Photo Credit: Rachael of Ganjasana
A little while ago, after wrapping up a cannabis-infused yoga class where students were sharing stories over tea and occasional passes of the bong, one of them made the truest statements I’ve heard in a while;
“Being mindful is hard as fuck.”
Lately there’s been a lot of coverage showing how mindful practices like meditation can be great tools for improving concentration, objectivity, mental clarity, our health and sense of well-being, and enables us to deal with stress and pain. But it is difficult to be present in the moment and to achieve non-judgmental awareness, which is what mindfulness is. A lot of us find mindful meditation too difficult and push this act of self-maintenance to the bottom of our list of priorities. But making time to mentally declutter through mindful meditation is an important part of a balanced and happy life, and consuming cannabis beforehand can aid in slipping more easily into this space.
The physiological effects cannabis has on the body are almost identical to what someone with a mindfulness practice experiences. It reduces stress, depression, and pain, heightens sensory perception, personal introspection, mind-body awareness, and allows for an increase in ability to relate to yourself and others with kindness, compassion, and acceptance. So when the benefits of consumption are coupled with mindful meditation, you can more easily peel back the layers to access bliss in the present moment and stop living on autopilot.
Cannabis legalization in the United States is creating space for people to experience the grounding influence it can have for their health and well-being. Here are a few mindful meditations you can easily combine with your favorite indica or sativa flower, and general tips for truly nourishing mindful meditation.
Mindful Meditations with Sativas
Since sativas typically produce stimulating cerebral effects, combining it with breath-counting and mantra meditation is a great way to experience mindfulness. Sativa strains can often turn up the volume on mind-chatter, so a meditation that occupies the mind by counting or repeating a mantra is a great way to tune out extra noise. Naturally, thoughts will still arise through the cracks, so whenever that happens just allow them to come in, notice the thought without judging it, and then gently guide your attention back to your mantra or breath.
You can be in any comfortable position to do a a breath-counting meditation. Simply breathe naturally, tracing the flow of your breath from your stomach into your upper chest, then exhale through your nostrils for a few breaths. Count how long it takes you to complete a full inhale and exhale. See if you can make your inhale and exhale last up to five beats (more or less depending on where you find ease and comfort). Inhale 1-2-3-4-5. Exhale 1-2-3-4-5. Breathe in this way with an even flow for at least five minutes, counting the breaths as you go.
Mantra meditation has the same principle but instead of counting, you repeat a short phrase every time you inhale or exhale.
(inhale) I am here. (exhale) I am here.
(inhale) I am here. (exhale) I am here.
Before starting your mantra meditation, begin with the words “I am” and choose whatever word feels right to focus on in the moment. I am grateful. I am love. I am enough. Whatever resonates with you. If you can’t think of anything, just stay with the mantra “I am here.’
Mindful Meditations with Indicas
Indicas like SFV OG Kush create a relaxing, tingly body high rather than the cerebral energized high of sativas, so a less mentally-occupied meditation focused on pranayama or body scanning is a perfect match.
To do a body scan meditation, sit with your palms resting on your knees or lie down with one hand on your stomach and the other over your heart. Let your breath flow naturally as you notice your body from head to toe. Bring awareness to how your body rises and falls with your breath. Notice individual parts of your body, any places of held tension, and let your body soften into the passivity and gravity of gentle observation.
Minelli’s practice and teaching is inspired by the simplicity of mindful movement and deep breathing.
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.