Ashtanga and marijuana — an authority’s point of view

Yesterday’s post noted the expected media pile-up on a story by the San Francisco Chronicle about people smoking pot before practicing yoga.

A quick digression into a reminder: We post stories that, in our minds, reach a certain critical mass in the mainstream media just to provide those of us more deeply involved in whatever the “yoga community” is a window on how others are seeing it.

OK, back to yoga and pot.

I recalled that Richard Freeman addressed the issue in an “Ask the Experts” a while back:

When relationships, details of everyday life and one’s own yoga practice are dealt with under the influence of marijuana the result is often a lack of completion, an absence of external feedback and an inability to postpone pleasure. Yoga practitioners who smoke during, or after their practice on a regular basis, tend to plateau in their practice and gradually lose their, “edge,” their intellectual capacity and brilliance.

You can click on the link to get his full thoughts.

Anyone have a different take? I’m not suggesting there’s no benefit; I’m just suggesting that way people in the story/stories about it this week talk about it seem to be missing the point of practicing yoga (as I understand it).

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

2 thoughts on “Ashtanga and marijuana — an authority’s point of view”

  1. In the final analysis, the end result for the person I think is important. If people are taking pot for medical reasons and the pot is helping them relax through the yoga sessions (pot is a performance enhancer) and meditate, I don’t see the problem with it. If without the pot they wouldn’t be doing the yoga at all, then that might be a good reason to accept that it works for them. It’s ok to say it’s not real yoga. It’s still a way of gaining relaxation, flexibility, and mind/body work, even though from purist’s point of view it’s not authentic yoga. Will doing yoga help the person get their pain issues under control so that they will need less pot? I think the question of pot and yoga is a lot more complicated than simply saying pot makes you lose your edge and intellectual brilliance. People do yoga under the influence of other medication all the time. Pot’s no different.

  2. sutra 4.1 janmauṣadhimantratapaḥsamādhijāḥ siddhayaḥ

    Siddhis come with birth or are attained through herbs, incantation, austerities or concentration.

    (auṣadha = herb)

    They say that aghori sadhus are constantly wasted. Left-hand practitioners.

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