A few weeks ago, we covered a story on Denver’s new status as the first American city to allow marijuana in yoga studios. (There are limitations, BTW.) While we found the new law to provoke interest, we were more intrigued by the response from our readers. The response was of varying opinions, and encouraged us to dive deeper into the topic.
We should add that the rule still forbids actually smoking inside the yoga studio, though vapes and edibles are welcome. However, if the yoga studio has a courtyard, or outdoor patio, practitioners are welcome to use that space to smoke. So to clarify, there probably won’t be any actual smoke in the studios, but there might be some nearby.
"You have seen a dramatic rise in arrests in Colorado for public consumption of pot. People are using it in the parks and sidewalks where they shouldn’t,” said Kayvan Khalatbari, co-owner of Denver Relief Consulting, who campaigned in favor of the initiative. “Our hope is that [Initiative 300] will reduce public consumption.”
Many of our readers disagreed. Some were concerned that smoking could lead to a disconnect that goes against the very core of yoga: the idea that a yoga practice allows us to tap into our truest selves, and that means without any added substances.
Others noted that for those suffering from ADHD or psychological disorders, taking a few hits before class can help to quell a sandstorm of thoughts that might normally interrupt one’s practice.
Another issue includes yogis who have come to the practice to face addiction. Will having exposure to marijuana induce the temptation to relapse? This is a concern we’ve also seen with beer and wine yoga, which has also been popping up all over the country.
And while interested studios haven’t yet worked out the logistics, there are several who are looking into Ordinance 300 to see if they can make the new rules work for them. (It should also be noted that the city of Denver is still fine-tuning the applications of the ordinances, and so it’s hard to say how exactly the law is going to work with yoga and other fitness studios.)
Owner Jasmine Anderson of Rhythm Revolution, a yoga and group cycling studio, plans to apply of a permit with the idea that marijuana could enhanced some of the sensory-enhancing qualities that come along with working out.
"When we talk about tapping into the senses, using cannabis as an extra add-on could potentially heighten the sensory experience," Jasmine says in an interview with 9 News of Colorado.
The presence of marijuana in a yoga practice has been a topic of division for quite some time. The most diehard advocates see the drug as a natural way of heightening one’s spiritual practice, using the Vedas, or sacred Hindu texts, as evidence or the sacredness of the herb. According to the Vedas, cannabis is one of the five sacred plants, and can help users attain delight, lose fear, and release anxiety.
And yet, the feelings produced by marijuana use can also be described as a “maya” or veil of illusion. Rather than find an enriching experience from within, marijuana asks that we look for external stimulation.
While we can’t yet say for sure, there is speculation that any studio permitting weed will advertise that it’s part of that specific class. In other words, a yogi won’t walk into class only to be blown away by a wave of marijuana smoke. Yogis of all opinions, whether they smoke before class, vape during a specialized session, or refrain entirely, will likely still be able to find a studio that fits their needs.