I recently read something on creativity…
“There could be a thousand ways to be happier, healthier, and creatively richer, but because we find ourselves comfortable in our beliefs, we fail to even start looking outside of them. Fear is a very real block to creative thinking.”
I like this quote. It doesn’t only apply to creativity, but just living a more fulfilling life. I find myself sometimes quick to judge or too set in my ways.
So let’s try Yoga, I was always curious.
My experience and knowledge of Yoga currently is:
- I once photographed a chain of Yoga studios back home in Toronto.
- The Downward Dog position
- LuLuLemon Pants
- It involves meditation
- There are many types of Yoga (Hot, Bikram, Fire)
- The Om Symbol
- Dhalsim from Street Fighter
I have nothing against it, but I have never done it because:
1) Associated as a Female Activity: we know guys go to Yoga, but even when I told my friends I was going to do it, one of them asked: “Are you going to scope out chicks?”
2) Cost/Time: If I’m planning a budget to invest in physical activities, it would be in sports activities and the gym. I wouldn’t have time for more.
3) First Push: Trying something new requires effort to actually go and do it, unless you’re really interested. I never felt that little push to sign-up.
New Opportunities: Don’t Worry, Just Do It
I found out about this event from the Cannabis Living Meetup group and paused for a moment. I thought “Hmmm, Yoga? I’ve never done it before, it might be weird”.
As I scrolled down and read more info, the class mentions that it covers all ranges, beginners to advanced. “What if I’m the only dude there?” Again, I check the invite, there are at least 4 guys signed up. I’m sold! Any other fears or reasons not to do it are just excuses I’ve made up.
Just do it, who cares. It sounds like a great experience! Just Go!
February 3rd 2017: Culver City
I made it to a quaint little part of Los Angeles. I walk into Goda Yoga, a cannabis friendly studio. This is what fascinated me the most. It wasn’t just the Yoga, but more the changing culture of cannabis. It’s coming out of the woodworks, first legalization, now acceptance. It’s front runners like these that help create a bridge. If marijuana and Yoga become a thing (and socially accepted), think of how many Yoga studios will jump on board and try to capitalize. It won’t be for the love of cannabis or the understanding and connection between the two, it’ll be for the money grab. Another way to break into the niche market. I’m glad to see places like this step up first; at the risk of backlashes, at the risk of social stigma. They do it because they believe in it.
I’m In Over My Head
The organizer of the event, Emily Meyers, begins to teach us about the “Throat Chakra” session. I’m listening attentively and I begin to take a few draws from my vaporizer pen. This is happening. She’s a great speaker, sharing interesting references and teachings. I’m learning. Her words began slowing down, there’s a slight echo in the air. “Wait, what? I missed that.” I take a couple more draws from the pen, this time the taste is even smoother. Yup…this feeling again. Hello Friend.
Nathania the instructor and owner takes over. Did you know Yoga involves moving a lot? My impression has always been that you do one pose, stay there for 5 minutes and just meditate. Nope! Maybe it was the type of session, but this is how this particular one was:
I’ll give a quick example, there are about 3-4 steps to one single position.
1) You’re in a plank position
2) Hands spread out as wide as they can
3) Then move your left leg to your hands
4) Raise your arms in the air
5) Sometimes a chant would happen (“Hummmmm”)
6) Now keep your left arm up
7) Bend to the right side
8) Tilt your chin towards the opposite side on an angle
9) Stretch out right arm out as far you can
If you don’t know yoga, can you picture what this would look like?
Now imagine trying to follow these instructions high as a kite.
This was just one position, you would hold for at most 10-15 seconds and onto the next position…and the next….and the next….
Emily said 3-10 puffs would get you at a nice state.
I was already at 6-7 within 10 minutes.
What I Was Afraid Of
I tried so hard to get the positions right. It reminded me of gym class in elementary school. You didn’t want to be that kid that fucked up. I was really conscious of the people around me and making sure I was following along. At most, I would be one step behind, but I would catch up. I was doing pretty well. I was quite focused. However, you all know, being high and focused is hard to consistently maintain. Your mind at times will drift, it will get distracted.
Although the session is constantly moving, there is a routine. There I was following along, standing upright. My legs spread, right arm stretched out, head facing in the right way. Once you get into the rhythm you can find yourself more relaxed. I was understanding the stretches, I could feel it. I’m actually getting it!
I verified by looking at everyone else. The setup of this particular session was that we were all formed in a circle. So the guy across from me should be facing the opposite direction, or was it the same? It’s the opposite, so why are we the same? I looked at everyone else, and I was the only person facing the wrong way. FUCK!
Right leg, left leg, left arm, right arm…. I got it all mixed up.
I tried to casually turn myself to the correct position as everyone else without anyone noticing. The instructor made eye contact and spoke in a whisper using her lips from across the room, “Don’t worry about it” with a big smile.
Surprisingly though, that was actually very calming. My nerves settled.
Newbie Lessons: Yes, I’ll do it again
It took a while for me to get into the rhythm. I think I expected a calm meditation session and instead got a mini workout. The meditation aspect comes with understanding the moves and letting everything flow. So I think I’ll try just standard (sober) yoga next time. Once I get it, I’ll definitely throw in some Ganja aspect into it. One step at a time.
I brought a knife to a gun fight and I came out with a bag of Doritos.
If you’re a beginner like me and are trying your first Cannabis Yoga session, here are my newbie tips:
1) You’ll probably be very conscious of the people around you. No need to get too distracted by it, find your own space. Breathe and focus on what you are doing, not others. It takes time, but believe me, you’re high, they aren’t all staring at you.
2) Learn some of the standard yoga poses. It’ll be that much easier to follow the steps and go with the flow. Just search online for some tutorials. The key is to get the rhythm going so you can focus on other things, like breathing and meditation.
3) To prevent strong smells in the Yoga Studio, most likely you’ll be smoking a vape pen. Pens are used differently, you shouldn’t smoke it like a joint or a dry herb vape. I find taking short, light puffs are the best way. Long hauls and holding it in can cause slight stomach discomfort for the newbie. Along with the constant movement and heat, it might cause for a bad session, which is sometimes an hour long.
4) If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just sit there. It’s ok to take a break. Take a few draws from your pen. Just breathe, your deep breaths are what will keep you in check.
5) Water: Yoga isn’t as physical as traditional sports, but you are moving and sweating. So don’t assume you won’t need water. There is also a chance you will get cotton mouth or the smoke may dry your throat. Bring a nice big bottle (don’t drink it all in one gulp though).
6) Strains: Choose something a bit more light. Maybe an Indica or a strain with low THC. The key is to have the marijuana work with you and not against you. I’d avoid edibles and dabbing.
6) If you happen to be wearing socks, don’t follow the moves of another person who is also wearing socks. They are probably the other newbie in the room and are just as confused as you are (true story).
The last 10 minutes of the session involved us just lying there. My eyes were closed and my body (especially my back) was feeling great after all the stretches. I could feel myself being lifted from the yoga mat, “Ah, this is what I was expecting.” It gave me time to reflect. I thought how awesome it was to share this communal activity with complete strangers who share the same mindset. I didn’t go through a spiritual journey or have an epiphany. However, I was glad to know more events like this are taking place. Marijuana smokers spend so much of their lives hiding. We have to make sure we don’t get caught with weed or we’re not getting caught high by the unaccepting. It was a total judgment free zone. I can enjoy my weed without worry about authorities or being labeled a stoner. That was my true comfort attending this event. Now I just have to remember where I parked.
Of course on the way home, the mental and physical activities took a toll on me. So I went to get some In and Out; my other remedy for meditation…. Munchies.
Goda Yoga: http://www.godayoga.com/
Emily Meyers, Greenly Delivery: http://www.greenly.me