Yoga classes follow a familiar routine: first you start out with a nice relaxing mountain pose, straightening your legs and reaching for the sky. Then it’s down onto your hands and knees, preparing for downward-facing dog. Minutes later, you’re swinging your left leg forward as you ease into warrior II, bending your knees and hoping you don’t look like a beginner yogi. Just when you think you can’t hold it another moment, it’s time to relax into corpse pose — and that’s when you realize that your body is aching all over.
This doesn’t mean you should give up your favorite yoga class — it just means you might need a little boost to get the most out of it. That’s where CBD can help. This natural and non-psychoactive remedy is well-suited to support your mind and body as you move through your practice into more challenging yoga poses (asanas) and sequences (vinyasas).
Like the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In this case, what you’re trying to prevent is inflammation, one of the main causes of soreness and yoga injuries. Taking CBD before your class can be a great way to make sure it doesn’t interfere with your practice.
Acute inflammation is a common condition that the vast majority of Americans experience at some point, while others suffer from ongoing, chronic inflammation. In both cases, the condition causes stiffness and pain, limiting your flexibility and stamina on the mat. Simple movements like trying to switch sides during a tree pose can be painful and zap the joy from your practice. The good news is that CBD is proven to provide relief for people dealing with these issues.
Research shows that CBD is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory. It works with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a network of receptors that controls many important functions, to relax the immune system’s inflammatory response. This can help to reduce swelling around the joints and muscles. So, taking CBD before your class — whether that’s via a quick vape or a dash of oil in your morning green tea — can help to loosen you up nicely before you hit the mat.
During your class, the last thing you want is to be stressing out about bills or trying to decide on what you’re going to cook for dinner that evening. A clear, focused mind is key to a fulfilling practice, and the deep breathing exercises that yoga offers are a great way to achieve this. Still, sometimes anxiety can get in the way.
Every yoga teacher on the planet will tell you to “leave your worries at the door,” but often times this is easier said than done. Relaxing and concentrating can be challenging under the best of circumstances (which presents obvious problems when you’re trying to wrangle your body into crane pose), but it’s especially difficult when you’re fretting about the report due tomorrow at work — or what the person behind you thinks of your technique.
Here’s where CBD can help. Studies indicate that it has the ability to reduce stress and anxiety — again, by interacting with the ECS. In fact, it’s so effective that it can be used to treat even the most severe anxiety symptoms like panic attacks.
Vaping CBD before your yoga class is the fastest way to get its anti-anxiety benefits, but you can also try using edibles, tinctures, or topicals if vaping isn’t for you. Just make sure to eat or apply them at least an hour before class so they have time to take effect.
Some forms of yoga (such as yin yoga) are gentle on the body, but others like ashtanga can be physically demanding — and sometimes even grueling. This is especially true for more advanced classes, where complex poses and intense, fast-moving sequences can push people to the limits of their physical endurance.
Giving the body time to recover after strenuous workouts like these is essential, and sleep is the best way to do it. Exercising tears the muscle fibers, and sleep is when they’re repaired and strengthened. However, if you’re like most Americans, you probably don’t get enough sleep, meaning that the little aches and pains that started during last week’s yoga class can end up have a cumulative effect, resulting in injury or simply a lack of ability to continue practicing.
CBD can help you get a better night’s sleep, though the way it does this might sound counter-intuitive. Rather than knocking you out at night, it keeps you more awake during the day. In other words, it regulates your sleep-wake cycle — an internal mechanism that, when working properly, helps you avoid both the unintentional 4 p.m. nap and the unwanted 4 a.m. franticness.
To be clear, CBD isn’t a miracle drug and it won’t instantly turn you into a better yoga practitioner — but that’s not really the point of the practice in the first place. All it can do is help you reach your best potential, and CBD can provide a helping hand.