Yoga and CBD

Yoga and CBD: an ancient combo

In the past years, an increasing number of people are turning to the ancient practice of yoga. Why? They do so to reduce stress, cultivate awareness, relieve pain, lose weight and become an overall happier and healthier person.
Yoga practice has both mental and physical benefits that boost wellbeing. But are there any ways to boost your wellness experience even more? There might be!
Yoga isn’t the only tool to increase your mental and physical health. With cannabis (not necessary psychoactive) making it’s come back and people using it to relieve stress, anxiety, pain and overall well-being. The question arises:  Why not mix the two of them?
Well, lots of people tried it and loved it. The Internet is full of stories of people supplementing their yoga practice with non-psychoactive CBD and experiencing an amazing yoga practice. In fact, this trend is so popular that there are now CBD yoga studios that propagate the best of both worlds – doing yoga on CBD. And as the cannabis plant is referred to as one of five sacred plants in the Vedas it becomes clear that yogis have been combining the two for a long time. Is it a duo that stands the test of time? Let’s see!

What do CBD and yoga have in common?

As yoga and CBD become more and more popular it is also more researched by the scientists for its mental and physical benefits. And they seem to have common benefits. Let’s see what the research says.
A number of studies show how yoga can be beneficial for depression, stress, and anxiety.
One study saw significant improvements on measures of stress and psychological outcomes. As 3 months of Hatha yoga improved stress, anxiety, sleep, fatigue and depression. Cortisol also decreased significantly after participation in a yoga class which reduced stress. Pretty good!

On top of that stretching has been shown to activate endocannabinoid receptors in the muscles. Which might help cannabinoids to engage more with the receptors. So with all the symbiosis let’s look at what the research has to say.

Apparently quite a lot.

Here is how CBD might benefit every yogi:
Yoga and CBD

1) Increased concentration

The goal of yoga is to be more aware of the present moment. That is to be fully concentrated on the now. While it sounds easy, most of the time it is easier said than done. As the mind has a tendency to get stuck in loops and usually not the ones that help you live stress-free. Buddhists refer to this as “monkey mind” – being stuck in loops of overthinking, anxieties and what if’s – they take away our joy of being in the moment.
You know that state when you look at something but are stuck in thoughts of your mind? And then wondering how did you get so involved in it that you completely lost your focus. So how to stay concentrated?
A 2018 study showed that people who took CBD daily “reported significantly fewer depressive and psychotic-like symptoms” and “Increased plasma CBD concentrations were associated with improvements in attentional control”. So it seems that CBD might remove the blocks of your mind, help stay in a better state of mind and be more concentrated.

Davina Alexandra, a certified yoga teacher and founder of YogaWave, shared her experience with us: “I use my CBD oil after a yang practice. When I’m ready for Savasana or meditation I take 2 drops and it’s helping me to calm down and breath deeply even more. When I practice Yin yoga I love to take 1 drop before starting because it stimulates me, even more, to turn the focus inwards.”

2) Faster muscle recovery (reduced inflammation)

When muscles are working harder than usual or in a different way (maybe you are trying to master a new asana?), it is believed to cause microscopic damage to the muscles fibres, which then become inflamed, resulting in muscle soreness or stiffness. After healed muscles then become stronger and bigger.

A 2018 review published in Frontiers in Neurology concluded that CBD is an effective way of improving pain and mobility in patients with multiple sclerosis since it reduces inflammation.

As CBD is believed to be one of the best anti-inflammatory supplements, many athletes use CBD products to fasten their muscle recovery and recovery from injuries. A study points out that “cannabinoids are potent anti-inflammatory agents” and as CBD does not seem to have harsh side effects even taken in high doses it makes a good fit for an active routine.

Another way CBD could benefit muscle recovery is because of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) it is working on. ECS is believed to control the balance in your organism. It is thought to help regulate a variety of functions in humans including sleep, mood, memory, appetite, reproduction, and pain sensation. By aiding the endocannabinoid system, CBD can help the body to function more efficiently as CBD promotes homeostasis, reduces pain sensation and decreases inflammation.

3) Pain relief

Do your muscles feel sore after your yoga class?

Well, you are not alone!

With yoga asanas, people try to go beyond their own limits. And probably that is what yoga is all about. But sometimes going too far ends up in muscle pain or soreness. So how to relieve it?

Preclinical studies [1,2,3] have shown that cannabinoid receptor agonists block pain in various acute and chronic pain models and that inflammation is reduced. So CBD might help you “feel” less pain by blocking it. Which might be a true gift sent from heaven after intense yoga practice!

And as another study has suggested that cannabinoids may bring positive effects on health by decreasing inflammation and decreasing pain. It is quite obvious that something is going on! And for the good of your health!

So CBD might help you “survive” muscle soreness by reducing inflammation and blocking pain. Moreover helping you stay in a positive mindset – as with muscle healing it is the waiting game.  All the while CBD was shown to have “antipsychotic and neuroprotective” properties – it can help you stay in a more positive mindset while experiencing muscle pain.

woman doing yoga and cbd

4) Relief from stress, anxiety or depression

While yoga teaches to be here and now – in the present moment and not attached to the past or the future (which is usually clouded by our own anxieties) CBD is there for you.

Did you ever become so stressed and anxious about all the ongoing things in life that nothing helps – even that yoga practice which should have helped you get better. It is a vicious cycle. But don’t worry with CBD you can break out of this Saṃsāra.

Many people use cannabidiol (CBD) to combat anxiety, depression or stress and studies are now backing it up. In one study CBD has been shown to reduce anxiety for 79.2% of participants by supplementing it for a month while also improving sleep score for 66.7%.

In Davina’s words “it’s definitely a powerful tool when you want to focus more on breathing exercises, yin yoga or meditation. Being a very yang person, I’m always very active during the day. My focus during yoga practice is to calm the nerves system, try to let thoughts go and just be in the moment, observing my body. I really feel the CBD oil is helping more and more to release tensions or thoughts that are normally coming disturbing my practice”. She adds “I would surely recommend it [CBD]. Mostly for yin yoga or yoga Nidra.”

And she is right that CBD might help with various types of anxieties. A study found out that CBD is efficient in reducing anxiety behaviours, such as posttraumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, a social anxiety disorder.

And as the study concludes that “Yoga has an effective role in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression” these two (yoga & CBD) seems to be a great fit.

The same study states that CBD is safe to use and has no anxiety-inducing effects: “Human experimental findings support preclinical findings, and also suggest a lack of anxiogenic effects, minimal sedative effects, and an excellent safety profile.”

Study results were that “CBD was shown to have anxiolytic, antipsychotic and neuroprotective properties.”

So if you are stuck in anxieties and negative thinking patterns – yoga and CBD can be a great duo to relieve it and help you stay more in the present moment.

Yoga and CBD infographic

5) Better mood (Prolonged bliss)

CBD can also help by prolonging the feelings of bliss after your yoga practice. When we feel good, or even better delighted, our brain produces a neurotransmitter called Anandamide. Ananda?

Isn’t it “bliss” in Sanskrit?

Yeah, you guessed it.

The name is taken from the Sanskrit word “Ananda”, which means “joy, bliss, delight”.

Anandamide, like all other neurotransmitters, breaks down rapidly in your body and that is why you feel only brief moments of bliss.

What does it have to do with CBD?

One study found that CBD slows the degradation of Anandamide by suppressing the enzyme which breaks down the said neurotransmitter. Meaning you experience longer moments of bliss. To put it simply – that blissful moment you get in savasana (the corpse pose) after your yoga practice might be enhanced even further by integrating CBD in your daily routine.
cbd and yoga

Conclusion

We now understand why yogi’s in ancient India referred to the Cannabis plant as one of the five sacred ones. Even though more research is needed, from the articles that we have about yoga & CBD we can tell that it is a really promising duo.

CBD can help take your yoga practice to another level. It is not a magical cure, but rather a tool that can help your muscles recover faster, prolong bliss, put you in a better mental state or increase concentration.

Did you try it yet? Here is a video guide we love to get you started:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *