If you’ve taken a yoga class you’ve probably heard an instructor talk about mindfulness. They may have set mindfulness as a communal intention for the class, or even read a quote to drive the theme home, but what does mindfulness really mean? To be mindful simply means to be aware; to calmly acknowledge and accept your whole self (thoughts, feelings, your body and it’s sensations) in the present moment.
Practicing mindfulness doesn’t come easily, but we tune in to it often through yoga, pranayama practice (conscious breathing) and seated meditation. Certain strains of cannabis, particularly strong indicas and hybrids, recreate the effects meditation has on the brain as they both promote euphoria, relaxation, pain tolerance, self awareness, empathy, and generally enhance our perception of an experience, while decreasing depression, stress, and anxiety – all of which aid in taking the trip* to a mindful state.
The biggest benefit here is that cannabis increases self awareness – the entire idea behind mindfulness. If you’ve ever been in a yoga class unable to tune in and feel your breath, you know how difficult it can be to find the extraordinary in what seems like a very ordinary action. We breathe literally every second of our lives so a disconnection with this process is natural, but with cannabis we’re able to rediscover the magic of our breath, and the simple act of breathing becomes profound. The fact that cannabis also enhances our perception of that experience means that you’ll stay entranced by the ebb and expansion of your lungs and belly for longer, letting go of the external world until the world is just your body and breath.
Of course, practicing mindfulness when consuming cannabis is essential to reaping all of these benefits and preparing your body and mind for bliss. No two strains are created equal so be sure to talk to your budtender about the effects of particular strains so you can make an informed choice. Whether you are new to consuming cannabis or not, smoke less than you normally would as meditating increases the high considerably – you can always have more later if you want to. Consuming progressively rather than all at once ensures you won’t get to a point where your mind is running wild, and also encourages listening very closely to your body’s needs. And that, my friends, is where a sweet mindfulness practice begins. This is not to say you should get high every time you want to be mindful (which is ideally all of the time), not only is that unrealistic, it’s an unhealthy relationship with a plant that can be wholly therapeutic. Experiment with consuming cannabis while meditating or doing yoga and notice how you’re able to let go of the external. Hold on to this ease. Feel it in your fibers. The next time you return to your mat for a moment of meditation, you’ll notice returning to bliss is much more accessible, with or without the aid of cannabis.
What are some ways cannabis has helped you stay mindful? Have you tried meditating after consuming cannabis? What were the effects? Would you consider trying this? Let me know in the comments!
*Pun intended. Pun always intended.