Why I Added Cannabis to my Healing Practice
In my yoga teacher training many years ago, they explicitly taught us that adding any "substance" to our practice was a "violation" of the tradition.
I could understand how yoga while drinking wine could be counterproductive but, I did wonder to myself, if I believed this to be true of cannabis.
Given cannabis's long and controversial history of prohibition, perhaps the gurus were misinformed by some stigma? After all, cannabis consumption during spiritual practice in more ancient India went hand in hand.
I also understood the intention to keep the experience of yoga pure. The point of learning yoga is to learn a practice that can systematically bring you into union with divine consciousness so I guess, bypassing that system of postures and techniques defeats the purpose? Certainly thousands of years ago when the seers and gurus practiced yoga they were in a different time and place. Perhaps sitting in meditation was a lot easier in the mountain ashrams than it is nowadays in our modern western culture?
So many years later and after much of my own practice, it is for sure- I do not agree with tradition here. Working with cannabis in my practice has accelerated my healing and for that I am so grateful.
Here is why:
Reason One: Awareness
The first aha moment I ever had with cannabis when I started to see it as a healing ally and less of a recreational tool was that whenever I smoked, I could not deny the present moment and my body. Whatever pain or bodily needs I have in that moment, they start to get louder. Maybe that sounds awful and I guess it is tough, but it is an essential step in the healing process. We way too easily push through our pain and fatigue. If I smoke and a sense of "shutting down" arrives, I go get in my bed to check in. I ask myself what is going on and what do I need. If tension in my shoulders arrives, I get on my mat and move to release it. We don't do that enough so anything that helps...is good practice.
Reason Two: Depth
When I work with cannabis in my practice I can actually feel the concepts I have been studying. I get firsthand experience with my chakra system, my vata imbalance, the earth element, and my ruminating mind. When I move my body, it is not just an exercise. I can feel the tension releasing and the space being created. I can visualize with so much more quality and clarity. I can imagine with much more abandon. I can sense and intuit much more keenly. I may desire to create something, get out in the garden, take a long walk and enjoy more than ever before, the richness of these experiences.
Reason Three: Growth
Cannabis helps us to drop the ego identity. Appearances we may have tried to keep, start to seem stupid honestly. Our desperate need to be productive at all costs becomes evident as we start to allow ourselves to chill a bit. We start to sense that we have many more choices than we are taught to believe and that at our core what is most important is love for self and freedom from culture's restraints. Old patterns of thought lose their grip and new pathways and ways of reasoning develop. There is a letting go of the old so there is space for all that you desire.
Reason Four: Connection
Maybe all of these things sound scary. I think most people actually avoid these situations at all costs their whole lives. Who wants to feel all of this? Who wants to go that deep? Who wants to examine their conditioning? People that are committed to healing are the courageous ones. To ease this experience I really think the spirit of cannabis as a Mother or Sister figure can be evoked. She can "sit" with us as we get in touch with our deepest pain, sorrow and fear and celebrate us as we bring more joy into our lives.
On Sunday, June 26th at my Cannabis Healing Event, we are going to "sit" with our bodies. We will unearth the hurt, fear, and sorrow our bodies hold and through ritual and technique learn to bring in more self-compassion. This new relationship with our body is the foundation for all of our healing. If you reject any part of your body, you are rejecting your first chakra and the empowerment energy that is meant to flow up through you.