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Strange Bedfellows: Yoga, Marijuana and Relaxation Trends in America

A new yoga class in San Francisco is attempting to take relaxation to a whole new level. Instead of coming up with new stretches or breathing techniques, instructors encourage students to smoke pot before coming in for a yoga class.

I Should do What Before Yoga Class?

You have a wealth of alternative therapies to choose from, but Ganja Yoga classes actually encourage the use of marijuana. These classes are being offered by 34-year-old Dee Dussault and are available to both legal and non-legal pot users. Yoga students with a medical marijuana card start each class with a 15-minute smoking session, while those without a card are encouraged to light up before class.

Dussault said the “enhanced” classes 75-minute classes cost $15 and are “opportunities for you to enjoy trippy relaxation, pain-relief, sensuality, and the cultivation of inner peace” during the sessions.

“A lot of students are consuming it before yoga anyway,’ she told ABC News. So a big benefit that I am hearing is the community aspect. The first thing they want to do after consuming cannabis is lay down and stretch. And, depending upon the dosage and strain, it really encourages people to relax.”

Is Weed Yoga the New Trend?

Dussault previously taught Ganga Yoga classes in Toronto back in 2009, but only recently launched them in San Francisco. Her one pot-filled class is already consistently sold out, so she’s looking at adding more times. But while many people view the class as a novelty capitalizing on the growing push for legal marijuana use, she insists that combining pot with yoga has ancient roots.

“Historically, cannabis has been linked to really early use with yoga in ancient Shiva cults,” she said. “Back then, they weren’t smoking it, but drinking it in a milk beverage and burning it as an incense.”

The Truth About Pot and Exercise

Despite the hype, medical experts have raised concerns about combining marijuana with physical activity.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that pot use raises your heart rate by 20 to 100 percent and that effect can last up to three hours, making it dangerous to exercise while high. But Dussault addresses the concern on her website, writing that “we do not do any postures that are not suited to altered states of conscious. It’s very sweet and very, very safe.”

Although Dussault is being heralded as a pot pioneer in the yoga community, California has had marijuana-themed yoga classes for years. In fact, Liz McDonald has been teaching 4:20 Yoga at Los Angeles studio Atwater Yoga since 2010.


Learn more about the potentially dangerous side effects of marijuana.