When it comes to yoga, cannabis is a bona fide performance enhancer.
Nothing intensifies the sensations of moving meditation like a little green buzz. Nothing loosens up the body, subdues your sense of self and quiets the mind — stills that slough of thought, and slips you into a smooth state of serenity beyond stress — quite like Mary Jane. It’s a beautiful harmony, those two. A match made in nirvana, meant for the mat.
It’s why meditative religions like Buddhism and Hinduism revere marijuana as a tool for meditating. It was Lord Shiva’s “favorite herb” because it calmed his crazy ass down when he was getting all “destroyer of worlds” angry, and in India, there is still a class of wandering holy yogis, known as Sadhus, who smoke marijuana all day long for spiritual purposes.
Which, coincidentally, is my excuse for getting totally blitzed before yoga too.
It’s tough though, because usually when I finally come screeching into the parking lot of the yoga studio, there are only a few minutes left to spare before they shut and lock the front door. There’s not much time for me to stop and pack a bowl or roll a joint, power smoke it, and still make it inside. Then it’s a matter of cramming myself into a tight spot between two strangers who are usually scowling because I smell like I just torched a grow op.
So, when it comes to methods of consumption tinctures are where it’s at. They offer the best high for the flow, buzzing just beneath the surface of your practice, carrying you like a current through the movements and motions of your meditation. They save your lungs from drying out, they don’t turn your mouth into the Sahara Desert, and they are both quick and easy to use.
For all intents and purposes, tinctures are perfect for practicing yoga.
My personal preference when it comes to these things, are Stratos’ tinctures — all medicinal quality, high potency, fast acting products that span the spectrum from indica to sativa. One or two dropperfuls (at 5 mgs per 3 ml serving) and you’re baking like a batch of muffins, ready to get in the flow and sweat.
Stratos makes four different kinds of tincture: Sleep, Relax, Energy and CBD. The Sleep tincture is made using indica THC, the Energy one is made using sativa strains and the Relax is a hybrid of both. Most brands of cannabis products sell similar tinctures, but the Stratos products are of a higher caliber when it comes to medicinal effectiveness and reliability. I know they make really strong products, so I tend to stick to them.
Usually I’m an indica guy. I really dig those heavy highs that lay over you like a blanket, that you can feel in your body and that truly stone you. But a lot of times I also enjoy sativas if I’m out hiking, biking or doing something active. So, I decided to set up an experiment of sorts, got my hands on one of each of the Stratos tinctures and started hitting the mat.
After about a month of daily yoga and tincture testing, here’s what I found (transcribed verbatim):
Energy (sativa), two full droppers – High, up and going, moving and ready to keep moving. Class seemed to zip past, but my mind was hard to wrangle. Bucking and kicking like a bull, darting in every which damn direction and making stillness seem absurd. Such it is, though. Physically, didn’t notice too much besides the stretches. I was energized, though, and could have been ready for more strenuous activity beyond stretching and flow – this tincture would be great for mountain biking.
Sleep (indica), two full droppers – Went deep, and by the end I was very grateful for savasana. Felt at points, like I was moving through water instead of air. I felt heavy and slow, but that made me focus more, made me give each pose a little more attention. Also felt more tuned into my muscles, like I could control them better and picture which ones I was stretching or flexing between different poses. Maybe that was in my head. Regardless, this heavy high was good – I liked the weight of it and the slower pace of my mind. Made a couple of mistakes throughout (silly little high slip-ups) and was moving about a breath slower than everyone else. Besides that, great. Did approach unconsciousness in savasana, though. A nap sounds nice.
Relax (hybrid), two full droppers – Still got the body high, got the nice effects of feeling slower and more mindful about my movements, without the blanket of weariness that the indica tincture generated. Felt subdued but not unenergentic, relaxed but not sleepy.
Of the three I think the relax was my favorite experience — it was a nice, balanced in-between high that didn’t lay me out, but that didn’t make me anxious, either. The sativa tincture seemed better for the physical aspect of practice, while the indica tincture was more effective for quieting and clearing the mind. The Relax hybrid was ideal.
Generally, tinctures like these take around twenty to thirty minutes to really activate, so I usually tried to take mine 20(ish) minutes prior to class. Otherwise I wouldn’t really feel the effects until about halfway through. I also experimented with taking a couple hits off a bowl before class, in combination with the tinctures, and I felt like this really got the class started off on the right foot. No build up, no waiting for the tincture to activate, just walked in high and stayed that way right through the hour, and then beyond.
A lot of this is subjective, obviously, and depends on the yogi. Maybe you really dig the way a sativa tincture activates your body and your mind, or maybe you really enjoy the slow-flow feeling of the indica high. To each their own, right?
So, if you enjoy yoga, it might be worth doing a little experiment of your own. If for no other reason than to experience the weird magic of cannabis infused yoga, to see how you like it.