When I first combined yin yoga and cannabis for my chronic insomnia, I fell asleep in savasana (corpse pose), which was a huge deal for me.
Although I had been practicing yoga for 3 years at the time, i had never managed to relax to this level during my practice. I had been running on less than 4 hours of sleep almost every night for 3 months simply because I couldn’t shut off my mind. The addition of cannabis allowed me to enter the “nothing” realm for a longer period of time and was the step i needed to overcome my chronic insomnia.
I find the most effective union to be the combination of breath work and a low-dose of cannabis through inhalation. This combination helps my body and mind achieve this unusual state of relaxed and energized at the same time. I become hyper aware of the loosening of my muscular structure through low doses because it tends to nurture me into a state of calm awareness and I plunge into experiencing sensation instead of sedation. It took me some time to figure out the methods which worked well for me.
Here are a few things I consider before I begin a yin or restorative yoga practice:
1. My intention
I ask myself what is the reason I am exploring yoga and cannabis together. My intentions can range from craving a calm mind, help with sleep, or to deepen a connection with my body. I make sure I am clear on why I am doing this so the plan of action is carefully thought out and supportive to my needs. This often becomes my intention before I begin my practice.
2. Visualize the outcome
I like to visualize how I want to feel after the practice. Clarity around if I want to feel energetic, or perhaps relaxed and ready for bed will help me determine my cannabis approach. If I want to feel recharged and energetic, I may consider choosing to microdose with an uplifting strain through inhalation. If I am wanting to stretch out the feeling of relaxation, I might choose an oil drop or edible which I consume 1 hour before my practice.
3. The setting & environment
My environment is key to a positive experience in that it supports my senses and ensures comfort, both of which contribute to a meaningful practice. For example, I might consider location, whether I go to a class to be led, or the possibility of leading my own practice at home. I also consider the presence of music, nature sounds or silence, lighting options such as the use of dimmers, candle light or perhaps natural light for a morning meditation, and scents to enhance relaxation or provide emotional comfort through essential oils.
4. Method of consumption
This takes practice and a willingness to try new things. I notice that my preferences change depending on what’s happening in my life. Personally, inhalation through a vaporizer works the best for me at the moment because it’s easy and portable and I love the way it preserves the flavour profile and integrity of the flower. I’m gaining the benefits of the whole plant and it takes effect instantly versus when I consume edibles and oil drops which might take anywhere between 1-2 hours to take effect.
5. Choose a strain and record it in the F&F Fitness Tracker
For me it took a lot of experimentation and frankly it was really fun. I loved creating my own personal cannabis user manual and the Flower & Freedom fitness tracker makes sure you answer all the questions important to your health and fitness routine.
6. Carefully choose my dose
The cannabis mantra ‘start low and go slow’ is especially important when doing any sort of intentional physical or mental workout. The last thing you want is to be preparing for a wonderful practice but to feel like you have over consumed. Currently low dosing works well for me, but it also depends on the make-up of the strain. Low dosing to me is anywhere from 1-3 draws on a vaporizer. If it’s a new strain, I start off with one draw and wait 5-10 mins and go from there. I like to get to a point where the effect is deep enough to do some releasing and clarifying work but not strong enough that I can’t stay relaxed and mostly free from the control of my busy mind.
The purpose of my practice is to train my mind not to be inside my head and as a result, my body releases tension. After all, yoga means “unity” of the mind, body and senses, so to me it makes sense to use cannabis as an occasional tool to heighten my mind-body connection.