Use of cannabis to enhance the yoga experience is nothing new, but classes that are tailored to the preferences of cannabis users are splashing into popularity as cannabis slowly enters the mainstream. While the idea of a cannabis-friendly yoga class may not seem necessary for someone who already does this as a regular part of their practice, a paired class is interesting for those who want to be in a room of like-minded practitioners in a setting where careful attention is paid to mood and music, with an enthusiasm inspired by those who know that they like to enjoy both cannabis and yoga. That’s why, if you’re me, you jump at a last-minute invite to attend Seattle’s first cannabis and yoga class so you can experience a unique duo.
When I arrived at the class, which came about as a result of a shared vision between yogi Joel from YogaSmith and Ganja Goddess collaborators Sebastian and Amanda, I wasn’t sure how many had been here before or how many were high because no one made a big deal about any of that. All was peaceful and calm. There wasn’t any fanfare, consumption of any kind, or talk beforehand except someone’s quiet comment that it's fun to practice in a group where you don't really know or care that people are high.
Right off the bat, I thanked my lucky stars that this was not a hot yoga class. Creating your own heat is something that more traditional yoga teachers and students very much still enjoy doing, and that was certainly the case in the 80 degree, community-built YogaSmith studio in Georgetown, Seattle. I felt relieved to not be blasted with heat upon entry and figured that practitioners who smoke or use vaporizers must have felt the same way, as those consumption methods sometimes make users thirsty.
As I started with basic restorative poses, I ohm'ed and focused on a singular heartfelt intention to which to dedicate my practice. I spent class pursuing the spirit of that intention in the amber glow of a hardwood floored studio illuminated by soft flickering lights. Once the music kicked in, I found myself believing that the mutual vibration of ohms, hums, soft bells, and string instruments was about to be felt all the way down the block.
Minds comfortably wandered and bodies slipped through poses with eyes mostly closed, and I deepened my experience without the impact of high heat. Every move and breath were continually supported by the layering in of gongs, cymbals and possibly even sitar, while the muted sounds of jets and trains slipped in a sort of agreeable juxtaposition.
I was rewarded for my arrival to the here and now with helpful cues and encouragement. Clarity and focus overtook me despite the noise from the street along with the gentle din of planetary gong sounds. My eyes opened to the sight of blue-green-yellow lights flickering from within gigantic crystal sonic bowls, which together created flickers of hued candlelight and shining gold glimmers of light that reached the periphery of my gaze. The overall amber-golden quality of the room seemed to permeate the timbre of each rich voice that contributed to the serenade of hmmmmmmmmmmmms and ommmmmmmmmmmmms from around the room.
This peaceful calm I achieved came naturally from tuning my spine with gentle spinal waves. My nervous system was aided by rich sounds, dogs, sphinxes, planks, and the healing energy of a coconut cannabis edible and a simple topical cream. The conclusion I arrived at as I was asked to take note of my quality of thought was that indulging a sensory-rich experience like this one lent itself to my lightness of being and created a powerful and deep positive vibration.
The practice was so natural that it's almost as if cannabis and yoga have been together for a really long time, but I love yoga for so many reasons that focusing on just this one aspect doesn't do it justice. Rather, I came for this “paired” class because it was the first one of its kind I had heard about in Seattle. The beauty of this experience stuck is what stuck with me the most, as did my newfound inspiration to be a champion for the playful spirits in my life.
Many thanks to YogaSmith, Ganja Goddess, and cannabis for helping me remember that being alive is better and better when we remember to play. Namaste.