It is widely known that stress is arguably the most prevalent health concern for the average American. Everyone knows that eating nutritious food and exercising are important components of a healthy life, but for many people, relaxation is seen as an extraneous, indulgent luxury. Oftentimes the extent of people’s relaxation is spent on the couch for a few hours after work each night. Although this is an extremely common practice and does give many people great pleasure, there are a number of reasons this seemingly innocuous, sedentary American habit is actually detrimental to better health.
“YOGA IS FOR FLEXIBLE PEOPLE AND HIPPIES.”
Many people have seen images of yogis doing pretzel-y poses, and think, ‘That’s kinda weird and not for me, I’m not flexible.’ However, flexibility is gained through the practice. There is a famous saying in the Yoga world - “Saying you are not flexible enough to do yoga is like saying you are too dirty to take a bath.” The thing that makes yoga more appealing for some people than other forms of exercise, is relaxation is a huge part of the practice. Our breath, heart rate and muscles are closely tied together, so as we learn to breathe deeper and relax further, our body opens up and becomes less painfully tight over time with continual practice. The final pose in yoga, Savasana, is everyone’s favorite yoga pose, where you lie down on your back and just breathe for 5 to 10 minut. Anyone could get into that kind of exercise!
Photo by @Joeburke108
THE EFFECTS OF THE BOOB TUBE.
When we spend time being sedentary, as when we sit on the couch binging on Netflix, many things begin happening within the body and mind. As soon as we sit, electrical activity in the leg muscles shut off. Calorie burning drops to 75 to 150 calories per hour, as opposed to about 550 calories burned in a Vinyasa Yoga class (a style of yoga which uses flowing movements from one posture to the next.) Enzymes that aid in fat burning drop by ninety percent while we are not moving on the couch. Our hip flexors become tight from staying in a shortened position, and the erector spinae muscles, which run parallel to the spine, are affected as our back rounds in our seat. This can cause back pain and long-term damage to the spine. Sitting also softens the glutes, which is pretty much decidedly not ideal for a number of health and aesthetic reasons. “Your glutes are looking softer these days” is something I can safely say most people wouldn’t want to hear! Your subconscious mind records absolutely everything you see and hear, even while asleep, so even though you consciously are aware commercials are trying to sell you on something, the messages are being recorded by your subconscious, which affects our behaviors whether we are aware of it or not.
THERE IS A SOLUTION!
Even if we go to the gym and work out for an hour, if we have a job that requires us to sit 8 hours a day, the effects of that much sitting are making more of an impression within our body than that one hour workout can counter. Thankfully, there are a number of ways you can avoid the health problems associated with stress and a sedentary lifestyle once you become aware of them and decide to make some enjoyable changes in your life!
HERE COMES WEED TO SAVE THE DAY.
Cannabis has been long touted as a very effective way to reduce stress, by changing the mindset of the individual into a more relaxed and present state of being. For a long time in our recent history, smoking weed to relax has been seen as an illicit and hedonistic past time. What people have failed to realize until very recently, is that relaxation is an important part of maintaining good health and a pleasurable quality of life. Cannabis is obviously an excellent way of changing your perspective and overall emotional feeling in a fast and pretty drastic way, to a more loose-in-your-body, calm state of being.
YOUR BRAIN AND BODY WERE DESIGNED TO UTILIZE CANNABIS.
As far as recent research shows, as of the writing of this article, it is widely agreed upon that there are about 85 to 113 different chemical compounds known as Cannabinoids derived from the Cannabis plant, in which many are documented to have medicinal value. Cannabinoids are the active, naturally occurring chemical compounds that provide relief in dozens of ways from various ailments, which is what makes it such an extraordinary medicine. Our body and brain have endocannabinoid receptors, which are called CB-1 (receptors in the brain) and CB-2 (receptors mostly in the immune system, located throughout the body). This is a simplified explanation, but these receptors are mostly located in these areas. Certain Cannabinoids bind to specific receptors, which causes the consumer to receive specific forms of relief for scores of symptoms.
SPECIFIC CANNABINOIDS FOR RELAXATION.
In regards to relaxation, the Cannabinoids that help with anxiety are CBD, and CBG. To reduce stress, CBD, CBG, and THC are suggested. For depression symptoms, (which can be very serious as mental health and suicide are widely known and prevalent social “dis-eases” at this time in history) CBC, CBD, CBG, CBN, and THC are suggested for relief. In this way, Cannabis can be an excellent facilitator of moving from a stressed, overwhelmed state of being, to a calmer and more present state in less than a minute depending on the way you choose to ingest it.
STRESS = DIS - EASE
In holistic health circles, it is a widely known adage that the word “disease” stems from the words “dis-ease”, meaning a lack of ease somewhere within the body and mind. In the book “Anatomy of the Spirit” by Carolyn Myss, the author explains how energy can not be destroyed, only transferred, and this fact remains true in regards to our experiences and how they affect our bodies and health. When we experience emotionally stressful things in life, such as an argument or breakup, these strong energies cause reactions within our body, such as a tensing or hunching of the shoulders, tightness in the face, discomfort in the stomach, headaches, and a plethora of other physical symptoms.
RELAXATION IS IMPORTANT.
Relaxation protects the heart, reducing your risk of high blood pressure and heart attacks. It also helps reduce activity of stress hormones, and improves sleep quality leaving you more clear-headed. With better sleep, you feel better throughout the day, and relaxation also helps boost confidence and your improve your mood. Taking regular time to relax improves digestion, increases blood flow to major muscles, and reduces the frequency and intensity of anger and frustration. It also boosts your immune system, lowering your risk of catching colds. Relaxation and meditation allow your thinking, conscious mind to rest, (which doesn’t happen during the REM state while dreaming at night) allowing you to access your subconscious mind and helps creativity flow, letting ideas surface effortlessly into your mind. Solutions to problems present themselves effortlessly, as opposed to overthinking and looping the same stressed thought patterns.
Photo by @Joeburke108
AVOIDING EMOTIONAL PAIN VS. HEALING EMOTIONAL PAINAs humans, we seek pleasure and avoid discomfort, doing anything we can to avoid feeling emotional pain, such as drinking, or mindlessly plopping ourselves in front of a loud television to drown out our thoughts and feelings. Unfortunately, this causes the pain we are ignoring and suppressing to stay within our body, as we have not allowed the sensations of the emotional pain to be fully experienced. These energies then lie dormant, until a later time when a similar situation arises, and then we may display outsized, seemingly over-reactions to events that trigger these emotions to bubble up from our subconscious. There is a way to avoid this entire trap, and it involves healing ourselves on a deeper, subconscious level.
Emotions can bubble up in yoga, but this is healing, as it allows release. Photo by @joeburke108
YOGA AND WEED: BUDS.
This is where yoga and weed come in and can actually help you to overcome experiencing looping patterns of negative emotions and feelings, which, when left undealt with, can transform into “dis-ease”, which manifests itself into a more blatant form, as physical illness.
YOGA HELPS RELEASE.
If anyone reading this has ever done yoga before, you may have experienced emotional release in certain postures. The first time I experienced this personally, it was confusing and surprising. I was doing a pose called Frog Pose in which you are on your knees in a wide stance, hips in the air, and you are resting on your forearms. It is obviously an extremely sensitive area, stretching the inner thighs and groin, and with your bottom in the air, it is a very vulnerable position, and can be uncomfortable for the body and mind. While in this pose, breathing deeply, I felt intense emotion suddenly rise in my throat out of seemingly nowhere. As if she was aware of what was happening within me personally, the yoga teacher stated “Allow yourself to breathe through any emotion that arises, and let it release with your exhales.” What took me by surprise is, I was in a good mood before and during the class! This experience was profound for me as it gave me personal evidence that this idea of energy being held in the body was a fact, as the tears began to blur my vision and my breath became labored, for reasons unclear to me. All I know is I felt amazing after class, as if I had let something finally go.
Photo by @joeburke108
The reason I share this story is to express how yoga can be used to heal the experiences that cause lasting effects on our subconscious mind, body and emotions. When we allow ourselves to experience fully the energy of the emotion, it can be released, and yoga is a system specifically designed to facilitate such experiences. This allows for purification of the physical and emotional body, which leads to better emotional balance, helping you to feel better in your body and mind...and who doesn’t want to feel good more often?!
INDICA IS GREAT FOR YOGA. AND SEX. JUST SAYING.
Indica is the Cannabis strain that binds to the receptors throughout your body, leaving you with the “body high” feeling and a muscle relaxing effect. This is why it is rumored that Cannabis can help sex feel more enjoyable, as it brings you to a more heightened state of sensitivity to the sensations of the body. This helps you to get deeply absorbed into your yoga practice, closing your eyes and honing your attention inward to the feeling in your body. This is one of the eight limbs of yoga, and a large part of the practice: focusing internally.
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER.
The word “yoga” itself means to bind or “yoke” together, to direct or concentrate one’s attention. Yoga is a science, a system intended to bind together one’s body, concentration, breath, and movement, to ultimately experience union or oneness with all that is. According to the famous book “Light on Yoga” by B.K.S. Iyengar, “This is the real meaning of Yoga - a deliverance from contact with pain and sorrow.”
SMOKE SOME WEED AND DO SOME YOGA. FOR YOUR HEALTH!
So! Go forth! Smoke weed and do some yoga in the name of health, and know that you are using a plant that came from the Earth just like you did, and hopefully you can begin to feel at peace within yourself and find balance. Yogis believe this was intended to be the regular state of being as a human: not to worry and stress our bodies as we scramble to survive, but to experience life, love, rapture, and bliss, and discover our true power as humans. Here is hoping you will feel inspired to discover for yourself how yoga and weed combined can help you transcend suffering and experience the beautiful and enjoyable life that is your birthright!
Napa Valley, California