Smoking Grass or Weed Before Yoga Class

Should You Smoke Grass Before Yoga Class?

Published on August 29, 2017

As yoga practitioners, we’re constantly asking, “How can I deepen and enrich my practice?” For some, marijuana is the answer. As more states vote to legalize marijuana, smoking pot is emerging out of the haze and becoming more widely accepted. Yoga, as a living and evolving entity, is responding to this shift. Yoga classes specifically designed with a buzz in mind are popping up at studios across the country. So, what’s the deal? Does smoking marijuana before yoga class help or hinder the journey to enlightenment?

Svadhyaya (self-study) and research are vital to discovering whether or not smoking marijuana before yoga class is right for you. First, it’s important to understand how marijuana use affects people in general, and you in particular. Does it make you relaxed and euphoric or anxious and paranoid? Does your brain kick into overdrive or slow down to a crawl? As an aspiring yogi, the ultimate consideration should always be, “Does this bring me closer to a state of union with self and spirit?” A deeper look at how marijuana use affects the physical, mental, and spiritual bodies may help in making an informed decision.

On the physical level, marijuana is known as a pain reliever and muscle relaxer. This sounds perfect for hatha yoga–stretch more deeply, release tension more completely, all without that distracting knee or lower back pain. Yet, pain and the edge of a stretch are the body’s way of communicating the need to slow down or back off. Without these clear cues, you may overstretch and strain muscles or connective tissue, and injuries can easily be exacerbated. Smoking marijuana may make it harder to learn and concentrate on alignment details. Poor alignment can render your yoga practice ineffective, or even dangerous.

Mentally, marijuana changes your brain chemistry. For many, while stoned, it becomes harder to focus. One-pointed focus (dharana) is the first step to yoga’s higher meditative states. If marijuana sends your mind racing, forget about concentration. Simply going through the motions of asana without curiosity and reflection does little to advance your cause. Conversely, a hyper-focused mind is unable to access vairagya (detachment/renunciation)–a vital ingredient in yoga.

Some spiritual seekers, including sadhus (holy men) in India and Rastafarians, believe that smoking the holy herb brings one closer to God. Marijuana can elicit feelings of euphoria similar to the bliss enlightened yogi masters describe. For some, this may be a handy shortcut, but it can also be a form of spiritual bypassing, where you chase faux spiritual experiences in an effort to avoid unresolved personal issues or pain. Most often earned through intense self-scrutiny and yogic practices, true samadhi (liberation, absorption) won’t fade with your buzz.

What are your thoughts? Is smoking grass before yoga class a way to reach enlightenment or something else entirely?

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6 responses to “Should You Smoke Grass Before Yoga Class?”

  1. John Hankis Avatar
    John Hankis

    Good morning. In relation to this article, never before class, a couple of hours before does help me realign my energy between my brain and my body. I have experienced a much deeper enlightening and understanding during some practicing not always every practice not every practice is the same but I would say it has a place in practice. At home when I practice and meditate, for sure. Again a while after inhalation when relaxation and control are mine. So while agree with it’s use it needs to be controlled and special consideration given to each individual just like anything else .

  2. Deidra Avatar

    I pratice Ashtanga and I have found that having a very slight buzz is often beneficial. However, I find myself sometimes leaving out a pose or loosing my count.

  3. Molly Baxter Avatar
    Molly Baxter

    Hi, I’ve smoked pot in the past but I don’t think this is a good combo. I’d rather just get “high” from just yoga.

  4. Harold Burton Avatar
    Harold Burton

    whoah this weblog is magnificent i really like your posts. Keep up the good work!

  5. Ashley Jones Avatar
    Ashley Jones

    I saw so many articles being published about the “Culture” of yoga. I liked your reasons why you should not smoke cannabis before yoga class

  6. Ashley Jones Avatar
    Ashley Jones

    As you probably know, cannabis consumption before yoga has the potential to enhance both the intensity and duration of the experience. However, while many fitness enthusiasts are well aware that smoking weed before exercise can enhance their experience, many still aren’t sure whether or not it’s safe or advisable. The verdict largely boils down to this: smoking weed before yoga is a good idea if done correctly.

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Lynn Theodose Avatar
About the author
Lynn Theodose is a dedicated teacher and student of yoga, and a creative, impassioned freelance writer. She studied Ashtanga Yoga for eight years under master teacher Bhavani Maki on the island of Kauai. Since 2009, Lynn has been offering asana and meditation classes with a heavy emphasis on The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. She currently lives in State College, PA, with her beloved fiancé and adorable rescue dog.
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