Smoke and Stretch…yes, you read that correctly
I absolutely did just say smoke and stretch, but you can always Vape and Vinyasa as well. What was once such a stigma, now is medically recommended by physicians everywhere to treat pain, seizures, anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s, PTSD, Parkinson’s, MS and more. With each new moon, it brings increased awareness and acceptance on cannabis usage. But, this is nothing new. The Yoga Sutra says it’s a source of siddis or psychic powers. Sadhus, a holy man in India, are respected for their knowledge of marijuana (MJ), yoga and meditation. Whether its ingested, smoked, vaped and even nowadays they have suppositories, powders and more, you can use these mood shifting effects, pain relieving modalities to enhance your physical, mental and spiritual practice. Before explaining some KEY tips to add MJ to your stretching routine I must go over a couple of things:
*It’s not all rainbows and unicorns. I’m not going to lie to you and say its 100% safe. I’m also NOT a medical MJ physician, I AM A DOCTOR OF PHYSICAL THERAPY STATING MY OPINION AND EXPERIENCE. ALWAYS ASK YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER BEFORE STARTING ANY NEW MEDICATION OR EXERCISE ROUTINE. Anything that is set on fire and inhaled into your lungs is NOT what God intended for your body to do. Ingesting and topical use is the safest way to go. If you are going to inhale the flower vaping is your best choice and smoking is now accepted and mainstream, but still not the best way to go. I was one of the first patients in Florida to receive a medical MJ license due to severe Crohns disease and pain. I have tried almost every form of marijuana because let’s face it, anything is better than IV Dilaudid, Morphine, Oxycodone, Benadryl and Ambien. My top recommendations will be found in the next blog. But I do partake in both the smokable and vape form. And as a yogi, I MUST bring attention to a couple of key distinctions from being high and achieving samadhi. If you are on a true path, any form of mind-altering drugs, including marijuana, will increase or distort your current perception of reality, the MAYA. Our goal to enlightenment is to reach samadhi through withdrawing the senses, increasing your ability to focus at the same time. MJ can draw away your focus which is the opposite of the goal. However, I have found the positive in this, I promise this post is positive, read on…
Cannabis is beneficial to add to your current routine for many reasons: pain-relief, mind-altering powers, ant-inflammatory, anti-nausea and more. I could go on and on because of my extensive history. See my interview with WTSP CBS 10 News, The Patient behind the plant: A Tampa mother's story of survival. Thus, to the argument mentioned prior, that MJ can draw away your focus, yes it CAN but PAIN can draw away your focus even MORE. If your pain is at a level where you can’t quiet your mind then natural pain relief may be something to try. If you cannot relax your mind especially due to pain, you cannot relax your nerves and therefore your muscles. To release the mind is to release the body of muscle tension and increase your range of motion for the long haul. So, for me, adding MJ allows me to relax the mind, become one with my body to find grander possibilities strength wise and mobility of the mind-body-soul.
The pain-sedentary cycle is a terrible one that is way too rampant in America. Let's get off our butts and relieve this pain naturally. And g*d forbid, say if we cannot get off our butts one day, or even if you have had a single or double-amputation or terrible accident or birth condition, this means you too. I have worked with many clients who cannot stand or walk for a reason or another, but we breathe. Whatever body parts we do have, we respect by bringing mental awareness to these regions and relieve any tension through this connection of the mind and body. Remaining in-tune to the signals your body sends and learning how to adjust to what it needs is the improving your current routine whatever it may be. So, if breathing is what you can do breathe. Inhale-exhale-repeat. Take a puff here and there if you wish. You can partake before your practice, during or after. Or all 3. There is no specific rule other than respecting your body and keeping your senses drawn inward to be able to receive and adjust.
MJ helps you let the guard down. The mind holds on to injuries from the past, even once you are healed the memory will still keep you in a guarded state. This is how our bodies are made. Example: If a baseball player throws out his shoulder out by tearing his rotator cuff when pitching a ball, no matter how amazing the surgical repair or amount of rehabilitation this player receives, the player will still remember their injury. It’s human nature. Our body does not want to repeat the same mistake so it governs your body and limits the potential of your pitch or swing. Even though you are healed there is still a degree of not being able to let go so it results in reduced speed, agility, power and quickness of your movements. Essentially the body having this ability to remember and protect is a good thing so we prevent reinjuring ourselves. But if we can remove the pain, remove the guarding as well as promote an awareness, focus and a guided practice, imagine the new heights you can reach. Combine this with the Neubie and really bio-hack your physiology in ways couldn’t imagine.
So, how do you do this? When you inhale, draw your attention to your breath whether MJ is incorporated or not. Notice the mind chatter because it’s almost always there and unless you are a trained master, you have to actively shut off the to-do lists in your brain, the before and after of right now and let it all go. Bring intense focus to your breath while sitting or lying in a comfortable position. How do you bring this extreme focus you ask…well here goes:
Temperature: take turns breathing through your mouth and your nose. Notice how when you breathe through your mouth the air is cooler. Notice how the temperature of the air melts into the warmth of your internal body temperature. Find the points where these two temperatures become one.
Smell: Well, this one is self-explanatory. What do you smell? Smelling the air, smelling the herb, smelling anything else that comes to mind such as essential oils diffusing, etc.
Taste: Scan the wet or dryness around your mouth and tongue, what do you taste.
Depth: Are you breathing shallow or deep? Focus on the movement of your chest and belly by placing on hand on each region. Try to breathe to the deepest parts of your belly by inhaling to the point your belly presses into your lower hand.
Ease: Is it hard or easy to breathe.
Rate: Does the rate of your breathing affect your ease and depth…The answer is yes. When adding MJ to the routine it is best to slow the breath to prevent dizziness and hyperventilation. The natural rhythm is 12-20 breaths per minute so try to stay on the lower end of the spectrum.
Ratio of inhale to exhale: how much are you inhaling and even MORE IMPORTANTLY how much are you exhaling. Smoking can greatly reduce our ability to naturally exhale. This is why we really need to bring our attention to actively exhale all the air out of our lungs. No matter what there is always a residual volume or else your lungs would collapse but, try your best and make it an active process during your Smoke and Stretch routine.
There is so much to think about when it comes to your breath with guided practice is becomes easy to let your thoughts go. The goal is to train yourself to be able to do this without any external guidance, so pay attention… (Smoke and stretch class coming soon in your community!!! Online classes are currently available!!!) Your muscles slightly tighten with your inhale sending messages to your brain and you perceive these messages as relaxed, tight, painful or fill in the blank. After you receive, you adjust. Just like if you put your hand on a stove and feel the heat, you withdraw your hand (heat=signal received, withdraw of hand=the adjustment). When we receive the messages during stretching, we make micro adjustments to back off the stretch or go a little further. Then you may focus on the areas that calls your name the loudest go first. The keys to adding MJ to your stretching routine is to let your breath guide the way. Stop trying to contort yourself into these forced positions. Set yourself up in a good aligned position and sustain for 3-5 minutes. Just breathe and/or smoke. With each exhale reach a little further, let the breath soften the muscles and the THC relieves the mind or the CBD allow the body to stretch pain free. Take away your limits and create a wonderland of possibilities each time you step onto your mat or into your exercise room. Your muscles should soften and adapt over time. This is the length-tension relationship which relaxes overtime when the right neural reactions occur. Force can tear muscle but your gentle breath and exhale are the way to truly release the muscle. The muscles are all controlled by nerves. SO you can relax the nerves through MJ and your breath you relax the muscles. You can even reduce spasticity and rigidity which is exactly why dating back to Ayurvedic times and now legal in Florida, treating Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, as well as other seizure disorders.
I praise the days I do not need MJ and the days I do, well, I AM NOT ASHAMED. Moms everywhere can post selfies drinking wine with their girlfriends during happy hour, why can’t I post of picture of me and my Momma Jane's passing the peace pipe??? Why so much judgment. Let’s take away these stigmas. I pray that any person in any state or country has the freedom to partake if its what their body needs. Just like in yoga, when you unite your body and mind through your breath, imagine uniting it through your cannabis breath! Not only do you receive the benefits of yoga but also the miracle plant. Whether remaining in an easy sitting pose or adding movement, cannabis can truly enhance your practice and abilities. We are now teaming up with a local medical marijuana pharmacy to bring smoke and stretch and Vape and Vinyasa to your community near you. On top of local events, we will have an online community and offer memberships to smoke and stretch with guided meditations, live classes, and product features.
We are not getting high; we are getting healthy!!! Namaste.