In today's world of excess and noise, many of us are seeking natural ways to stay on top of the demands of daily life. It comes as no surprise then, that CBD and yoga which naturally bring balance to the mind and body, are rapidly growing in popularity for their ability to improve our general health and happiness. The rise in healing practices like asana, pranayama and meditation are reflecting a desire to address stress head on with mindful rather than mindless pursuits, and CBD might be just the tool to take your practice to the next level.
I first started pairing CBD with yoga in a bid to calm my nerves around teaching yoga, but what I got from CBD was far more than a relaxant. After a couple of weeks of consistent use, I found I was able to focus my mind more quickly during meditation, my muscles were a lot less achy after a busy week of teaching and the post-savasana ‘bliss’ lingered a little longer. I followed this up with some research and found the relationship between CBD and yoga is by no means a new phenomenon. According to the Vedas (the earliest texts of spiritual guidance), cannabis is considered one of the 5 sacred plants and yogis have been pairing it with their practice since 2,000–1,400 BCE. Fast forward to today, and researchers have started to uncover what those clever ancient yogis likely already knew – together, yoga and CBD can work wonders for the mind and body.
Anandamide, the body’s natural high
Since endorphins can’t pass from the blood into the brain, the theory that they’re responsible for the ‘runners high’ is being reconsidered. New research points instead to the endocannabinoid system, in particular, a neurotransmitter called anandamide. Anandamide is naturally produced by our body when we feel good and is shown to be a catalyst for both mood enhancement, memory consolidation and pain reduction. In fact, scientists took the name from the Sanskrit word ‘ananda’ which roughly translates to bliss, pleasure, delight! The bliss molecule, as it’s affectionately known, has been shown to rise steadily in the bloodstream during healing practices like meditation and asana and is thought to be responsible for the wave of euphoria following a good workout. Like all neurotransmitters, anandamide is quickly metabolized by the body which can explain why our bliss is fleeting, but that’s where CBD comes in. CBD has been shown to inhibit the enzyme responsible for breaking down the neurotransmitter leading to increased levels of anandamide in the body. Put simply, yoga can boost levels of anandamide which give us the ‘natural ‘high’ and CBD can enhance the wonderful benefits that the bliss molecule is known for.
Some of the most talked about benefits of both yoga and CBD are their potential to calm the mind and relieve anxiety. But coming to your mat leaving behind busy streets and a busy day can make getting into a meditative space rather challenging. If you’ve got a particularly active mind, consistent CBD use can help to dispel intrusive thoughts allowing you to calm down and go inward with more ease. Now that many of us are restricted to practicing yoga at home, CBD can be especially helpful to keep us from the distractions of homelife during our practice.
As well as getting your mind ready for yoga, CBD can assist in your body’s recovery thanks to its natural anti-inflammatory properties. Numerous studies have found CBD to be a powerful anti- inflammatory and muscle relaxant which can help you get deeper into a pose and can also help to alleviate pain associated with overworked muscles. If the pain is localised, topical CBD salves are a great choice to combat post asana joint and muscle soreness.
How to use CBD in your practice
As you can see, CBD is a great supplement for your yoga practice with a diverse number of benefits, but it’s important to note, this isn’t a quick fix or a cure all. As with yoga, for the best results, CBD should be taken consistently to give it time to build up in the body.
A tincture is one of the ways to experience the benefits of CBD. To use, drop the recommended dose under your tongue where it is absorbed into the bloodstream, hold it there for around a minute before swallowing. An average dosage is 20 to 40 mg a day, it’s recommended to start low and then experiment with upping or lowering the dose until you reach the desired effect.
For achy joint and muscles, a topical CBD like a balm or a roller can be great for localised pain. You can try adding a CBD bath bomb or salts to your bubble bath too for a lovely bit of self-care.
CBD is natural to the body so is considered safe, but if you are taking CBD to deal with pain, make sure you follow your doctor's recommendations. If you are on any medication, please consult with your doctor first. It’s also important to find high-quality CBD from reputable retailers.
Witten By : Rachel Allen - Yoga Practitioner, Molecule.
Rachel Recommends :
Ahn, MK McKinney BF Cravatte: Enzymatic Pathways That Regulate endocannabinoid Signaling in the Nervous System 2. Bennett: Does the CBD Bind at the CB1 receptor? Yes and No 3. Morales, DP Hurst, PH Reggio: Molecular Targets of the Phytocannabinoids-A Complex Picture 4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5922297/ 5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1919904 6. http://reset.me/story/anandamide-putting-the-bliss-molecule-to-work-for-your-brain/