Will 'ganja yoga' be a new fitness fad?

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Publish Date
Tuesday, 18 April 2017, 11:42AM

Maybe you already feel the zen of getting into downward dog when you're stressed-out or maybe you've even taken a load off with the sneaky drag of a joint.

"But if you haven't combined the two, you're in for a treat," writes yoga instructor Dee Dussault in her new book, Ganja Yoga.

That's also the name of the "cannabis-enhanced" classes she has created and teaches in San Francisco. Medical marijuana is legal in Washington, D.C., and some states across the US but the teacher is hoping to spread awareness of the practice by compiling her philosophy and advice.

Chapter 1 provides a quick outline of marijuana as medicine, citing the number of conditions it's used to treat, including pain, anxiety and depression. The next chapter tackles yoga, and how relaxation and movement can make anyone feel better.

Add it all up, Dussault says, and the benefits are off the chart. "Think about it like peanut butter and chocolate: Each is fantastic on its own, but when they come together, each makes the other better," she writes. In her case, she says, marijuana deepens her senses, which has allowed her to treat her chronic back pain by "really feeling and releasing tiny muscular or energetic holds."

Dussault says in her book that there are dangers to the duo, although she's most worried about overstretching, which can happen in any yoga class. She emphasises the importance of selecting both a strain of marijuana and a style of yoga that "are in alignment with our intention for the practice." Otherwise, you might end up too anxious.

Another thing that might stress you out is going to jail, but Dussault glosses over that possibility. Instead, she addresses what may happen if you go to a traditional studio while high. Dussault recounts the time she and a buddy hit an exhausting Ashtanga class after downing a ganja milkshake. A summary: It was wacky!

Because most people can't make it to a class like Dussault's, she offers DIY tips. Trying this with friends at home? "One person can be designated as leader for the session, to ensure the toking circle doesn't end up chatting all night."

And Dussault notes that it's important to recognise when any tool you're using in your yoga practice - be it marijuana or soft music - is becoming a crutch. For balance, she suggests trying to go without, at least some of the time.

It's also worth pointing out that recreational marijuana is illegal in many places.