GENERAL

Yoga

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Written by Kathi Klundt

CBD and yoga

Many in the western world associate yoga with physical exercises and breathing techniques. But yoga is much more. The teaching behind yoga comes from India and is understood as philosophy. In addition to knowledge and the search for insight, it also includes exercises for the mind and body. The word yoga is derived from Sanskrit. Here it stands for harnessing or also tying together. Often people associate the term with the collection of a person’s own concentration and the associated bringing together of consciousness and body.

Yoga, which is strongly rooted in Hinduism, is regarded by practitioners as a path to self-knowledge. However, this path is divided into different trends. Each of these trends is intended to address and guide a specific group of people striving for self-knowledge.

Within Indian philosophy, yoga is one of the six Darshanas, the classical schools of this school of thought. The other five are Vaisheshika, Nyaya, Samkhya, Vedanta and Mimansa. Just as there are differences between the Darshanas, there are also differences within the approach to yoga. Some people focus on physical exercises, others on mental concentration. Still others want to practise their breathing techniques through yoga. Asceticism is also a form that has found its place within yoga.

The most common form of yoga taught in Europe as well as in America is based on a variant that has its roots in the 19th century. It often includes western esoteric ideas, physical training, psychological components and sometimes scientific assumptions. Western yoga is less to be found in the Hindu teachings, but mainly within the New Age community. According to experts, the complexity of traditional Indian yoga is greater than that of the modern Western version.

Throughout history, especially when yoga was practiced in the areas of relaxation and mind control, certain substances were used. Today, yogis and yoginis increasingly use CBD to put themselves in the right state of mind. Cannabidiol, CBD for short, is one of over 100 different cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. Apart from CBD, THC is the most well-known. However, THC is illegal in many western countries such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland. CBD, on the other hand, can be bought legally. The reason is that CBD, in contrast to THC, does not have a psychoactive effect, does not cause intoxication and of course does not cause addiction. CBD products within the European Union may contain 0.2% THC in order to be legally traded. The situation is different in Switzerland. In Switzerland, a THC content of 1 % in CBD products is permitted by law.

What is yoga?

More than 2,700 years ago breathing exercises were described in the Upanishads. In these scripts, meditation exercises were already described in detail. Over the centuries, yoga found its way more and more deeply into the society and thinking of India. The scholar Patanjali is not regarded as the founder, but as the first to systematically write down the yoga teachings. He summarised the mnemonics of yoga, also called sutras, in four books.

For a long time, yoga was considered to be an exclusively spiritual path which, characterised by meditation, should lead to enlightenment. In the meantime, this goal has given way to strengthening the body within many different asanas. Here it is important that a strengthened body can spend as long as possible in a meditation position such as the lotus position.

Yoga exercises practiced today, especially in the western world, are supposed to bring the psyche and the body into harmony. Instead of supporting a philosophical current of thought, the physical techniques are currently almost exclusively taught in teaching units. Here the yoga trainers combine breathing exercises, phases of deep relaxation and meditation exercises. Improved vitality and an attitude of inner serenity are among the goals of Western yoga classes.

Rarely in Europe is the original end point of traditional yoga given as a goal. This goal would involve self-improvement, the curbing of desires and self-purification.

Both paths, the European-modern and the Indian-traditional, combine mainly non-scientific, spiritual elements. Likewise, in both directions there are combinations of postures, certain movements, breathing exercises and the use of mantras. Chakras, the so-called energy centres in the body, are also important in both variations.

Well-known yoga exercises

In the yoga exercises, everyone who practises them will find the ones that suit them. There is an almost infinite number of yoga exercises. Popular and well-known are, for example, the downward facing dog, the warrior, the lotus position, the headstand and the tree.

cbd-yoga

One of the most famous yoga exercises is probably the downward facing dog. Here the body forms an inverted V. The downward facing dog is responsible for strengthening the arms and shoulder muscles. This posture also promotes blood circulation to the head. Users of the downward facing dog say that this exercise helps with tension and back pain. An important part of this exercise is to deepen the breathing and to refresh the whole body. 

The warrior is also a very well-known exercise from the yoga cosmos. The upper part of the body is turned to the right via a straddle and a twisted right foot. Then the knee is bent. At the end, stretch your arms to the height of your shoulders. According to many yogis and yoginis, the warrior is good for giving stability to the body and concentration to the mind.

The lotus position is interwoven with yoga like no other exercise. This is one of the basic exercises for meditation. The seating position is intended to help you experience complete mental clarity. Flexible hips are important for a perfect lotus position. In the lotus position you sit upright and cross your legs. These then lie on top of each other. As long as the back remains as straight as possible, it is possible to sit still for a very long time in the lotus position. Users say that the lotus position brings physical stability and helps them to achieve clarity.

The headstand is a yoga posture for advanced students and a so-called king asana. According to yoga trainers, the exercise should only be tried out under their guidance. The exercise is said to stimulate blood circulation in the body, improve memory, be excellent for the sense of balance and improve numerous bodily functions. The headstand is also intended to strengthen the back, arm and shoulder muscles.

If pictures of people are shown doing yoga, they are often standing doing the tree exercise in a park. In this exercise you stand, lift one sole of your foot to the inside of the other leg and bring your hands together in front of your chest. You can also stretch your arms over your head. The tree should help to improve your sense of balance and your ability to concentrate. A strengthening of the whole body should also occur.

CBD and yoga – How cannabidiol works

Many people in western industrial nations use yoga to relax, recharge their batteries and refocus their minds on the essentials. Tools for many yoga practitioners are candles, incense (sticks, cones, …) or relaxing music. Since CBD can be sold freely and legally within the European Union, it has found its way into the yoga scene. There are a number of studies about the links between CBD and yoga.

Studies and effects – CBD and yoga

A study[1] from 2018, published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, shows how CBD oil, for example, can support yoga. According to the results, CBD oil can improve the focus of the person during yoga as well as meditation. Through the receptors of the endo-cannabinoid system, certain processes in the brain can be activated and thought should be clearer. The amazing thing is that the rest of the brain seems to “rest” in the process.

Several studies like this one[2]  show that CBD is able to relieve or even stop pain in the muscles, among other things. This also indirectly increases the flexibility of the human body. Since many yoga exercises require a high degree of flexibility, CBD can help to achieve the desired yoga position more quickly by relieving pain.

At the end of many yoga sessions an exercise called Shavasana follows. This serves to focus on your own breathing. CBD with its calming effect can help to make the performing of this exercise relaxed over a longer period of time. The reason, according to a study[3], is that it suppresses the corresponding enzyme that is responsible for breaking down anandamide. Anandamide contributes to physical well-being.

A practical example shows how yoga and CBD work together. The Cannabliss Yoga Association[4] was founded in the UK. The members meet and do yoga exercises together. Each of the participants wears a patch that is infused with CBD.

Serotonin and dopamine can have a positive effect on learning and concentration skills. According to one study[5], CBD can help raise serotonin levels so that concentration remains high during activities such as a yoga exercise. Dopamine can also play a key role in this context. If dopamine levels are consistently high, it can help with learning and a longer period of concentration. According to one study[6], CBD has the ability to keep dopamine levels high within the body.

Inflammation can often prevent people from practising yoga. According to one study[7], CBD can be very effective against inflammation. The results of the study show that CBD has a positive influence on the inflammatory environment of the respective colon cultures. CBD can therefore also help in yoga when inflammation and the resulting pain make exercise difficult.

A more corpulent body can have problems doing a yoga exercise correctly and achieving the desired goal. Weight loss can be a helpful strategy here. CBD and yoga can also be a sensible and health-promoting combination. In a Korean study[8], researchers came to the conclusion that CBD, through gene and protein stimulation, can drive both fat loss and oxidation via the metabolism. Another study[9] shows that CBD has a positive effect on overweight people. By influencing the mitochondria, CBD can be helpful for the breakdown of the body’s own fat. This prevents the excessive build-up of fat. This means that people who are overweight can lose it more quickly and do more demanding yoga exercises.

CBD and meditation

Many users of CBD report that from a certain dose on, a similar feeling can be experienced as when doing extensive and relaxing meditation. Especially for people who do not have the time for a long and fulfilling meditation in everyday life, CBD offers the possibility of turbo meditation, so to speak. This does not mean that suddenly there is hectic meditation – quite the contrary. CBD can shorten the time until the desired state of meditation within yoga is actually reached.

Stress reduction through CBD and yoga

If you are looking for a way to reduce everyday stress through yoga, CBD can provide considerable support. In a study[1] it was shown that CBD can help in many ways to reduce traumatic stress. The researchers particularly emphasized the interactions between the endo-cannabinoid system, the intake of CBD and the relief of stress symptoms. This effect can mean more stress-free and thus tension-relieving meditation for people who are involved in yoga.

How cannabidiol and yoga unite psyche and body

Yoga is said to be able to bring the body into a certain state of rest and balance. This effect can also be achieved by taking various CBD products such as …

– CBD oils,

CBD liquids,

– CBD tablets,

CBD food

… and many more. As mentioned above, both body and mind can be influenced by CBD. Something similar is said about yoga. The union of the physical with the psyche can lead to a state of contentment. If yoga and CBD, this can happen more quickly and can also be incorporated into a hectic and busy everyday life.

Relaxation through CBD oil

For many people, the focus of yoga is not on physical exercise or the health aspect, but on relaxation. The “problems” here are, on the one hand, that there is often not enough time for this and, on the other hand, that the relaxation achieved through yoga does not last long. Both “problems” of relaxation can be solved with CBD. The tension-relieving effect of CBD can quickly lead to a yoga-like relief of mind and body.

With an appropriate dosage this relief can be maintained for a longer period of time compared to yoga.

CBD hemp and yoga in the right dosage

A personal and individual dosage is a sensible solution for CBD products, as there is no exact quantity that will have the same effect on all people. In general, one can say about the CBD dosage for yoga that one should slowly approach the desired effect. If CBD should be combined with a particular yoga exercise, it is advisable to use a relatively low dose at the beginning. One should slowly increase the dosage of CBD in combination with yoga to the point where the hoped-for effect occurs.

It must be said that if an undesirable effect occurs, the dosage of CBD in yoga should be reduced to a lower level. As a matter of principle, attention should be paid to the manufacturer’s dosage suggestion.

Conclusion


  • Yoga in its traditional form has a diverse number of different philosophical trends, which are subsumed under the umbrella of Hinduism and partly Buddhism. In the western world, the thinking behind yoga has been largely ignored. Here the physical and psychological effects of breathing and physical exercises are built upon.
  • CBD, one of the 100 cannabinoids of the hemp plant, can contribute to making yoga a better experience with its rich positive properties. On the one hand, it can relieve certain physical processes such as inflammation and pain, so that free yoga can be practised. On the other hand, CBD creates a kind of “turbo-yoga”.
  • With the help of CBD, you can reach certain desired states of mind gently but nevertheless faster than with yoga alone. Especially with regard to stress reduction, an interaction of CBD and yoga can lead to relaxing results.


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6066583/ – 28.08.2020


[1] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2018.02009/full – 28.08.2020

[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29786144/ – 28.08.2020

[3] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22832859/ – 28.08.2020

[4] https://sites.google.com/site/cannablissyogaclub/services – 28.08.2020

[5]https://www.theroc.us/researchlibrary/Agonistic%20Properties%20of%20Cannabidiol%20at%205-HT1a%20Receptors.pdf – 28.08.2020

[6] http://cifas.us/analyses/french.pdf – 28.08.2020

[8] https://www.worldhealth.net/news/cbd-and-metabolism/ – 28.08.2020

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5958190/ – 28.08.2020

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About the author

Kathi Klundt

Kathi Klundt