The Zen of High Yoga

I am a firm believer in functional fitness and productive highs. There is a time for smoking and couch-surfing, and a time for smoking and making art, walking in the park, or, my personal favorite — doing yoga.

At this point, yoga has basically moved into the mainstream as “unwinding” time, typically for women. But the act of practicing yoga is so much more than a trend for relaxation. It’s a time to focus on your breathing and your body, expelling external concerns out of mind for the moment.

I don’t want to pretend that I am some master of yoga. I can’t do cool handstands or anything like that. But anyone can do yoga, and everyone who does is taking a great step to connect with his or her body.

For me, it prevents paranoia during stressful times and reminds me that everything is more pleasant when I am calm. It’s also a great way to connect with others.

My experience in yoga is generally limited to simple practices at home and a few classes at a local yoga studio. I go through the basic poses – some downward dog, warrior, pigeon, cat, cow, child, chair, etc. I learned a basic vinyasa flow at my local studio. But the most valuable thing that I learned there was mental flexibility.

Instructors remind everyone in the beginning of the class to focus on their breathing. Make sure to inhale and exhale slowly and continuously throughout the entire process. Never perform a pose that restricts your breathing or causes you pain. Focus on wherever you feel tension, and feel free to break away from instruction if you feel like your body would be better served by doing something else.

The more yoga you do, the easier this gets. And once you know some poses, you may feel more comfortable constructing your own yoga session. But your enjoyment is of utmost importance. Be selfish in the moment. Channel your mind and your high into the needs of your body. Then, you’re ready to begin a meaningful practice.

So, for my first time doing high yoga a few days ago, I gathered some friends, we collected some bud, and set up yoga mats on my patio. A mat isn’t even essential – yoga works well in the grass, too.

We rolled a blunt and got a video set up. This one, to be exact. An instructor speaking slowly guides you on a journey of yoga poses and breathing. It seems very silly while high. It’s simple, essentially glorified stretching. But for newbies and those who are particularly stoned, it is perfect. Anyone looking for a challenge will find no shortage of advanced yoga videos on YouTube, either.

So we lit up and began our stretchy journey to inner peace. It was pretty giggly. And unlike yoga during a class, we kept up a lively conversation about our feelings and these challenges. I couldn’t figure out whether to mirror the actions of the yogi onscreen or to do everything with the same side of my body she was using. Consequently, I probably repeated some poses on the same side several times. Oh well.

The act of contorting my body in strange ways was very liberating. It’s true that we hold tension in places where our muscles are rarely stretched. For me, that means my hips, back, and shoulders. Focus on what feels good, and pay attention to the sensations each pose gives you. They will probably change with more practice. Like anything else, it all gets easier over time. And having friends there with you might encourage practice and make the experience a bit less serious and more lighthearted, which I sure appreciated stoned.

My friends and I were able to get together, relax, and challenge ourselves all at the same time. I found that I was much more flexible than I normally was, and that the slight pain I typically felt when stretching was replaced by something I would describe as the knowledge of tension. I was able to do more than I normally could because cannabis made me process the sensations differently.

Beware: this may lead to overstretching. Make sure that you do not go far beyond what you are normally capable of. You may feel superhuman, but when you come down from your high, you may be very sore or have injured yourself slightly.

When it was all over, I felt incredibly calm. My friends agreed. We plan to have a weekly yoga session where we can once again bring together our bodies and our bud and enjoy an hour or so together. Because ultimately, your body is the most important thing. And by smoking and doing yoga, you are allowing yourself chill time that will leave you feeling refreshed and satisfied. So namaste, as they say. And join me in breaking that lazy stoner stereotype, one high at a time.

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