The astonishing rise of obesity, cancer, diabetes, and mental illnesses have led to the much-needed emphasis on maintaining physical and mental wellness over appearance. While obtaining a more athletic physique is still a primary goal for those seeking a yoga program, that aspiration is a byproduct of the homeostasis those in the wellness movement pursue.

Cannabis strains for yogaThe increasing popularity of yoga exemplifies this attitude shift. Yoga, a practice known for its integration of mind, body, and breath to draw focus inward, is more than just a fitness program; it is a lifestyle that aims to improve physical and mental wholeness. The Yoga Sutra, a compilation of 195 statements written by the Indian sage Patanjali, guides the practice and defines its eight limbs: the yamas, niyamas, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyani, and samadhi. Of these eight, only one involves postures (asana), and even the asana’s goal is to give its practitioner the physical strength needed to meditate for long periods of time.

An Ancient Relationship: Yoga and Cannabis

Cannabis is known for its psychotropic effects. In addition to euphoria, cannabis users experience a surge of creative energy, meditativeness, and peace.

It’s no surprise, then, that cannabis has been paired with meditation and yoga

Like yoga, cannabis provides more than the attributes it’s most known for. Some might begin yoga with the hope of strengthening their bodies but find that they have also strengthened their minds. In the same way, some might incorporate cannabis into their lifestyles because it seems like a fun recreational outlet but find themselves experiencing less anxiety and physical pain as a result of that inclusion. The chemical compounds comprising the plant interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system in a way that promotes homeostasis. Exercise produces similar results. In addition to the general feelings of happiness exercise brings because of the released endorphins, yoga specifically facilitates movement to the circulatory and nervous systems in a way that improves sleep, relieves stress, and promotes overall health.

10 Strains for Meditation and Yoga

The following strains may be a good place to start if you are considering incorporating cannabis into your yoga practice.

ACDC—Unlike most strains on the market, this strain has very little THC but an unusually high amount of CBD.  CBD is the cannabinoid attributed with the lion’s share of cannabis’ medicinal qualities. ACDC increases focus while providing users with a sense of euphoric peace.

Blue Dream—This hybrid is physically relaxing but mentally stimulating, making it ideal for meditation and winding down.  If you’re worried that you’re prone to anxiety and paranoia, this may be a good option for you.

Girl Scout Cookies—This indica dominant strain soothes the body and improves the mood. A euphoric and relaxing high may be enhanced when paired with yoga. At the same time, if the body high is too intense, it might be difficult to sustain a physical posture.

Grand Daddy Purple—A deeply loved indica, this beautiful purple provides a powerful but deeply relaxing high. It may be too potent for the novice smoker, but some users state that, despite its power, granddaddy purple didn’t leave them couch locked but social and at ease.

Hindu Kush—This 100% indica is a landrace strain known for its intense body high and sedating effect. Some users report an increased ability to focus… that is until they pass out.

If you’re practicing yoga right before bed, this may be the strain to pair it with

Jack the Ripper—The strain’s name is kind of terrifying, but don’t let that stop you from consuming it before your yoga exercise. The sativa has a very mild body high but offers an energizing sense of euphoria, making it ideal before any exercise.

Lamb’s Bread—Reportedly Bob Marley’s favorite strain, this sativa is known for providing a high that enhances mindfulness without slowing the body down. It’s cerebral high and anxiety relieving qualities make it a favorite among yogis.

Laughing Buddha—As its name suggests, this 100% sativa is known for giving consumers a giddy high accompanied by an increased ability to focus. It’s also a good choice for anyonstrains for yoga, cannabis strains for yogae prone to anxiety or panic attacks, making it a good choice for a novice.

Lavender—A classic indica, this strain is relaxing and great for meditation. Its introspective effect helps users bring their attention inward, an excellent way to enhance a yoga session. Lavender is also known as a sleep aid, so it may be too much of a sedative for beginning users or a good option if you’re exercising before bed.

Northern Lights—A beloved indica, this strain offers a powerful high that can lead to couchlock or a deep sense of relaxation and peace.

Is It Right for You?

Before starting any physical program, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider. Yoga is physically demanding, so even if you get the okay from your physician, it’s probably not the best idea to start with the most advanced positions. To protect yourself from injury, ease into it and listen to your body.

Incorporating cannabis into an exercise routine can have wonderful results, but everyone reacts to cannabis differently

Anxiety and paranoia are possible side effects of cannabis consumption, so keep that in mind as you choose when, where, and how you want to incorporate it into your yoga practice. Additionally, while one person might feel relaxed and lethargic after consuming a certain strain, another person might feel energized after consuming the same strain. Experiment and be open to the possibility of results that are totally different from what’s described here. The most important thing is that you find the best combination to bring you the wellness you’re pursuing.

If you’re not particularly athletic, you might be worried that yoga isn’t for you. However, you don’t have to be physically fit or even flexible to do yoga. Yoga will help you achieve those goals. So if you’re self-conscious about your physical ability, don’t let that stop you. Smoke a joint, relax, and give it a try.

Dianna Benjamin

About the author: Dianna Benjamin is a freelance writer, teacher, wife, and mom horrified and fascinated by social justice and our inability--yet constant pursuit--to get it right.