About a year after cannabis entered my life, yoga came onto the scene, first as a way to heal a spinal injury and then as a warm-up for cheerleading practice back in high school. This is when I first experienced the amazing physical benefits of the practice. Then in college, I had to do a lot of searching to find a yoga class, kripalu-based, which I finally found via a flier at a cafe. It was outside the university ecosystem in the basement of a lovely 60-something year-old woman's home along with a group of other 60 to 70-somethings...I was by far the youngest student.
It wasn't until my senior year that I began consuming cannabis intentionally, away from the social realm. I realized this plant was a teacher, a guide, something I felt called to pay attention to. Shortly thereafter, as I began my professional career, I found myself with nothing in my life to hold me accountable to keep my body limber (from 8 yrs to 21, I was always either on a cheerleading or dance team). It was then I made a pact with myself to ensure I'd do the needful to always be able to do wheel pose, even when I became an old lady, since I knew I'd be only as young as my spine was flexible...a saying I came to learn years later.
Up until this point, I thought yoga was purely a physical practice. The only ways it had been presented were through poses and breathing. I had no idea there were any spiritual aspects, or anything else for that matter.
Enter the school of cannabis I didn't realize I enrolled in. I started waking up at 5am to enter into wake n' bake-style stretch sessions that concluded with vision work and journaling. I created my own little routine that addressed all layers of my being so that when it came time to leave for work, I felt holistically nourished and able to anchor into a vibe that was unfuckwithable.
I loved how present I was able to be with my breath and body while high. I could feel all the nooks and crannies and realized very quickly that with each breath, I could follow the subtle sensations my body was giving me which would then lead me into a new shape. And if I engaged in subtle ways in certain areas while slowly breathing, I could open pathways of energy to flow that were constricted in some way. I didn't know this is what was happening, all I knew was that the places that felt not so bueno began feeling bueno after doing this, so I knew it was a good thing.
I didn't think of it as yoga though, I just thought of it as stretching. Of course I knew a bunch of poses from high school and college, but that number was quite limited and I thought they were only to stretch and create strength.
I'll stop sharing about this here and fast-forward roughly four years to my first yoga teacher training. The postures we learned as well as the primary yogic breath, ujjayi pranayam, were some of the things I learned through my wake n' bake sessions. The plant literally guided me to bring these out of myself. During training I felt so tickled inside...I already knew these things! And I knew them intimately, I now just had beautiful sanskrit names to label them with.
Part Two coming soon...