Let us not forget dear yogis that long before we were practicing in the yoga studios that can now be found on every corner, the ancients were paying homage to Lord Shiva, the First Guru or Adi Guru and the first Yogi. Another thing Lord Shiva was known for? His dedication to cannabis and all the benefits the herb provided.
According to the Times of India, out of the realization that Lord Shiva found “he became ecstatic and danced all over the mountain or sat absolutely still. He was constantly into bouts of stillness and bouts of mad dancing. All the gods who saw him saw something was happening to him that they themselves did not know. They felt, ‘we are missing out on something.’ When they finally got him to teach the method, Shiva expounded various types of yoga depending on the level of preparedness of the person who was sitting in front of him.”
Is there a place for cannabis use in yoga? While some say yes and some say no, it’s safe to say the original yogi himself was dedicated to the herb. With the recreational and medical use of cannabis sweeping quickly across the nation there are many yoga studios cropping up that are combining their practice with the use of cannabis. “420 Yoga” studios are gaining in popularity and with regulations of marijuana now being lifted many are beginning to embrace what many speculate Lord Shiva was doing all along.
While every yogi obviously isn’t smoking cannabis, there are those that contend it helps them attain a better connection with their minds and bodies. Not only can consuming cannabis before practice help with this mind/body connection, but it can also one relax to a point where they can let their body surrender to what yoga is there to offer. And as personal as the practice of yoga is, for those that use cannabis it can be something that ultimately helps them reach the state of being yoga is intended for.
According to one Colorado yoga instructor who occasionally uses cannabis in her personal practice, “there are times when I do smoke that I really feel I can stretch deeper into my poses and a higher state of consciousness. And while I wouldn’t want to always be ‘high’ during my practice, there are times when I feel it is really beneficial for what I’m trying to achieve.” Another California-based yoga instructor states that “in addition to the body and breath connection, marijuana can simply help you relax and feel less pain.”
While there is without a doubt merit in these statements, there are also those that argue that marijuana holds no place whatsoever in yoga. Their assertions hold regard that the point of yoga is to purify the mind and body rather than intoxicating it. But if the intoxicating effects of cannabis can help one to achieve the state of liberation yoga is there is extend to those that practice, why not realize that it is something that can help some ultimately realize its benefits?
Perhaps removing the stigma surrounding cannabis would allow those against it to realize that it is truly beneficial to many in helping achieve awareness of breath and focus, two things that are commonly associated with both yoga and the use of cannabis. When it comes down to it, yoga is a highly personal practice and integrating marijuana with yoga should also come down to one’s own respective decision. Blending the two together has the potential to ultimately help one find freedom the untamed mind and unite with their “highest” self. Is that not the point we’re trying to achieve with our practice in the first place?