By Courtney Haile, Photos Courtesy of Vanaspati Yoga
My boyfriend took a sip of his macchiato during savasana; and although he never found his zen I reckon I found enough for the entire San Luis Obispo metro area. I dragged him to his first ever yoga class and it featured psychedelic lights and topical creams, synthesizers and vaporizers, affirmations and edibles. . . I could do this forever so I’ll cut to the chase. Ganja Yoga is exactly as it sounds and even more awesome than you’re imagining. While Vanaspati Yoga initially offered their cannabis enhanced classes to medical marijuana users, the passage of Proposition 64 allows the 21 and over set to partake. I partook.
After registering, I received an email revealing the location for the SLO town event along with some rules and reminders. Attendees are welcomed to vaporize, eat, and drink complimentary cannabis samples and may bring their own; but because of its harmful effects smoking is strictly prohibited. This is still SLO after all.
I arrived to meet instructor Miho Watanabe who greeted us warmly, checked our IDs, and inquired about our experience with cannabis and yoga. “I’m better with yoga and he’s better with cannabis”, I said, pointing to my beau. Miho was very clear about the strength of cannabis—particularity edibles—and cautioned us to keep portions small. We signed a lengthy waiver before removing our shoes and entering the studio.
The room was dark. Colorful designs danced on the walls as a live musician provided a multi- instrumental electronic sound bath to enhance our experience. Don’t you love California? Participants relaxed on their mats, many while vaporizing cannabis, and there was a sense of focus and intention. There are no photos of me because the vibe did not call for photo ops and camera flashes.
The sample area looked much like a product demo at a high-end grocery store; with representatives from Bay Area based Bloom Farms rocking sleekly branded T-shirts. Mike Coulson, husband to instructor Watanabe, offered yummy low dose edibles by their company Baceae. Treats were labeled with dosages plus CBD/THC ratios (CBD is touted for medicinal benefits and is non-psychoactive, THC alters the mind). I’m guessing you want to hear what it’s like to get high and do yoga.
I tried a little bit of everything and naturally felt the effects of the vaporized cannabis immediately. I have never breathed and stretched so deeply and satisfyingly and Miho’s voice and words are incredibly grounding–even up against my unquiet mind and inner giggle monster. My man thought we were all crazy and when imagining his thoughts, I laughed internally, but each time I was able to find my breath, center, and calm.
If you are not a regular cannabis user, you probably shouldn’t go crazy with large doses in a trippy dark room full of strangers. That said, Ganja Yoga was immensely fulfilling on both physical and spiritual levels and I can’t wait to go back. Learn more at www.vanaspati.yoga.
Courtney Haile is a writer and fitness instructor living in San Luis Obispo.