Jessamyn Stanley’s Do’s and Don’ts for 420-Friendly Yoga

Cannabis-friendly yoga was once a California niche, as the
state’s early medical marijuana laws helped spawn a proliferation of events
that paired weed with an ancient Hindu tradition. Now, as attitudes towards
cannabis consumption continue to shift, high yoga has made its way to the East
Coast too.

Despite its growing popularity, the rise of 420-friendly
classes has caused
some debate
within the yoga community. Does consuming cannabis help one’s
yoga practice — or hinder it? Does THC intoxicate, or heighten the experience? Would
THC hinder the
pursuit of
“clarity and purity of mind”?

For yoga teacher and body positivity advocate Jessamyn Stanley, who is based in North Carolina, cannabis has been an essential part of her wellness routine for much of her adult life. On a summer afternoon at The Wing, a women’s co-working space where we are both members, Stanley told me about how cannabis was an essential part of her career in yoga — even if she hasn’t always been open about her use.

When it comes to the “is weed good or bad for yoga” debate,
she falls firmly on the side of “good.”

“I incorporate [cannabis and yoga] in every way that
you could,” she said. “I’m a big fan of medicating throughout the
practice.”

Stanley is quick to explain that it might not work for
everyone. “I can see the situation where someone would be like, ‘I can’t
do it while I’m practicing,’” she said.

I nodded in agreement, thinking of my own ill-fated attempts
to write after consuming cannabis. (Writing and weed may go together for some,
just not for this reporter.)

But for those who find that weed helps them let go,
combining cannabis and yoga can be symbiotic.

“Ultimately, cannabis allows us to release, and yoga is
allowing you to release,” said Stanley. “Anything that you can do to
get down to your most true self is key.”

So how should people go about
integrating cannabis into their yoga practice?

Do: Pay Attention to Dosage and Strain Choices

“I think that it’s a good idea to go slowly and pay
very close attention to dosage and strain,” advised Stanley. “Don’t
just be like, ‘Oh, you know what, I’m going to start incorporating cannabis and
yoga, and I’m just going to start with like, like a one gram joint.’ If you
don’t usually do that, don’t do that.”

Do: Stick With What You Know

Stanley suggests using whatever products or consumption
methods that you’re already familiar with, whether it’s topicals or vapes or
maybe even an edible taken a couple hours before your practice.

“Listen to yourself — that will guide what needs to
happen next,” she said. “Don’t think too much about it.”

Do: Build an Individualized Practice

When it comes to cannabis and yoga, creating an
individualized practice is key, according to Stanley. Her new yoga subscription
service The Underbelly isn’t explicitly 420-friendly, but it’s all about
creating a “yoga space that is really authentic to you.”

While she hopes to one day incorporate more talk about
dosing through the practice, “in the short term, it’s just about enjoying at
your leisure, as it makes sense to you,” she said.

Don’t: Set High Expectations

But perhaps her most important advice for cannabis-curious
yogis and yoga-curious stoners is to not set many high expectations for themselves.

“A lot of times, people are like, ‘I’m gonna practice [yoga]
for an hour every day for the rest of my life.’ And it’s like, ‘Oh, okay, in
three weeks you’re going to be over it,’” she said.”

“Just go with what makes the most sense for where you
are right now. If you have 10 minutes in the morning and that’s your yoga
practice, it’s beautiful, it’s perfect,” she said.

And don’t worry about striking
the most Instagram-perfect pose, either.

“It’s you at your house,
farting, naked with your dog.”

TELL US, do you practice yoga high?

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