Yoga is said to be for the mind (brain) and is often referred to as a ‘moving meditation, while other modes of alternative healthy living like Ayurveda help to support the body from the inside out (Sharma , 2007; Villemure, Ceko, Cotton & Bushnell, 2015). Siddhis (enlightenment or understanding) by the yogi may be ‘obtained’ through various means including utilizing ‘herbs’ ie: ‘LSD and marijuana; Mushrooms are thought to be in this same grouping as they can be considered herbs (Satchidananda, 2016). Ayurveda prescribes multiple methodologies for internal thus external health, including specific foods for specific constitutions or times of year and meditation for reconnection to the energies of the universe (Sharma , 2007). In addition, various spices and herbs are mixed (or used singly), which when administered are called Rasayanas and ‘promote health and well-being (as well as) vitality, stamina and stimulate overall health (Sharma, 2007). Modern Ayurveda incorporates cannabis and is even being cultivated in a Safeway in Sri Lanka (Cannabis to be cultivated legally for indigenous medicine, 2016).
Yoga, stress and anxiety are three words often used in conjunction with one another. And thanks to Ms. Liz McDonald founder and owner of Brazilian Yoga and Ms. Dee Dussault founder and author of Ganja Yoga, cannabis and yoga is quickly becoming a method of ‘inducing siddhis’ or allowing the cittam (mind) to readily open up and accept what is – cannabis is a samskara of sorts or (a) subliminal activator (Satchidananda, 2016; Silverberg, 2010; Winer, 2012). Yoga and the psyche have been found to not only reduce perceived stress and anxiety in multiple self-report studies, but Vadiraja and colleagues found decrease in cortisol concentrations in a group of breast cancer patients who participated in a 6-week yoga program compared to a breast cancer control group (Li & Goldsmith, 2012).
But wait…there’s more! Yoga has been found to have positive correlations with the volume of gray matter in the left hemisphere of the brain, aiding in positive states and a well attuned parasympathetic system (Villemure, Ceko, Cotton & Bushnell, 2015). In addition individuals living with multiple sclerosis (MS) utilizing complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) methods are prescribed yoga for physical therapy (Yadav & Bourdette, 2006). In the same journal article, MS patients utilizing cannabis were found (in multiple studies) to have decreased tremors, increased regular sleep patterns and positive returns with bladder control (Yadav & Bourdette, 2006).
Ok, so that was a lot of technical jargon to kick off the blog! But now we have a firm understanding of the physiological as well as psychological benefits of yoga, Ayurveda principles, the uses of incorporating cannabis and the positive returns reported by multiple individuals living with MS, anxiety, stress and even cancer. We as a country have become more and more aware of the uses of cannabis during meditative and physical fitness routines. CNN, Men’s Journal and Cliff Robinson all speak on the subject, advising not only do athletes and cannabis mix, but other multiple powerhouse fitness and health magazines, institutions and individuals endorse the use of cannabis and athletics (Pandian, 2017; Warner, n.d.). It is not a new thing; simply science and psychology are finally speaking about it a little more.
My intention of this blog was to educate and enlighten. You may still be skeptical and that’s ok, if not for skeptics we would not make advances. I will say the direction of this blog was, in part due to the reading I did on Ms. Dussault’s ideology (at least in the beginning of her practices) of meeting and talking with the parties interested in Ganja Yoga. While I am not sure if this is still her practice (and I am not about pre-screening all of my clients) I do understand and in that light felt the need to share my inner thoughts on the subject via research and findings. I see and fully agree that cannabis, yoga and meditation on their own merit all hold positive benefits. I also fully endorse the use of a combination to aid in or cause (Hetu) a more susceptible and open mind to assist in (eventually) attaining siddhis, parinamah (transformation) and healing through practice.
Cannabis to be cultivated legally for indigenous medicine? (2016). Daily News Retrieved from http://library.capella.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.library.capella.edu/docview/1752934279?accountid=27965
Howard, J. (2017). Most Americans approve of athletes using pot for pain, poll says. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/19/health/marijuana-opioids-americans-poll-study/index.html
Li, A.W. & Goldsmith C.W. (2012). The effects of yoga on anxiety and stress. Alternative Medicine Review: A Journal of Clinical Therapeutic, 17(1), 21.
Pandian, A. (2017). Cliff Robinson aims to ‘knock down the myth that athletes and cannabis don’t mix’. Special to The Oregonian/OregonLive. Retrieved from http://www.oregonlive.com/sports/index.ssf/2017/07/cliff_robinson_on_marijuana_an.html
Sharma, H (2007). "Utilization of Ayurveda in health care: an approach for prevention, health promotion, and treatment of disease. Part 1--Ayurveda, the science of life". The journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.) (1075-5535), 13(9), p. 1011.
Silverberg, D. (2010, Sep 09). Dude ... I'm digging your downward dog (pass the brownies). The Globe and Mail Retrieved from http://library.capella.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.library.capella.edu/docview/749972482?accountid=27965
Satchidananda, S (2016). The yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Translation and Commentary by Swami Satchidananda. Integral yoga Publications. ISBN-13: 978-1-938477-07-2
Villemure, C. Ceko, M. Cotton V.A. & Bushnell M.C. (2015). Neuroprotective effect of yoga practice: Age-, experience-, and frequency-dependent plasticity. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9, 281. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2015.00281
Warner, J. (n.d.). The Green Team: 18 of the Biggest Cannabis Advocates in Sports. Retrieved from http://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/collections/18-of-the-biggest-marijuana-advocates-in-pro-sports-w429975
Winer, L (2012). A Yoga High With a Little Help. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/06/fashion/marijuana-and-yoga-pairing-up-in-classes.html
Lynn Beaver is pursuing her B.A. in Psychology as well as discovering her yogic and meditative path through formal and personal training's.