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Doing Yoga High: Good Idea or Bad Idea?

Yoga and Marijuana

Marijuana is of course not inherently associated with yoga practice. However, many people who practice yoga also partake in recreational marijuana use. There are tons of posts out there on the Internet about the best strains to smoke while doing yoga, what poses to do, and guides on pairing the two. It’s a culture that is commonly seen online and at in-person yoga classes. Although this may work for some people in the short term, there are many reasons yogis shouldn’t smoke marijuana.

Many people don’t realize that marijuana can greatly impact the ways our brains develop, and many people experience depression after quitting smoking marijuana, as CrownviewCI.com points out.

Why Do People Smoke and Practice?

There are many reasons that marijuana and yoga go together. From the culture of smokers and yogis to the perceived increase of peace and ease, many yogis turn toward marijuana with the hope that it will help their practice. Here are a few reasons yogis choose to smoke marijuana.

The Culture

Although it is of course a huge generalization, there is a lot of crossover between marijuana smokers and yogis. The marijuana culture in the United States is often one of self-awareness, openness, and practicing investigation of our experience. Although not every yogi smokes and not every smoker practices yoga, there is a fair amount of natural crossover among the two communities.

Ease and Peace

One of the effects of marijuana is that users may experience a sense of ease and wellbeing which may seem to lend itself well to yoga practice. When we’re practicing yoga, it may seem enticing to smoke before as we believe it will help us to relax and be at ease during our practice.

Taking Care of Our Bodies

Many people experience some sort of chronic pain, and marijuana may be an effective way to treat such pain. For some people, smoking marijuana is an act of self-care and a safer alternative to addictive painkillers. Although this may not be the biggest reason people cross marijuana and yoga, it is a reason many people do so.

Dangers of Marijuana UseThe Dangers of Marijuana Use

On the other hand, regular marijuana use can be quite dangerous. Although we may think of it as a relatively harmless substance, marijuana can impact us in ways that actually harm our yoga practice. Here are a few ways I’ve seen regular smoking hurt our development in practice.

Loss of Focus

Although it may feel differently, marijuana clouds the mind. We may have the illusion of being focused, but it actually disrupts our ability to concentrate. In yoga, we are working to cultivate some awareness and clarity. People smoke weed to try to help with this, not realizing they are most often actually hindering their focus.

Numbing the Body

As mentioned before, marijuana can help reduce pain and sensitivity. Although this may be a good thing if you’re experiencing chronic pain, it can also be detrimental to our practice. In yoga, we are working to tune into our bodies, know where they are, feel the energy flow, and do what feels right for ourselves. If the body is numbed out, we are not likely to be able to connect deeply with the experience in the physical body.

Confusing a High with Spiritual Ease

One of the major things that happens when we smoke marijuana is we confuse the high with a truer spiritual ease. Often referred to as concentration, samadhi is a state of peaceful concentration. Marijuana may give us the illusion of this experience even though it is actually hindering our progress on the path. Furthermore, the dopamine rush from smoking pot may lead to a disinterest in deeper peace that may come from yoga or meditation practices.


Marijuana has been linked to a condition known as amotivational syndrome. This is when an individual has difficulty motivating themselves to do normally pleasurable activities such as engaging socially, getting work done, etc. Although people may smoke pot and do things, long-term use can lead to this quality of laziness.

Caring for our Bodies

Although marijuana is not as bad for the lungs or heart as tobacco is, there is still evidence to suggest marijuana causes chronic bronchitis, increased risk of infection, and increased risk of death from hypertension. Yoga is about caring for our bodies, and regular marijuana use isn’t really in line with taking care.

Marijuana Addiction

Yoga can be great for our mental health and there are many people who use yoga for recovery. Marijuana, on the other hand, can cause addiction. It’s estimated that about nine percent of people who try marijuana become dependent at some point in their lives. This is much lower than the dependency rate of other substances like alcohol, tobacco, and opioids, but still significant. This means almost one out of every ten people who smoke marijuana in their lives will grow dependent, and it can be quite difficult to experience marijuana addiction.

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