This is the fundamental question behind Yogabud.
The simplest way to answer this question is to vape (or smoke) your favorite strain, and then take a yoga class or begin practicing yourself.
If done, the magic of this combination quickly becomes apparent, and the more concrete “why” pales in comparison to the experience of why.
But that’s not a satisfactory answer to those who first want the concrete. Facts are after all very important, and it’s easy to get lost in the world of the esoteric with both Yoga and Cannabis.
Let’s take a look at the foundation of both yoga and inhaled cannabis: the breath.
Cannabis, when inhaled, acts as a bronchodilator. This means that the air pathways in the respiratory system are dilated, and you are able to breathe more deeply.
Any yogi will tell you that there is power in the breath, and most forms of yoga are themselves breath-centered practices. In Vinyasa and most “Flow” styles of yoga, the breath acts as the trigger for movement; “one breath, one movement”. In Ashtanga, the breath acts as a timer; “hold for 5 breaths”. And in just about any yoga class you walk in to, regardless of format, you will hear “inhale, raise the arms above your head” at least once.
Deeper breathing allows for a higher degree of relaxation, and more efficiency in your body bringing in oxygen leads to greater endurance. By taking deeper breaths with less effort due to bronchodilation, the yoga practice is enhanced.
But wait, there’s more!
Cannabis also serves as an effective analgesic (painkiller). Now, we must first understand that pain is important. Pain is a signal to your body that something is wrong, and if possible, something needs to change.
But cannabis is not a painkiller in the sense that it numbs you out. You still feel pain (very important), but your ability to cope with that pain is enhanced.
With that said, you should know that in most yoga classes, you will not feel pain. You will feel pain’s little brother, discomfort. This is where the analgesic effects of yoga come in to play.
Discomfort is your friend. It is the signal that you are challenging your body to stretch, to grow, to become stronger. Cannabis helps you get closer to your edge (your physical limits) without stepping over that edge and injuring yourself.
Once you’ve pushed yourself “with a little help from [your] friends” (does anyone get this Beatles reference?), it is time for Savasana. This is the final resting (and arguably most important) pose in the physical practice of yoga.
I don’t know if this one needs explaining.. if you think that cannabis, which is known the world over as a plant that helps you relax, enhances the experience of your Savasana post-practice, you would be very correct.
Bronchodilation, analgesic effect, and heightened ability to relax. These three benefits of cannabis are what I would consider “concrete”. There is significant scientific evidence to suggest they are real, and the ways they enhance the practice of yoga do not require much of a stretch of the imagination.
In my next post, I will discuss the more anecdotal (though no less powerful) aspects and benefits of the amazing combination that is cannabis and yoga.