Yoga’s popularity continues to spread throughout the world as more and more people, from athletes to celebrities, have discovered the transformative power of having a regular practice. CBD has also enjoyed a similar trajectory, with the market size valued at USD 5.18 billion in 2021.
But what is at the root of this shift?
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental illness. And in the UK alone, anxiety affects more than 8.2 million people. The numbers are growing, and there’s stress everywhere you turn – from managing tight finances, having a packed schedule, working long hours and absorbing the pressure to maintain a work-life balance.
The problem with this is that stress degrades your productivity, your sleep patterns, your mood, and eventually, your health. And that is why so many are turning to wellness practices that promote calm and connectedness. In this sense, yoga and CBD are an ideal pairing, as both are an antidote to anxiety and stress.
Similarities Between Yoga and CBD
CBD and yoga are a harmonious combination with both supporting the wellness benefits of the other. The use of cannabis and yoga goes back thousands of years, and this ancient connection is being revived as CBD is now legal in most countries.
There is a growing body of research into the physical and mental benefits of yoga. A recent study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine looked at people practising relaxation and hatha yoga on a weekly basis. The findings showed an improvement in scores across the board when measuring stress, anxiety and quality of life. A different study also noted yoga’s ability to influence pain levels positively, whether it was the pain itself or the perception thereof.
Yoga has also been proven to slow cellular ageing (which is thought to be caused by chronic inflammation), as well as improve brain function and reduce stress.
These findings mirror those of CBD which, while still in its infancy, also shows promise for those with painful conditions and mental stress. One such study looked at CBD’s ability to influence subjects with a social anxiety disorder. The results included: lowered anxiety levels, and heightened activity in areas of the brain related to goal-setting, self-control, motivation and emotions. And another showed CBD’s efficacy in reducing neuropathic pain.
Why CBD for Yoga?
CBD supports your yoga practice because it is:
- A broad-spectrum anti-inflammatory agent. This means that it interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system as it works to restore homeostasis in the body, thereby reducing inflammation in the brain, as well as painful areas of the body, joints and tendons, and muscles.
- An antioxidant. Its benefit as an antioxidant is that, through the endocannabinoid system, it helps repair cell damage caused by oxidative stress.
- Effectively treats anxiety and insomnia. CBD calms the body, restores balance and improves sleep.
The Benefits of CBD and Yoga
If you ask most people why they practise yoga, they’ll tell you that it’s to combat the pressures of living in a modern, fast-paced world as it forces you to slow down. It helps reduce stress, anxiety and depression. And the reasons that CBD users swear by the cannabinoid are similar: it relieves physical pain and promotes a sense of calm, bringing balance to the body. Let’s look at the benefits of CBD and yoga in more detail.
1. It can help you achieve a meditative state
While meditation may come easily to some, for most, it is a struggle to slow down and ignore constant internal and external distractions. This presents a problem as meditation is a core part of any yoga practice. CBD taken before the start of a yoga session can help slow your racing thoughts and promote a sense of peace. For those with conditions such as anxiety or depression, it can make it easier to stay on your mat and pursue Shavasana.
2. It improves the mind-body connection
CBD interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system to influence cognitive processes such as mood, dream states and post-traumatic stress. In your yoga practice, this translates to an improved mind-body connection supporting the work of certain types of yoga such as Hatha yoga.
3. It can help ease you into your practice
It is difficult to flow right from the start of a yoga class, and thirty minutes can easily be up before you’re in the right headspace and feel focused enough to enjoy the time. But if you only have an hour class, CBD can help you get yoga-ready faster by helping you let go of stress, allowing you to practice with a clear mind.
4. It can help with tightness, tension and pain
CBD benefits both the mind and body. CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that works in synergy with your practice to reduce pain and makes it easier and more comfortable to move into challenging yoga poses. If you are coming to the pat with residual tension, CBD will help you to loosen up faster.
5. It promotes faster recovery
Athletes use CBD to speed up recovery, and yoga is no different. While yoga is designed to promote relaxation, it is still very hard work. CBD after a class can ease tightness and promote sleep which is essential for optimal muscle recovery. For people who have a sleep disorder, CBD combined with a yoga class is often an ideal recipe for a good night’s sleep.
6. It helps enhance body perception
Yoga enhances self-awareness and CBD can take that to the next level by increasing anandamide levels which are thought to contribute to an exercise-induced mood boost (often called a runner’s high).
CBD Inspiration for Your Yoga Poses
CBD is a good fit for different types of yoga. In particular though, is it beneficial for more gentle, restorative styles of yoga as it boosts mood, improves vitality, and reduces pain and inflammation. For those of us with a period, pairing CBD with yoga can be an effective period pain reliever.
To get the best results, take CBD before your session. Depending on the type of CBD method you use, you will need to consume your CBD between 15 and 40 minutes before. Then start with meditation. Try to set your intention for the time, focus on your breathing and enjoy the luxury of lying in this resting pose as the CBD takes effect.
Best Yoga Poses for Relaxation
Some yoga poses that will promote relaxation include:
- Savasana (Corpse Pose), is excellent for relaxation and slowing down.
- Apanasana (Knees-to-Chest), is ideal for relieving anxiety, reducing anger and alleviating back pain.
- Jathara Parivartanasana (Supine Twist), for complete relaxation, upper back and neck pain and releasing tight shoulders.
- Marjaryasana/Bitilasana (Cat-Cow), is perfect for energy, focus and emotional balance.
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog), energising and calming, this position is ideal for relieving stress and a depressed mood.
- Balasana (Child’s Pose), for calming the brain, soothing stress and relieving fatigue.
Combining CBD with yoga, whether you join a class or practice at home, will enhance both its physical and mental benefits. And the best part is, it’s easy to do. All you need is a bottle of high-quality CBD oil, and you’ll be ready to hit your mat and flow.
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