ColumnsThe Seeker

The Seeker: An Essential Oil

Katie Grant

While cannabinoid (CBD) oils and other hemp-based products are growing in popularity and availability around Charlotte, the union of yoga and cannabis isn’t quite a modern day concept. To Westerners, the combination remains unfamiliar yet intriguing as the stigma around cannabis gradually fades.

According to Jessica Dugan, an expert in plant-based medicine who leads a “Ganja Yoga” class in Oakland, California, the earliest mention of cannabis was discovered in The Vedas, or sacred Hindu texts, which were compiled around 2000 to 1400 B.C. The Vedas state that cannabis is one of five sacred plants to Hindu followers. For centuries, it’s been known to liberate users from fear and anxiety. Both of these beliefs are why I personally ingest CBD on a daily basis — or at least when I remember to.

CBD oil and yoga are a powerful duo, and it’s easy to see why folks have begun combining the two. The Sanskrit word “yoga” is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj, meaning to control, yoke or to unite. As a practice, yoga is meant to help us create a better union with our truest selves. So, given the opportunity to add the leverage of a natural substance that helps nourish the mind-body connection I seek by calming my anxiety, which is just one of the effects of CBD, experiencing a CBD oil-themed yoga class was something I wanted to check out as soon as I learned it was within reach.

It was my first time at Carolina Yoga, which is located in Fort Mill. I made the trip south of the border specifically for the CBD yoga class. While CBD shops and products have been popping up all over the city, this was the first I had heard of anything like it. I was psyched to be part of this innovative new-age breakthrough.

I checked in at the front desk, eagerly anticipating the one-two punch of a CBD oil yoga session. I settled onto my mat among the other curious yogis in the room while our teacher handed each of us a sealed, single-dose applicator containing a 500-milligram mix of coconut and CBD oils. This we could take at our liberty, along with a CBD salve for external use. Based on seeing a handful of yogis read their package and set it aside without partaking, my assumption was that they were perhaps still a little apprehensive.

I understand the trepidation since I was once in their shoes, not knowing how CBD would make me feel. I eventually found that it benefits my mental state by reducing everyday anxiety. Let me be clear when I say that CBD oil does not make work or personal issues dissipate. It does, however, affect how I react to situations, allowing me to feel more relaxed and present.

Our teacher was incredibly knowledgeable, explaining how a cannabinoid is just one of many compounds found in the cannabis plant. While the concentrations and the uses of CBD oils and other similar products vary, they have shown potential for relieving pain, seizures and anxiety.

She also clarified that one of CBD’s key benefits — and the reason that it’s legal in North Carolina — is that it is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t get you high.
Thankfully I didn’t walk into class with high expectations — sorry, I couldn’t help myself. CBD oil is the perfect supplement for someone like me who doesn’t like feeling high but can appreciate a waning of anxiety.

I opened the plastic applicator and took a dose of CBD oil. Taking a few deep breaths to get settled on my mat, I followed the teacher’s cues as she guided us through our evening practice. A non-heated, restorative flow couldn’t have been more ideal, complimenting the anxiety-reducing CBD oil perfectly. We spent the majority of class moving through one grounding pose to the next, using a bolster and blocks for additional support.

For someone like myself who finds it challenging to calm an overly analytical mindset, moving slowly with intention is the most effective way to subdue fluctuations of the mind. For me, time spent on my mat is like a really juicy therapy session.

The whole experience was a new and sublime way to recuperate from holiday stress and wind down from the weekend. I can envision integrating this potent pair into my own personal practice without having to seek a themed yoga class.

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