7 Tips For Incorporating Ganja Into Your Yoga Practice
ACCORDING TO DEE DUSSAULT, THE PATRON SAINT OF GANJA YOGA
Dee Dussault discovered yoga via a VHS in her Christmas stocking in 1995, but it wasn’t until 2009 that the San Francisco-based Ganja Yoga practitioner, started to consider incorporating weed into her teaching. "My small town upbringing," Dussault explained to Marley Natural, "and the usual anti-marijuana propaganda that came with it, made it such that I had never considered that the herb could be a wellness aid." As she investigated further, she discovered a relationship between marijuana and yoga that stretched back "thousands of years." "I learned the spiritual history of cannabis, and found that yoga actually has roots in Shiva cults that used cannabis as a form of worship to the deity. It was believed that Ganja (also called ‘Vijaya’) would bring spiritual insights." Dussault’s classes focus less on the rigorous, body-sculpting agenda that many fast-paced yoga classes have come to embrace, but instead relies heavily on meditation, relaxation, and mindfulness. "Cannabis encourages you to slow down and revel in the nuances of basic poses instead of treating yoga like exercise," Dussault says. Who better to ask for tips for incorporating ganja into our own routines? Below, seven tips from Dee Dussault, the preeminent Ganja Yoga envoy.
1. DON’T TRY TO PAIR WEED WITH A HIGH-INTENSITY FLOW
Dussault warns against classes that are physically challenging yet "void of any spiritual or mental aspect." In an altered state, she says, "we have to be careful to avoid moving quickly, like in Vinyasa, or doing potentially dangerous postures, like in power yoga."
2. YOGA PAIRS BEST WITH HYBRIDS, BUT REALLY, IT’S YOUR CALL
Dussault prefers hybrids, since a sativa "could be too buzzy and lead to distracting thoughts," while an indica "could demotivate the student from actually wanting to practice." But she’s careful to note: "it really depends on the student’s preference." So if you know what works for you, stick with that.
3. DON’T BE NERVOUS! EVEN IF IT’S YOUR FIRST TIME
Dussault says her main recommendation for a first-timer "is to not be nervous! It can be a little intimidating to not know what to expect. Arrive a little early, meet your teacher, and consume less cannabis than usual, knowing you can always add more if needed."
4. NO GANJA YOGA CLASSES IN YOUR AREA? FIND A LOWER-INTENSITY HATHA CLASS INSTEAD
You don’t need to live within walking distance of Dussault’s studio to practice ganja yoga, but if you are planning on blazing before a traditional yoga class, Dussault recommends looking for a restorative or hatha-based class, "where the people hold the poses longer and are more introverted."
5. WEED AND YOGA MIGHT MIX, BUT THAT COMPETITIVE URGE DEFINITELY DOES NOT
Dussault notes you gotta be careful to "avoid pushing, competing with other students, wondering how you appear to others, and rest when you need to." Cannabis-laced yoga is all about achieving a new level of relaxation, and holding onto any competitive instincts will put you off-track. Dussault adds, "be aware that balance might be impaired. Prioritize safety. Don't worry how you look."
6. ACHIEVE THE PERFECT HIGH BEFOREHAND, BUT FEEL FREE TO SMOKE THROUGHOUT AS WELL
"Vaporizing before class is my top recommendation, Dussault says, "however, if people choose to smoke, that's fine by me. I tell people to consume less cannabis than they might if they were just going to get high and chill with friends." Dussault recommends smoking before class, and then "throughout as needed. In my classes, we finish the postures and then consume a little more before final meditation." (Just keep in mind that may not fly in a regular class!)
7. TAKE A MOMENT AND ENJOY THIS STATE OF ENHANCED AWARENESS
The benefits of smoking are not just for the super-advanced or beginners. Dussault explains that adding cannabis, "can bring familiar postures deeper and show more interesting aspects. Instead of pushing towards more challenging postures, go inward, let the cannabis reveal the more subtle aspects." The two wellness aids, Dussault says, "when couples, are greater than each one alone."
PHOTOGRAPHY: MONICA LO