Yoga Poses and Cannabis for a Grateful Heart

As the holidays get closer, here’s a reminder to be grateful everyday.

The holiday season isn’t always full of joy. This weird combination of shortened days, seasonal depression, and family feasts can bring a special kind of stress with it. Assuming you get along with your family and can take the days off of work to celebrate, there are meals to prep, incoming and outgoing flights to accommodate, money to save, and gifts to buy.

What can curb this stress is remembering what the holiday season is supposed to be about, gratitude, and plant that seed into your daily life so you never have to pour from an empty cup later.

Cannabis lends her guiding hand in cultivating gratitude with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (also known as THC) that provides the happy disposition and wonderful sense of well-being linked to a good high. Cannabis is also responsible for increasing the amount of dopamine in our body which is linked to our sense of motivation, sexual gratification, and a lot more.

THC is the magic component to cannabis and shares a lot of properties to the anandamide. Anandamide is a naturally occurring version of THC that can produce a heightened sense of joy and happiness, and has been coined as the “bliss molecule." The term, anandamide, comes from the Sanskrit word “ananda," which means "joy" or "bliss."Anandamide is released whenever we practice yoga, making cannabis-infused yoga an amazing combination — it’s no wonder yogis have been practicing this way for thousands of years.

 
 

Plant Power + Poses to Explore

These strains and poses will energize your body, bring mental clarity, and set the perfect foundation to see all of the things you can be thankful for.

Tree Pose / Vrkasana

Stand with your toes spread and feet rooting into the ground. Engage your legs by drawing in muscularly from the feet up into your pelvis. Keeping your right leg engaged, inhale and bring your left foot to the inside of your right leg. Rest the sole of your foot on your right ankle, calf, or thigh. Press your hands into each other and lift your heart into your thumbs. Focus on a point just in front of you. Breathe. Once stable, grow your branches by lengthening through the sides of your waist, reach your hands to the sky as if you’re holding the sun.

This shape can be done against a wall for extra support. Balancing is a challenge, even more so when you’re high, so be kind to yourself, let go of expectations, be grateful for what your body can do right now, and find your sense of internal balance. Once you feel balanced, let your gaze rest on whatever is ahead of you and be thankful for whatever you see.

 

Pair this pose with Dutch Treat (hybrid)

Dutch Treat has a scent that’s a mix of sweet fruits and earthy eucalyptus, setting roots for an introspective tree pose. The onset is fast and cerebral and gives a high that is uplifting, euphoric, builds focus and calms the mind.

 

Standing Straddle Forward Bend / Prasarita Padottanasana

Start in a wide-legged stance by stepping your feet out and parallel to each other (if you reach your arms out to the sides your wrists should be over your ankles). Interlace your fingers behind your back and bend forward. Reach your arms up to the sky as much as your range of motion will allow (if your shoulders feel tight, hold onto a strap/belt). As you bend you should feel a juicy stretch up the back of your thighs. Let your weight balance evenly through your toes and heels. Release the tension in your neck. To come out, inhale and return to standing s-u-p-e-r s-l-o-w.

Standing straddle bend is challenging, builds focus and clarity, provides a perspective shift by lowering our head beneath our heart, and draws our awareness inward which is usually a very humbling experience. See this pose as an opportunity to curate thankfulness for something unlikely — finding the teacher in something you once considered an enemy or obstruction.

Modify this shape by placing yoga blocks/a stack of books directly under your shoulders and rest your hands on them. Find what feels good for you!

 

Pair this pose with Lamb’s Bread (sativa)

This yummy sativa strain uplifts mood, is energizing, and creates space for positive introspection — a necessary day time strain for me. Stress subsides quickly from the Lamb's Bread buzz, which can help ease tension and makes it the perfect strain for a morning gratitude practice.

 
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Supported Fish Pose

This shape is soooo comfortable and super restorative. You’ll need a bolster or a few pillows as support. To set up, bring your bolster or pillow behind you and lay it down vertically. Recline onto your prop, this should feel like a gentle backbend with no tension in your lower back. Let the backs of your hands rest on the floor and voila you’re in the shape! You can stay here for up to twenty minutes, so pull up an ashtray and joint if you have time and feel extra restorative.

For extra constructive relaxation, elevate your legs on more pillows and cover yourself with a blanket. Let go of effort, focus on your breath, and be thankful for each inhale and exhale that work to sustain your body and life.

Pair this pose with Mr. Nice (indica)

Any supported shape pairs well with a body melting indica strain. Mr Nice is the perfect, sweet smelling flower for night time gratitude and reflection. This strain provides a strong, mellow high, and curbs anxiety.