Although it has been widely practiced for millennia, the practice of yoga is seeing a recent spike in popularity in the Western world. Along with its spiritual benefits, yoga has also been shown to have numerous physical and psychological benefits, including physical therapy for injuries and cultivating a meditative mindset. Much evidence has come out showing that the practice of yoga confers these physical and mental benefits by regulating the activity of the body’s hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal gland system and the sympathetic nervous system.
An even more recent discovery is the benefit that CBD and other cannabinoid compounds can have on the practice of yoga. Yoga and the cannabis plant share a long and interconnected history. In ancient India, the birthplace of yoga, the cannabis plant enjoyed a somewhat sacred status and has been part of the culture for millennia. When combined, CBD and yoga have a reciprocal effect and amplify each other’s benefits. CBD dosing can make yoga practice more effective and yoga can cultivate a mindset that ultimately makes CBD therapeutic properties more potent. Read on for our guide on how to get the most out of your yoga practice by integrating the benefits of CBD.
How CBD Can Benefit Yoga Practice
An integral part of yoga is maintaining a strong emotional and mental “center” through breathing exercises, postures, and meditation. In other words, yoga is primarily concerned with the union of the mind and the body. This practice helps promote mindfulness and relaxation while significantly reducing bodily levels of cortisol, the stress molecule.
CBD is an effective companion to yoga practice on account of its dampening effects on the human nervous system. CBD has been shown to provide pain relief by lessening the inflammatory action of the body’s immune system and by blocking pain conduction along with the peripheral and central nervous system. When combined, the therapeutic effects of both yoga and CBD are amplified and feed into each other. How, you ask? Let’s look at a few ways CBD can help make your yoga practice more enjoyable and effective.
Part of yoga, and meditative practices more generally, is to cultivate a certain state of qualitative awareness. Achieving this state requires having a mind that is at ease. Unfortunately, the stresses of everyday life can worm their way into your yoga practice and make it harder to achieve this calm mental state. Studies show that CBD can have a strong anxiolytic effect which can lessen levels of anxiety. Taking a few drops of CBD before yoga can clear your mind and make it easier to cultivate the clarity of mind yoga requires.
Reduce pain and discomfort
Several studies have shown that CBD also has health benefits for managing both nociceptive and neuropathic pain. CBD reduces inflammation by interacting with T-cells in the body’s immune system and stymie the conduction of pain signals along the boy’s nervous system. CBD can reduce the amount of pain and discomfort you feel, making it easier to strike and hold the postures and poses of yoga. Yoga itself is an effective form of physical rehab, so the combination of CBD and yoga has a reciprocal effect. CBD lessens the pain so it is easier to do yoga, which is itself an effective way of managing injuries and pain. The combination of the two ultimately results in more effective long-term pain management and reduction.
Many people who take CBD (or medical marijuana, which includes the THC compound) report that it helps them maintain attention and focus. Yoga requires a particular kind of attention, one that CBD can help cultivate. Smaller doses of CBD are reported to have a similar stimulant effect as caffeine, without the anxiety and jitters that copious caffeine consumption can cause. Even better, unlike caffeine, CBD has not been shown to create physiological dependencies so there is less risk of a “CBD-crash” after your dose wears off. Many users report that one or two drops of CBD are as effective as a cup of coffee at stimulating awareness.
Better Mental Space
One of the primary tenets of yoga is the importance it places on the connection between the mind and body. Ancient yoga practitioners understood that, far from being separate independent entities, the mind and the body share an intimate connection; the mind is an extension of the body and the body is a corporealization of the mind. CBD has been shown to have positive physical and mental effects which can further the positive physical and mental benefits of yoga. Decreasing levels of stress and anxiety help one better grasp this connection between the mind and body, and CBD and yoga can build off each other to that effect.
How to Take CBD for Yoga
Contrary to popular conceptions, CBD does not have to be smoked or vaped to be ingested. Various CBD tinctures, lotions, and edible products (like CBD gummies) exist, which are all healthier alternatives to smoking and vaping. So which one is right for you?
As a general rule of thumb, tinctures are the fastest acting. It takes about 15 minutes to notice the onset of effects after ingesting CBD tincture. Edibles and soft gels take longer to ingest (about 45 minutes) and tend to have more potent effects. Lastly, salves and lotions can be topically applied to parts of the body and make a great addition to any warm-up or cool-down routines.
If you are new to CBD and yoga, it is recommended to start with 10-15mg doses and increase the dosage as you get more comfortable and familiar with the substance.
It is important to realize that CBD is not a “cure” for any physical or mental issues (neither is yoga, incidentally). However, CBD can be an effective supplement to manage physical and mental conditions, like to manage an anxiety disorder, chronic pain, or to reduce inflammation. Regular dosing of cannabidiol can increase the beneficial effects of yoga and make the practice more effective. Remember that consistency is key! It may take a bit for you to notice the beneficial effects of CBD, but once you get used to it, you will wonder how you ever managed without!