Distracted By *All The Things*? Strengthen Your Mind-Body Connection With Yoga & CBD

June 12, 2020

CBD and yoga

We live in a world of micro-distractions. Social media notifications, world issues, and our own emotions disrupt our focus every minute. Our body may be sitting at our desk, but our minds are in a completely different place.

This is why many people turn to yoga. Yoga allows us to strengthen our mind-body connection. We become more aware of where we are and when our minds are going somewhere else. In the past few years, many yogis have discovered that they can further enhance the traditional yoga practice. Adding just a few drops of CBD keeps top yogis focused, aids their recovery, and helps them step onto our mats more often.

Whether you are a beginner yogi or have enjoyed the practice for many years, you can also benefit from adding CBD to your yoga practice.

What is CBD?

CBD is a small, but impactful, chemical compound within the cannabis plant. Cannabis contains over 100 active ingredients, including terpenes (that give the plant its smell and taste) and cannabinoids (that give cannabis its mental and physical effects.) CBD, along with THC, CBG, and others, is a cannabinoid.

THC often gets more attention than CBD because it’s the only psychoactive cannabinoid. In simple terms, it gets you high. You will not get high after ingesting CBD alone. In recent years, CBD oil and similar products have become a popular way to legally and safely enjoy the benefits found in cannabis. Yogis aren’t the only people who enjoy CBD: athletes like Rob Gronkowski and celebrities like Kim Kardashian also sing its praises.

Yoga and CBD do have something in common. They encourage the union of the body and mind. CBD’s mental and physical benefits pave the path toward a more focused, enjoyable yoga practice.

CBD can help the body recover between practices

Not all practitioners come to Yoga for their mental health. Yoga has become a physical practice in many gyms and studios throughout the country. Classes like “Power Yoga” and “Yoga-Lates” have been targeted toward practitioners who want to build muscle and break a sweat without using weights. CBD can help out the yogis who want to strengthen their body and focus their mind. Regular CBD use can help to boost athletic performance and prepare your body for your next workout, faster.

After a particularly intense workout, you might notice that your muscles feel sore or tight. You can thank your endocannabinoid system (ECS) for that response. The ECS is located throughout the body, maintaining homeostasis through different bodily functions (inflammation, appetite, etc). A workout often triggers an inflammatory response within the ECS. Inflammation in the muscles causes muscle pain and soreness, often lasting for up to 48 hours. Soreness often inhibits Yogis or athletes from continuing with their practice.

Experts believe that CBD blocks cannabinoids from binding with receptors in the ECS. This process helps to reduce inflammation and pain. By reducing inflammation, CBD can help yogis get back on the mat faster.

This pain relief goes beyond yoga. A handful of studies have shown that patients with rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases report reduced pain and higher quality of sleep after using CBD-based medicine. More studies need to be done to further understand this process.

Without the distraction of soreness or pain, yogis can focus more on the practice and building the relationship between mind and body.

CBD allows the mind to focus on the practice.

CBD products will not get you high, but they will have a positive effect on the mind. The cannabinoid is most known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and this goes beyond inflammation in the body. Chronic stress can also cause neuroinflammation, showing “persistent cognitive and emotional dysregulation that contributes to deterioration of overall mental health and quality of life.” Neuroinflammation may also reduce neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to constantly change as it receives new information. Neuroplasticity is essential to growth.

Experts believe that by reducing neuroinflammation, CBD could allow users to tap into their emotions and cultivate the awareness that is at the center of the yoga practice.

CBD offers the benefits of cannabis without the drawbacks of THC

CBD is not intoxicating and safe to use before physical activities like yoga, football, or swimming. But yoga is not like all physical activity—it is traditionally a spiritual discipline that involves more than physical movement. Many have found themselves asking: is using cannabis appropriate before yoga?

Despite the rising popularity of integrating THC into yoga, many yogis believe that getting high is a hindrance. When used recreationally, or to dampen emotions, cannabis can be considered a tamasic substance. When used medicinally, cannabis may be considered a more sattvic substance.

CBD was not extracted and made into an oil when Ayurveda was first practiced 5,000 years ago. But it is ingested for medicinal purposes. As we adapt this practice to what we have learned about cannabis and CBD, yogis can rest assured knowing that CBD will enhance, rather than disrupt, their yoga journey.

Ways to Integrate CBD Into Your Yoga Practice

CBD comes in many forms, from gummies to bath bombs. What is best for your yoga routine? The answer depends on your practice and preferences.

One dropper of a CBD tincture before practice can center the mind and allow the body to heal faster throughout the day.

CBD balms and lotion after practice can relieve joint pain. (Be careful—using them before practice may cause you to slip!)

CBD gummies, edibles, or capsules before bed can help you get a deeper sleep before your morning practice.

Check dosage instructions of each product before you use CBD and practice yoga. Talk to a health professional before using CBD—it may interfere with your current medications or produce mild side effects.

While yoga can help us relax, it can also be a demanding practice that requires a sharp focus and a body ready to sweat. The right CBD product can help you prepare for your time on the mat and further your yoga practice. If you want to read more on CBD, check out this article and this study.

Also by Megan: 4 Cooling Breathing Techniques When Literally Everything Is Making You Steam

7 Yoga Mudras To Manifest Your Intentions & Cleanse Your Energy

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Photo: Dane Wetton

Megan Okonsky
Megan Okonsky is a yoga teacher and writer originally from Philadelphia. After years of living the digital nomad life, she's settled down and resumed regular teaching in Austin, TX. Her favorite classes to teach include gentle yoga at Willow Gardens Yoga Studio and meditation at the Travis County Correctional Facility! Follow her work on her website.

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