BY: REGAN MCNEILL
Photos © Eric Zdancewicz / The Plaid Zebra
Ganja yoga. You may have heard of it before or you may be wondering what the heck I am talking about. It’s pretty simple to understand, it is a yoga class where you get high as a kite on your fellow classmates’ weed.
For those of you who have never smoked weed before, I would not recommend you to take this class because you will probably trip out and the last thing on your mind would be mastering the perfect downward dog. Also if you have never done yoga before, do not attend ganja yoga because it could be confusing and you may hurt yourself.
Or as it was in my case, your teacher may also be noticeably high and giving very vague instructions as to how to get into each pose. I swear you can actually get hurt in yoga if you don’t be careful and it’s important for every teacher to be conscious of this. I had a feeling my instructor Antuanette (who was teaching her last class in the studio) was too high to care.
If you’re like me and appreciate both ganja and yoga, then you are apt to like ganja yoga. It’s a no brainer, or so I thought.
I was intrigued by the concept of ganja yoga mostly because I did not know it was legal and why I had never heard of such a glorious thing before. I attended a class at The House of Yoga in Toronto’s Koreatown. As far as I know, it is the only yoga studio of its kind in the city. Once I checked out the studio’s Facebook page and watched a little YouTube video the owner made, it became clear to me that marijuana was never directly referred to and instead the advertisements stuck to more slang vocab like “ganga” and “herb.”
We started our practice with the sativa which was followed by a basic but invigorating yoga class.
When I got to the studio, I realized it was not just a studio. Instead it was a large but clean and intricately painted room tucked away at the back of a cannabis head shop. The only thing separating the two places was this flimsy little door, and it was not soundproof.
The typical stoner dude running the shop led me to the cold, dark room and told me the teacher would be there soon. When I asked him if we would be smoking weed in this class, he explained that we would be using a Volcano Vaporizer to consume the cannabis. Maybe the fact that we are not actually smoking or selling weed makes the class legal on the same premise that Toronto’s weed lounges are legal.
I entered and set up my mat. I felt awkward because the only other person there was this raspy-voiced lady who set up her mat directly behind me. We lay there in silence together for about twenty-five minutes… it wasn’t relaxing.
Antuanette was fifteen minutes late and when she arrived with our third and final classmate, a peppy hipster guy in basketball shorts, the two were in a deep discussion about how appearances on Tinder can be deceiving. I ended up liking this dude a lot however because he put a lot of good weed in the class collection and barely vaped any of it.
At ganja yoga there are two bowls for you to put your weed in: one for sativas (energizing weed) and the other for indicas (knock you on your butt weed). The teacher is not allowed to touch or handle your weed until it has reached the bowls. We started our practice with the sativa which was followed by a basic but invigorating yoga class.
It wasn’t long before the lady with the raspy voice whipped out an aluminum pipe and started smoking hash. I don’t think what she did was technically legal but it was not discouraged by any of us. I decided to follow in her footsteps and proceeded to get really, really high.
After our round of yoga, we went on to vape the indica before a final half-hour of meditation.
After our round of yoga, we went on to vape the indica before a final half-hour of meditation. This is when things got really interesting because it was not followed by any physical activity that would wear off my high. It was like there was too much weed for everyone. As Antuanette passed around huge balloons of THC vapour, the raspy-voiced lady and the hipster guy kept turning it down so I was was left with very generous amounts of vapour to inhale. I wasn’t complaining.
Meditation is a hard thing to do. Sometimes it works for me, sometimes it doesn’t. During this time I found it hard to focus on nothing because I was so goddamn stoned. Instead all I could concentrate on were the voices of the people coming in and out of the shop.
Sometimes weed can be really helpful in calming your mind but other times it can have the opposite effect. I realized at ganja yoga that weed can be great in aiding your practice; however, it is all dependent on the environment you do it in.
Sharing the love of cannabis and yoga is definitely fun to do with other people but I now know that it can be equally as fun at home, alone in my room with a bong nearby and less things to distract me.
These things should not deter you from ganja yoga because I think my mellow was slightly harshened by Antuanette’s clear lack of experience. I will be back at ganja yoga again sometime soon.
And if you have not tried either vaping marijuana or practicing yoga at all, I still encourage you to try them both because they have been known to make you feel calm, refreshed and super groovy, man.