Say goodbye to the days of smoking a bowl in your car before a much-needed yoga session, only to wander into class to find the intensity way too much for your level and kind of high – I know I’m not the only one who has smoked a heavy indica before a power vinyasa class.
Cannabis can make you feel more present in your body and increase feelings of compassion and gratitude, making it the perfect companion for a trip to the yoga studio. But just as there is a huge variety of strains, each with its own effects, there are also tons of yoga styles to pair them with. When you’ve taken the time to intentionally pair your cannabis strain and yoga practice, you create the potential to bring out the best in both.
There are three kinds of cannabis that provide the psychoactive high most of us are familiar with: indica, sativa, and hybrids. Within these three categories, there are many different strains, each with its own unique personality.
Indica pairs perfectly with slow, therapeutic, and passive yoga styles where unwinding and relaxation are key, such as:
- iyengar (beginner level)
I almost exclusively use indica strains when I attend a regular yoga session and when I’m teaching my cannabis-infused yoga classes. Indica strains have a lower THC to CBD ratio (CBD has no mind-altering qualities and diminishes some of the negative effects that THC can sometimes have), making it a great choice for being high in public, which can sometimes cause anxiety.
Indicas strains such as Blue Mystic, Bubba Kush, and Hindu Kush have an uplifting and euphoric effect, often causing hunger (a post-yoga smoothie has never tasted so good!), and promoting relaxation while providing an introspective body high. These attributes can help make it easier to rein in a wandering mind and focus on internal sensations without judgment – the point of most slower styles of yoga.
Indica and indica-dominant strains are muscle relaxants; they make you feel especially blissful when combined with styles of yoga that open up the body with props, breath work, and extended time in feel-good poses.
Sativa strains are well-matched with breath-to-movement and faster paced classes, such as
- vinyasa flow
- power yoga
Sativa strains generally increase our alertness and stimulate the mind. These effects enhance breath-to-movement styles of yoga because the increased mental awareness can be channeled toward noticing the connections between your mind, body, and breath. Finding steadiness and ease in the midst of continuous movement and building intensity is made easier by being cognizant of these connections.
Strains Jack Herer, Sour Diesel, and Super Lemon Haze are great matches for the types of yoga listed above, as they spark creativity and deep thinking while keeping spirits high. Sativas have a greater THC to CBD ratio than indicas, offering a more cerebral and emotional high. Naturally, this can lead to a lot of internal philosophizing, making every action and thought seem profound. The perfect sativa can provide you with a cerebral high that allows you to connect with class themes and intentions in a way you may not have if you weren’t in an elevated state of mind.
Whatever the style of yoga you choose to enhance with cannabis, begin your elevated practice at home before taking beginner level classes at a studio. It’s a good idea to discover how cannabis affects your practice in the comfort of your home. I’m always careful to consume less cannabis than I think I’ll need; remember that meditating and moving will make you feel a lot higher than usual.
Minellia Eustacio @yogawithminelli
Minelli’s practice and teaching is inspired by the simplicity of mindful movement and deep breathing. She discovered her authentic voice in guiding feel-good yoga classes with an emphasis on curiosity, non-judgment, and honoring your body by accepting it for what it is at this very moment – something she continues to learn as a constant student of yoga.
Her goal is to bring awareness to the mindfulness, healing, and bliss of cannabis-infused yoga, and guide others back within their bodies – back to a place of security, knowing, truth, strength, and power.