Cannabis Highs and Yoga Highs

The Yoga Way to Get Blazed

“The mind is the king of the body, but the breath is the king of the mind” ~ BKS Iyengar

As we near the legalisation of cannabis, I have come to realise that we are a nation of people who respect order; most of us invite peace, and many of us want to soothe and self-soothe. The evolution of cannabis, and the knowledge behind the chemicals, is vast, proving a great benefit to those in physical and mental unrest and pain. However, I have to ask myself, ‘Are we suppressing our realities, or enhancing our experiences with a cannabis mask?’ Getting high isn’t a new experience. Humans, worldwide, have been using psychoactive substances, such as opium, alcohol, and magic mushrooms, since prehistory. However, since these days, authorities have endeavoured to outlaw some of these substances, though the work of many a cannabis advocate means that the substance is not rapidly edging towards full legalization.

I am quite captivated (and mildly concerned) by the use of cannabis as a therapeutic treatment for anxiety, inflammation, and chronic pain, among other conditions. Intrigued, because I believe you can also achieve this freedom from pain and empowerment through regular yoga practise. That’s not to say that those desiring a little escape from their reality should break into their sun salutations.

Sun salutations are stress-relieving and strengthening

Although, for those seeking refuge from the pain that inflammation causes to their bodies, or from mind games that escalate and impede their decision-making skills, yoga is an alternative that can offer the body a buzz, while opening the mind to new heights.

I believe you can also achieve this freedom from pain and empowerment through regular yoga practise. That’s not to say that those desiring a little escape from their reality should break into their sun salutations.

The world is filled with threats, demands and political unrest. Due to the number of these perceived risks, most people spend the majority of their day in ‘fight or flight’ mode (otherwise known as the sympathetic nervous system). However, we have the ability to access the ‘rest and digest’ mode naturally, simply, and immediately. We depend on this rest and digest system to bring us back to a balanced state. This system is like internal medicinal marijuana, and when we inhale, the parasympathetic nervous system tells our bodies to relax, release stress, and take a much-needed break.

Controlled breathing exercises have therapeutic qualities

When we practise yoga, particularly savasana, breath control, or any meditative poses, we naturally trigger the parasympathetic nervous system. Does this mean we can experience a high from practicing yoga? In fact, yes! Triggering the parasympathetic nervous system is achievable through a variety of practices. Basically, what helps you breathe deeper will also help prompt the nervous system to rest and digest, so you can feel lighter and calmer. Yoga is a prescription for exactly that.

Does this mean we can experience a high from practicing yoga? In fact, yes! Triggering the parasympathetic nervous system is achievable through a variety of practices.

When practised regularly, we retrain our brains to manage stress through stillness. Combined with long holds, in positions that challenge the body and mind, we assist the brain’s shift into an altered state of calm. The inhalation of breath aids with transmitting messages from the brain to the parasympathetic nervous system. But it’s the culmination of all these effects that can make us feel free within our own minds, relieved in our own bodies, calmed in times of pain and discomfort, and even ‘high.’ Though I’m not discouraging nor condemning the use of cannabis for relief or recreation, I can assure you that the same effects can be achieved with a little yoga and a lot more conscious breath. Namaste

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