CBD has become immensely popular in recent years, everyone from amous actors and athletes are discovering the numerous benefits of CBD. More and more Yogis are choosing to incorporate the natural benefits of CBD into their yoga routines. While those not familiar with yoga may conjure up a picture of a hippie casually stretching, those who have actually practiced this discipline know how mentally and physically demanding it can be. Scientific and anecdotal evidence has shown that, much like yoga itself, CBD can uplift the well-being of both body and mind.
CBD and Yoga: An Intertwining History
Yoga’s roots reach as far back as 5,000 years ago in Northern India. It was during this time that Hinduism was in its infancy. The beginning of this religion is marked by the creation of the Vedas, a collection of ancient, holy scriptures which became the building blocks of Hinduism. These scriptures mentioned both yoga and cannabis several times, and the two became integral aspects of Indian culture.
Even if you know little about Indian culture, odds are you have heard of Lord Shiva, one of the most important gods in Hinduism. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a depiction of Lord Shiva not in the lotus pose, which is apt as he is the father of yoga and the master of all yogis. According to legend, not only did he practice yoga every day, but he consumed cannabis as well to reach enlightenment.
History lessons are fun and all, but what does this mean for you? How Can CBD Improve Your Yoga Experience? Besides ancient legends, there is anecdotal and modern scientific data supporting CBD’s physical and mental benefits, which we will discuss below.
What is CBD?
Let’s start with the basics. No, CBD is not THC. THC is a chemical responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. CBD is not psychoactive in any way.
CBD is short for Cannabidiol, one of the over 100 cannabinoids found in some strands of hemp. This cannabinoid is nearly identical in structure to the endocannabinoids that your body naturally produces. CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system, a system that is crucial to maintaining homeostasis. How Can CBD Improve Your Yoga Experience?
As mentioned, yoga is partly a mental battle. A practiced yogi is able to block out the outside world, thoughts, and emotions. However, we live in a world where our attention is constantly being tugged in a dozen directions at the same time. As if work, chores, and family weren’t enough to handle, we are constantly being bombarded by texts, news alerts, and emails at all hours of the day.
Concentration and focus, an integral part of proper yoga, are challenging to maintain in this day and age. If you find you’re one of the many people who’s mind is a constant beehive buzzing with thoughts and worries, don’t worry, there’s still hope. CBD has the ability to attach to your brain’s serotonin and dopamine receptors and increase your body’s production of these two chemicals, both of which are essential to concentration.
Relaxation & Prolonged Peace
Most yoga classes or sessions end with Savasana(alternatively spelled Shavasana), otherwise known as corpse pose. During Savasana, the Yogi lies on the crowd and attempts to relax one body part at a time and expelling one thought at a time. Although the idea of lying down and relaxing sounds incredibly easy, this pose is commonly referred to as one of the most difficult in yoga. The goal is to achieve utter relaxation, which is actually a lot harder than it sounds. Those who reach this stage of bliss find that the calming effects do not last as long as desired.
When we feel happy or positive in general, our brains release a neurotransmitter called Anandamide. In Sanskrit, ‘Ananda’ means ‘bliss,’ and this chemical is attributed to the sensation of the “runner’s high.” These neurotransmitters are fragile and do not last long, eventually being broken down by the body. Studies have shown that CBD targets the enzymes responsible for breaking down this neurotransmitter. Thus, helping you achieve relaxation during Savasana and maintaining that level of bliss afterward.
Reducing Inflammation & Pain
Yoga, especially vinyasa yoga, is physically demanding. Just an hour-long session can leave yogis in pain and sore for a couple days. Yoga is a mental outlet as well as physical, so skipping even just a single day can be stressful and frustrating. Clinical studies have shown that CBD may be a very effective anti-inflammatory, which means you can get back to your yoga routine faster.
Inflammation is caused in part by a group of molecules called cytokines. Scientists have observed that CBD reduces the destructive effects of these cytokines, thereby significantly reducing inflammation and reducing pain as well. If a no-named scientist can’t convince you, then the plethora of anecdotal evidence should be enough to pique some interest. Odds are somebody you know is already benefiting from CBD.
What Form of CBD is Best for Me?
CBD comes in many kinds of forms from tinctures to brownies, however, eating a brownie right before yoga class probably isn’t the best idea. Overall, tinctures are the most popular but softgels are another convenient method of consuming CBD, as most come with droppers to accurately administer the correct dosage for your needs.
If you’re looking to try CBD in efforts to alleviate any pain or inflammation, you may have, topicals such as creams or salves are most likely the best product for you. Topicals provide fast-acting to relive to aching areas and start working as soon as they are absorbed by the skin.
For more information on the biology and brain chemistry behind the enhanced focus and peace associated with yoga and CBD, check out our other in depth article https://celestialstem.com/will-cbd-help-your-meditation/