I Tried Cannabis-Infused Yoga & I Felt The Yoga Practice With My Entire Body
As a resident of California, I'm no stranger to the mystical and calming benefits of cannabis. Time and time again, cannabis has saved me from opting for sleeping pills or anxiety medication, since its naturally healing properties are more than enough to quell my innately nervous personality. However, yoga is another story. While I'm not a total yoga-newbie (I am from Los Angeles, after all), it's never been an activity I've committed to for the long haul. The majority of my experience with yoga lies in haphazardly following along to YouTube instructional videos during lazy Sunday afternoons. However, when I was invited to try cannabis-infused yoga, a yoga class in which cannabis is a central feature, there was absolutely no way I could pass on the opportunity. Although I had no idea what to expect, I'm here to report that the experience was downright euphoric.
The class is called Bend and Blaze, and it was held in a ridiculously beautiful mansion in the tangle of tightly woven residential streets that is Beverly Hills. If I'm being truthful here, the neighborhood and the home itself were goals AF. Sleek, modern, and private on the outside, I was surprised to discover that the class would be situated in its vast backyard, where a shimmering swimming pool and an expansive panoramic view of LA wrapped around a cluster of yoga mats.
OK, so clearly this was going to be a way more luxurious yoga experience than whatever I've been doing in my living room. As I made my way through a crowd of young journalists, each with eyes all lit up by the astonishing situation that they, like me, had found themselves in, I only grew more and more intrigued by the moment.
Not only was there a table full of fruit, pastries, cans of matcha tea, and cannabis-infused mango water (you read that correctly), there were also these black hexagonal boxes sitting at the top of each yoga mat. Once I shamelessly took a peek at the box's contents as though I was 5 years old again, tearing inconspicuous holes in the Christmas presents my mother tried to hide from me, I'm sure my jaw literally dropped to the floor.
Inside was an array of various cannabis products, and I had a hopeful inkling that they were all for me. There was a Pure vape pen, cannabis tincture, cannabis oil, and everything a girl with a weed-loving heart could ask for. Printed on the box were the words "Lucky Box Club," and I instantly felt like I had been recruited by a secret marijuana society. But, you know what? I was totally on board.
After gathering my bearings, I glanced over to see a young woman confidently lighting a bright pink joint with a golden filter. "I'm just getting everything started, you guys," she said while smiling, right before taking a drag from the coolest joint I had ever seen in my life. Blending right in with the group of young 20-somethings, she had to walk all the way to the front of the yoga mats before I realized who she was.
This woman wasn't just a total badass, she was also our instructor.
After we each took a spot at a yoga mat, our instructor, Eliza Maroney (the genius brain behind Bend and Blaze yoga), began giving the class a proper introduction. As it turns out, she and her husband, Luke Maroney, happen to be the owners and founders of Lucky Box Club. What is this mysterious company, you may be wondering? It's a subscription service in which a box full of cannabis-infused goodies is delivered right to your doorstep. So, not only is Eliza Maroney a cannabis-smoking yogi, she also provides the much-needed service of helping cannabis-lovers skip their trip to the dispensary. Once again: goals AF.
Thoroughly explaining the purpose of each product in our little cannabis gift box, Eliza described how certain products were predominantly CBD-based, while a few others were THC-based, since weed is legal in California. While CBD causes no psychoactive effects from cannabis, according to The National Center for Biotechnology Information, it does help relieve pain and anxiety rather than leave you feeling "intoxicated." This is unlike THC, which contains psychoactive properties and induces the euphoric "high" that cannabis is more traditionally known for. Encouraging us to get "lifted" rather than get "high," she asked us to partake in the product that calls our name the most.
After electing to go with the Pure vape pen (it was just way too pretty not to), I took a few drags before hitting the mat. Eliza guided us through her yoga practice with ease, starting us off with a few small and meditative stretches, which I appreciated as the cannabis slowly took effect in my mind and body. Sooner or later, we were gliding through cat-cows, sun salutations, warrior poses, and more.
I'm the type of person who's mind is always racing, and although yoga is centered on being "present" in the moment, my mind would normally be wandering to all the tasks I'm currently procrastinating or whether or not I'm going to be late to my next appointment. However, as the cannabis kicked in, I found myself fully committing to every movement, my mind concentrating on each sensation with unbreakable focus. As the yoga, combined with the afternoon July heat, caused sweat to glisten across my skin, I realized that my normal instinct to reach for the nearest towel wasn't even there. I mean, how could I let a little sweat disrupt the cannabis-yoga trance I was in?
Feeling dauntless and free, Eliza guided us through a pose where our arms, legs, and spine were stretched out as far as they could go. She reminded us that in life, especially for women, we are taught to be small and told not to take up so much space. In this moment, Eliza asked us to "take up as much space as we can." Eased by cannabis and unshackled by the pose, I understood yoga in a way I never truly had before.
I was surrounded by a group of other young professionals, each carrying their own hopes, dreams, fears, and anxieties with them to class. However, as a collective, we were all learning how to be comfortable enough with our largest and most liberated selves. We were all dissipating our anxiety together, as one. I felt a connection with all the souls surrounding me; an invisible string tying all of us together. At that exact moment, in the middle of traffic-jammed Los Angeles, a group of strangers came together to "take up as much space as we can." I don't know whether it was the high from so much cannabis, the rush of energy from the yoga flow, or just the sheer beauty of it all, but the awareness of the moment really got to me. Then and there, I realized that yoga is about empathy, togetherness, and most importantly, freedom.
Although cannabis was a game-changing addition to my yoga practice, it's important that you speak to a professional and do the appropriate research on what strains and dosages are best suited to your needs, before you try it. While cannabis-infused yoga definitely helped my yoga practice, it has different effects on everyone, so make sure to consult with your doctor before taking a puff.
As easy and reliable as practicing yoga in my living room has been, it's nothing compared to sharing the moment with a bunch of strangers, especially with the added dose of cannabis-induced bliss. Even though we all left and carried on with our own lives, I enjoyed the simple understanding that none of us are truly separate from each other. We are all connected.