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. I recall being in the lobby and having an epiphany - this is the path I've been looking for, the path to the state cannabis dials me into but without needing the physical plant to reach it.
Cannabis revealed that the state of yoga is already within me, that I just need to align with it and integrate it through all aspects of my life and being. It nudged my awareness in the direction of the proper purview to see how this is so.
Part Two coming soon...