Yoga, Herb and Mindfulness with Minelli

Cannabis and wellness go hand in hand. From ancient civilizations to Los Angeles in 2017, cannabis has been used for millennia to promote good health and calm the mind. Herb is a great accompaniment to all sorts of exercise — Bob loved soccer — and in places where herb is now legal to consume, a community of cannabis yogis has come out of the woodwork. To learn more, we met up with Minelli, a yoga instructor and advocate for the herb, to find out why she loves CBD before her samasthiti. 

Name: Minelli

Location: Los Angeles

Has taught yoga since the end of 2015

Has taught cannabis yoga since January 2017

What inspired you to incorporate herb into your yoga classes? I had been practicing [yoga] for a while when I went to my friend’s. He randomly lit up a bowl before class. I was like, “What!?” After that, I started [smoking before class]  because it felt good to me. Then I talked to other people who were doing it. I began to read up on the history of yoga, cannabis, Hinduism, Rastafarianism, and I just found there’s a deep spiritual practice with it. That’s why I started to offer the classes — to build a community around that.

How does cannabis help you connect during your practice? It makes me aware of what is going on without extra judgement. Sometimes you go into a yoga class and it’s hard to get into the space of “I’m here, I’m listening to my breath, let’s get here.” When I smoke, the rest of what’s going on melts away. You can do a pose and if you’re not doing it so well, sometimes in a regular class it’s competitive and your ego gets hurt, but when I smoke there’s none of the self-judgement. I’ll try and if it doesn’t work out I know there’s next time. I’m here and that’s what matters.

Do you prefer sativa indica, hybrid or CBD strains? In general I prefer hybrids, especially sativa-dominant. I like how sativas activate me, but I don’t like too much because sometimes my heart starts racing and I’m a bit too aware. With hybrids, the indica keeps me chill. During my practice, I tend to go with more balanced hybrids or CBD. For my classes, I find a lot of participants aren’t heavy smokers. Indicas can knock them out or sativas can be a bit too much. I like to give people something between. CBD is essential, just so everyone can have the option to mellow out or feel the non-psychoactive effects of the plant as well.

What is your favorite yoga pose and why? I couldn’t decide between child’s pose or the samasthiti pose. Child’s pose is such a nice hip opener. It’s a passive place to be and a place of surrender. I also love samasthiti, especially when I’m high. I feel so much energy just standing with my palms together, feet rooted in the ground. Considering I’m not doing much, I feel a lot more in that space, especially when I’m high.

What are some yoga poses you’d recommend for people who work in cannabis, especially those in gardening and processing who might sit all day? I’ve done gardening and trimming. I found I was super stiff at the end of the day. Gentle back bends, where you put your hands behind your back and open up your chest, are super restorative. It’s nice to do chest openers. Camel pose is another good option. Sun salutations are beneficial, especially the half lift with palms on your shins and you’re sending your hips back and shoulders back.

What advice would you give to someone who’s never tried cannabis before a yoga class?

  1. For my classes, I recommend participants have smoked a couple times before trying [a cannabis yoga class]. Come into it with a mindset that you’re going to feel a lot higher than if you smoke and chill at home. When you smoke and meditate or smoke and do yoga, you feel a lot higher. People are usually surprised by that.
  2. Take it slow. You can always come back to your joint and smoke more.
  3. Always have CBD on hand. I personally like that so you don’t feel worried about being in a negative space.
  4. Always do it, at least when starting, in a familiar space. Go to a yoga studio you already know with people you like and know the class flow, or do it at home so you’re not smoking and putting yourself in a completely new environment.

Where can people go to find out more about your classes? I have my website, www.yogawithminelli.com, or check out my Instagram @yogawithminelli.