In a 2001 Time Magazine article, The Power of Yoga, Dr. Timothy McCall, author of Examining Your Doctor: A Patient’s Guide to Avoiding Harmful Medical Care said:
“One lesson of the alternative health-care movement,” McCall warns, “is that the public is not going to wait for doctors to get it together.”
This could not be truer both of yoga and marijuana.
While we have amassed thousands of years of anecdotal evidence of yoga’s benefits, we are only beginning to delve into a scientific basis to justify its legitimacy in Western society. In the same way, we are only beginning to discover the psychological and physiological benefits of marijuana. We waded patiently through tidal waves of trendy prescription drugs, brand name surgeries and expensive specialty doctors. Through it all, people have only become less happy and sicker. Ambivalence in western medicine is becoming clearer and increasingly more people are looking to other sources for answers.
Many have heard that yoga can lower stress levels, increase endurance, flexibility and strength and make a person feel happier day to day. However, studies of yoga are now showing that the practice also helps with many of the illnesses in which people use marijuana to medicate.
One study found a yoga series to significantly decrease hand pain and increase hand flexibility and function in osteoarthritis patients. Yoga has been shown to improve bronchial asthma, coronary atherosclerosis, chronic lower back pain and depression. If you suffer from a condition that is improved with marijuana, chances are yoga would help too. Yoga has been shown to improve mood, cope with stress and increase extroversion, and who couldn’t use a little happiness booster?
Marijuana and yoga can, singularly or in tandem, affect a sense of enhanced body awareness.
You may not have noticed that crick in your neck until you sat down with a vaporizer after a long day, or that deep knot in your back until you were stretching it out on the mat. This also holds true of awareness of your surroundings – how bright a light is, a sensitivity to certain smells. We’re often too busy or too distracted to notice these micro-stressors and consequently, they grate against your subconscious creating an all-too-commonly difficult day.
A blend of cannabis- to calm the mind and ease symptoms of illness or unease, and and yoga- to reclaim and reintroduce us to our body, can help re-teach us to be aware of our ourselves and our environments.
If you need another reason to include yoga in your cannabis practice, research is finding yoga can significantly improve visual and verbal as well as spatial memory. Since we now understand memory function can be inhibited with moderate to heavy marijuana use (don’t worry it bounces back!) Yoga may help with some of the memory related side effects of cannabis usage.
Want to learn more about the interplay of Yoga and Cannabis? Check out Get High the Yogi Way by Rae Lland in Issue 9 of Cannabis Now Magazine, on newsstands now.