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Here at Break the Stigma Fitness, we are passionate about the power of cannabis to enhance most forms of fitness. However, few exercises go so perfectly with cannabis as yoga, something that an increasing number of people are discovering.
Interestingly, both yoga and cannabis have seen huge rises in popularity with seniors in the past few years. However, the combination of the two is something that many older adults have yet to explore. In this article, we will go over the benefits that yoga and cannabis can have on a senior lifestyle, especially when combined, as well as how to get started in your practice.
Seniors and Yoga
Yoga is an incredible exercise for seniors. The benefits stack up: it develops muscles, balance, and flexibility while also strengthening bones, lowering blood pressure, and improving breathing. It is also a wonderful tool for mental health, lowering anxiety and depression and fostering a sense of mindfulness through meditation — which is also in itself great for seniors. When practiced safely, there is little risk of injury and it is an effective way to improve physical fitness.
Seniors and Cannabis
According to NPR, the number of seniors consuming cannabis more than doubled between 2013 and 2016, and it continues to rise. As various states continue to legalize both recreational and medical marijuana, older adults are discovering the health benefits that cannabis delivers.
Cannabis has been used to treat seniors with illnesses such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, and glaucoma, but it is also incredibly useful for managing pain and improving sleep. It is safer than many prescription medications and often cheaper as well.
Yoga and Cannabis
There is an age-old connection between yoga and cannabis. Both are used as part of Hindu rituals, with ancient yogis being known to use bhang (an edible form of cannabis, usually mixed into a drink) during their practice. Ever since yoga made it to the West, it has run in the same circles as marijuana consumption, meaning there is a long history of people combining the two.
On a practical level, this makes sense. Since they both relax the mind and body, they complement each other very well. Cannabis can help you enter a state of focus and relaxation while practicing yoga, while yoga can intensify the mood-enhancing effects of cannabis.
However, there is a spiritual connection as well. The pineal gland, a part of the brain often called the “third eye” (the sixth chakra in yoga, associated with intuition), is also closely linked to your endocannabinoid system. This has led some people to speculate that the consumption of cannabis can help people open their third eyes.
If you want to learn more about chakras, check out this guide by Yoga Journal.
How to Get Started
The easiest way to get started with yoga is to do it at home. That way, you can ease yourself into it without worrying about “not keeping up.” It can be difficult to commit to practicing at home, but one thing that really helps is clearing out a dedicated space for it.
Move furniture and any clutter away from your yoga space, and consider putting these into storage if you don’t use them regularly. The average cost of a 10’x10’ storage unit in Green Bay is $60 per month, and it can help you create a relaxing, safe space for your practice.
Once you have the space, use online videos to guide you. There are hundreds of beginner videos available, and many designed specifically for seniors. If you’d rather follow a DVD, you can pick up Yoga for Seniors at Amazon for $14.95. It’s also a good idea to pick up a yoga mat as well, which you can find at places like Walmart for under $10.
Also, it’s a good idea to do your first few sessions without cannabis. When you are ready, use online reviews to find a trusted dispensary — staff should be able to help you choose a strain for your yoga practice — and start combining the two.
The potential of cannabis yoga for senior well-being is huge. The fact that older adults are becoming more interested in both practices is already extremely exciting. However, the opportunity to leverage them both at the same time could make a world of difference to people with chronic pain, illness, or anxiety.