If your date night consists of getting baked and watching Netflix, you’re doing it wrong.

Okay… I’ll give you some credit. You’re doing it half wrong. Because if you partake in the use of cannabis, in any form, you’re doing something right!

Yes, certain strains of the medicinal herb were masterfully crafted to turn us into couch potato zombie mutants incapable of peeling ourselves away from the television but there are others that are meant to enlighten, invigorate, and enhance every aspect of the human experience. So do some research on what you’re cheifin’, and get out there and get the most out of your expanded consciousness!

As we all know, cannabis is an ancient healing herb used in practices and rituals around the planet. And now that you’re using that new sativa dominant hybrid that has you bursting with euphoric, creative energy, what should you and your significant other do to take advantage of this elevated state of being? How about adding yet another ancient practice to the experience? Perhaps one that also ensures transcendental states of mind, body, and soul.

That’s right, I’m talking about yoga. Well, not just yoga. GANJA YOGA!

Illustration by Jeffery Olver @theexpressionexchange

Sounds far out, a little awkward, but really freakin’ awesome, right?

Ganja Yoga is the deliberate pairing of cannabis and yoga. This yoga practice treats cannabis as a medicine and spiritual teacher.

We in the western world have a younger and less established culture than those of the East. Ganja Yoga has been a vital part of medicine and healing in India, and other parts of the world, for millennia. We are finally catching on. With the help of a Canadian born yogi who has set up shop in the medicinal marijuana mecca of San Francisco, the western hemisphere has been introduced to the blissful benefits Ganja Yoga.  Dee Dussault pioneered the public practice and teaching of Ganja Yoga, the practice that has now trickled into various parts of the content.

With cannabis quickly becoming decriminalized and legalized for recreational use, and yoga continuing to grow in popularity as an alternative, relaxing practice of exercise of the body and mind, it seems these two ancient practices were divinely destined to collide and bring health and happiness back the People of the West.

Couples have been showing up to Dee Dassault’s Ganja Yoga class to experience the perfect pairing for themselves. Thusly, creating a higher perspective, new potential, and deeper meaning for “date night.”

Not only has Dee been dubbed the first public teacher of Ganja Yoga in the West, but she is also well studied in sexuality. With a decade of experience behind her, Dee provides sexual awakening yoga, clothing-free yoga, sexual coaching, and tantra classes.

If you are an adventurous, young couple looking to further explore your sensual and sexual dynamic with your partner, a well established married couple trying to deepen your relationship, or if you’ve suffered pain or heartache, and you’d like to work on yourself privately, Dee offers a multitude of helpful, exploratory, and playful practices.

 

I recently had the privilege of catching up with Dee Dussault. Here’s her take on the Ganja Yoga experience:

Photo by Monica Lo

Who is showing up at your Ganja Yoga classes? What kind of people?

Quite a large group of people who come to my class are new to yoga. Most of them have some sort of relationship to cannabis, not all. But for many of them it’s their first experience with yoga. Which, it’s pretty cool that they feel like, of all the yoga classes out there, the one where they can get high is the one where they want to try their first experience. Similarly, some of the people who come are fairly new to cannabis. Even older people, like baby boomers, who tried it in high school or college and probably consumed too much, or did it in an unsafe environment, or had anxiety and paranoia, or experienced lethargy, or demotivation, you know, just had a bad experience for whatever reason. Those people are wanting to give cannabis another try for wellness, or relaxation, or whatever ailments they may have. That’s really cool segment of the class. I like working with those people. And a lot of people are combining cannabis and yoga for the very first time. So the class has a lot of new people, young and old, experiencing new things. Which is pretty cool.

Environment being an important aspect of the experience, what kind of atmosphere do you provide?

It’s interesting! The environment I do the Ganja Yoga class is an art gallery in the SOMA area of San Francisco. It’s gritty…not your typical yoga studio. The gallery is run by about five vortex artist guys and there’s all of this crazy, trippy, three dimensional, almost like Alice-in-Wonderland art everywhere. And it’s always changing and rearranging. It’s beautiful, but it’s a lot to process (laughs). So I have arrows on the wall saying, “THIS WAY TO YOGA” and I greet everyone as they come in the door. I say “checking in” because everyone registers online, then shows up to class with their Medical Marijuana card. I check it, then send them to the studio. I keep the cannabis on my mat at the front of the class and ask the students to form a circle around my mat as they all trickle in. So I’m walking around asking them to sign the yoga waiver and answering any questions or concerns. Most of the concerns are about past experiences with cannabis. So I let everyone know that the white vapor pen is a sativa for an uplifting or energizing experience. The black one is indica if they’re wanting a more relaxed and embodied experience. And the other one is a hybrid for the ones who may have had paranoia in past experiences. There’s usually a joint with a sativa or hybrid. We usually do the practice with a sativa or an uplifting hybrid. I like to explain the strain being used, what the THC percentage is [and other] details. Not because I’m a pot expert, but because some people want to know and I want to create a really relaxed and trusting environment. Then, everyone is sitting around talking about cannabis and this social atmosphere develops, a camaraderie forms. Everyone introduces themselves, there’s 30 minutes [of socializing], which really helps to eliminate any paranoia.

Do you think Ganja Yoga would be a cool date idea?

Oh yeah! I’ve actually had couples come in to class on dates before, so that goes to show that people are already doing it! I think it would be great. Because it’s a unique thing here in San Francisco, and there is this sense of community and the social aspect of it. But at the same time, it can be as personal as you want it to be. At the beginning of class, I tell people not to worry about what their bodies are able do compared to the people around them. It’s not a competition, you know? It’s your own personal practice. Everyone does their own practice during the yoga session. But the thirty minutes social beginning of the class and the overall experience would definitely be something to talk about after class is over. I think it’s a great atmosphere for a date.

How does cannabis enhance the yoga experience?

I can’t just say one thing; there are so many ways! Simply: cannabis helps you to relax. Yoga helps you to relax. Put the two together and the whole is greater. It helps people to feel more subtle sensations. There’s a greater appreciation for the taste of food, or the sound of music with cannabis, it’s the same with yoga practice. The sensations in your body become more enhanced. You have more relaxation and higher sensory feedback within your body.

You also teach nude yoga and coach in tantra practices, for more adventurous couples, is there a naked ganja yoga class?

Well Tantra is a VERY vast and disciplined tradition or practice.  It really meets you where you’re at, where you’re coming from and where you want to go, you know? Like if someone says, “I’m interested in developing myself and I want to do something different and live life a little more daringly, but I’m nervous”, I would say, “Well you don’t have to  do clothe-less yoga on the first class”, (laughs). That could be really far out there for someone for their very first class.

Sex coaching can be a great place for people to start because we can chat people specific sexuality, or relationship concerns, or self image and body issues, or maybe they have trouble communicating their desires. They may be trying to get over some heartache. Married couples, early daters, or even single people, everyone has something in their sex lives that they’d like to attain or work on. Whether it’s women who have never had an orgasm, or have trouble reaching climax, or men who want to take longer before orgasm, sex coaching is a pretty chill place to start. Because it’s all talk at that point. Then we move into ideas and “homework”, or journaling. Then I begin take them through meditations in class. That’s when it becomes Tantra: Meditating on different parts, maybe wounds inside, in their heart, their genitals, or disconnections from their body, or whatever the issue may be. Everyone is going to have a totally different, personal session in a safe and relaxed way. Tantra is a way for us to further familiarize ourselves with our sensual feelings. You know, different ways to make us feel alive and to tap into that place that helps us remember that we’re not just super computers made to just work and work.

If you’re not ready to adventure into that realm, Ganja Yoga would be a fantastic way to journey through your senses on a whole new level.


ARTICLE BY: Cooper Read  |  COVER PHOTOS BY: Monica Lo

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