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You might think getting high and stretching your body into various positions is an odd combination, but for many Canadians cannabis use before yoga provides an ideal opportunity for them to combine two activities they love.

Cannabis-friendly yoga has been a mainstay in Canadian cities for more than a decade, from Toronto to Vancouver. In Toronto, one of the crucial trailblazers in the field is Dee Dussault, who ran her “ganja yoga” business before moving to California six years ago to do the same there.

She began cannabis-inspired yoga in 2009 from a small yoga studio in her living room. “I got into cannabis later than a lot of other people, but when I did I found it improved many aspects of yoga, from relaxation to fascination with the breath,” Dussault says in an interview. “Since I'd developed a yoga practice sober for a decade before, I got to really feel the benefit cannabis provided.”1

Dussault even wrote a book on this practice: In her book Ganja Yoga: A Practical Guide to Conscious Relaxation, Soothing Pain Relief, and Enlightened Self-Discovery, she writes on the historic practice of yoga, ranging from the worship of the Indian deity Shiva, to how it evolved to include psychoactive plants in rituals.

Why do yoga and cannabis work well together? Dussault explains: “Both cannabis and yoga are very relaxing, if the exercises and dose are a good match for the person. Because of this, the students hit their mats from a higher baseline, ready to let go of the day's distractions and contracted thoughts more easily.”

Cannabis yoga joins a long line of specialized yoga niches, such as baby yoga, beer yoga and pet yoga. But few of those yoga offshoots have a history as rich as cannabis-friendly yoga, thanks to Indian practitioners of yoga introducing cannabis to yoga sessions centuries ago.

In Vancouver, yoga and meditation teacher Celina Archambault teaches twice-weekly sold-out cannabis yoga classes where students can ingest a 1:1 CBD-THC tincture before the session begins. “That kind of tincture gets you calm and grounded, and is great for pain and inflammation,” says Archambault in an interview.2 

The value she sees in cannabis-flavoured yoga comes from “allowing cannabis to slow your mind and come into a peaceful state with your being.” She advises anyone interested in cannabis yoga to be wary of imitators. “You want to get instructors who really know the plant, not just really know yoga,” she says.

On the future of cannabis-friendly yoga classes, Dussault is excited to see booming support for the practice. “I think pretty soon yoga studios are going to have to start offering CBD tincture, cannabis topicals, and, soon enough, vape and dab lounges. I'm excited to see yoga come fully out of the green closet.”

  1. Via interview conducted Sept. 23, 2018
  2. Via interviewed conducted Sept. 18, 2018

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