of your body to stretch, start here and you won’t be disappointed with the results.
How To Start
Find yourself a nice, squishy yoga mat, have a nice hit of your favorite Blue or Purple indica strain and get to work on your problem areas with a foam roller or some gentle yoga poses. Many strains of cannabis are shown to quiet the mind as well, so you can really get a solid extension in. Many people get fed up with the slow pace of stretching, and quit before they really start seeing benefits. A good strain for this would be a fruity sativa-dominant like Maui Wowie or Lemon Sour Diesel.
Start slow, and stay there; stretching guidelines typically suggest holding for about 15-20 seconds or longer. If you’re doing yoga, obviously plan to stick to basic poses and avoid anything that might cause a fall or injury, as cannabis has been shown to affect the balance and equilibrium centers of the brain. If you take this advice and use cannabis to enhance your routine, I guarantee you will gain flexibility, strength, and overall knowledge of your own body.
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