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Old 03-28-2007, 03:05 PM   #1
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Marijuana and yoga

Hi. I'm a Senior Editor with HIGH TIMES magazine. For those who may not know, HIGH TIMES has been around nearly 35 years and is considered the Bible of cannabis. I am a former fitness pro and star aerobic instructor who spent 15 yrs in the fitness industry. Hired many yoga instructors in my time. From experience, I know many exercisers like to get high prior to working out. And I know that many yoga practitioners feel equally favorable toward catching a buzz prior to class. It helps, they say. "It make me feel more in tune with my body," more than one person has stated. How do you feel about yoga and marijuana. Are they compatible?
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Old 03-28-2007, 09:45 PM   #2
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Yogis like to have a good diet and since that stuff gives you the munchies it messes up the eating habits
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Old 03-28-2007, 10:34 PM   #3
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The use of marijuana or tobacco, meat or sugar, wine or water would depend on the purpose of ones practice and thus the purpose of ones life and their perceived actions toward those purposes.

Some do not see a purpose to Yoga beyond "it feels good" or "I burn calories" while others use it to raise the flag of their spirituality up the pole to see who will salute. And there are many positions in between, some more free from Ego than others. This is the continuum from which the question is answered.

For me my practice is about feeling more, becoming more sensitive, more aware. That feeling, sensitivity, and awareness germinates in the central nervous system. My work, in my practice, for my life, my dharma, is to work organically to be more connected to the central channel - the sushumna nadi, the soul, the heart center.

Those things which prevent the nervous system from it's job, things which alter, block or things which do the work for me instead of me training the organic body to learn, these things I do not put in my system. Marijuana (neurotransmitter release inhibitor) is included. I don't drink alcohol (though I used to) by choice, not because I have a problem with it. I do not eat red meat as a choice, not because I'm an animal rights activist. For these same reasons I do not drink coffee and am now trying to eliminate refined sugars.

So for me, at this stage of my life, my practice, my path, marijuana is not necessary. For others it may be.

"Hapiness is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose"
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Old 03-29-2007, 10:25 AM   #4
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Very incisive. Thanks. I'm reminded of what Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA great, once said: that he loved mj, but it never helped him shoot a better jump shot. But MJ does seem to enhance yoga for many. Some report they are able to unhook their minds from the scheduled, linear experience our daily lives can often be, allowing them to engage themselves more immediately in their yoga class. To each his own, I guess. Anybody else?
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Old 03-29-2007, 12:48 PM   #5
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Thank you. It's a very important question not for the conclusion but to stimulate a thought process around "WTF am I doing?".

Just to turn the other side of the "it helps me.." coin; some people also say they can drive perfectly fine when intoxicated and others "feel" it is a coffee, and not sleep that is in their best interest relative to fatigue.

Another larger question, when using mind altering substances is the pendulum effect. "Am I hiding", as it can be very easy to receede from life using THC (or alcohol or pharmaceutical grade cocaine). At that point one is again out of balance, just in another direction.

Some may be able to "unhook their mind" but they're not actually doing the work now are they? Therefore when they come down the only way they can "evolve", if that it the experience leading one to evolution, is to roll another. The unhooking you mention IS the work and it's difficult. Change is difficult, growth is difficult.

A psychadelic experience (carlos castaneda teachings of don juan) can certainly open pathways and I've "been there and done that" though a good 25 years ago. But as a daily practice I don't think "it enhances yoga" can really be put forth as a solid concept. It enhances something (other than the munchies offered above) but I don't think it's yoga that is being enhanced.

You are quite right though, to each their own. If a weekly joint helps you, the toker, to evolve, if it brings something to your life, if you can look back and see that you've changed, grown, matured, that is something. If you have let go of attachment and aversion, if your sensations are heightened around the clock, if you are more mindful of words before they leave you lips, your language has refined and thus so has your mind, you've connected more deeply with your purpose for being here and you more authentically express outwardly that light this is YOU within, then you are being served by your life choices.
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Old 03-29-2007, 07:54 PM   #6
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I like your reasoning, especially on diet. I drink rarely, never use any drugs, limit my red meat consuption and abstain from things like coffee and soft drinks becauseof the high sugar content.

I just think that if a person needs to use MJ in order to enhance their practice, there's a deeper roadblock within themselves they need to explore and rid themselves of.
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Old 03-30-2007, 07:39 AM   #7
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I smoke occasionally, but never before an asana practice. I would think that I would focus less if I was high.
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Old 03-30-2007, 10:43 AM   #8
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Yoga in practice and marijuana are for me more comparable than compatible. The higer you are more you see.
And the difference for me is that I rely on yoga.
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Old 03-30-2007, 01:12 PM   #9
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Just talked to a yoga instructor who works for a major chain of resorts. She says she likes to smoke after yoga because at that point, she's extremely relaxed and more fully enjoys the sensation of being "high."
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Old 03-30-2007, 01:43 PM   #10
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I never tried any drug, so my opinion is not well founded. But I wonder if we care about the quality of our food to the level what most people find ridiculous or superstitious, how can a drug be advised ?
Could someone describe the experience given by marijuana ?
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Old 03-30-2007, 01:49 PM   #11
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It's different for everyone. And it depends on the strain. Marijuana horticulture is very advanced and each strain generates different sensations. However, a general description of the marijuana high is a feeling of euphoria and relaxation. Some people get giddy, some get lethargic, some get sleepy, some get energized, some get ravenous for food, some get introspective. Many people like it for exercise. Weightlifters very often say that it relieves the monotony of the process. Thanks for responding!
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Old 03-30-2007, 02:58 PM   #12
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Is it the one supposed not to cause addiction ? ( I am sceptical, because from my personal experience, everything what gives pleasure, causes addiction)
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Old 04-01-2007, 07:04 PM   #13
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I smoke every now and then, and I currently do Yoga regularly. However, I don't do them together, because they represent different parts of my life. I do Yoga in the morning before work as a way to keep myself focused and driven. I smoke as a a form of recreation, and usually only do it when I am slacking off from work and such.

Of course, that's just me. As has been said already, everybody does Yoga as well as marijuana for different reasons. Plus, both affect people differently.
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Old 04-02-2007, 01:13 AM   #14
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Is it the one supposed not to cause addiction ? ( I am sceptical, because from my personal experience, everything what gives pleasure, causes addiction)
I enjoy also walking in a nature or travelling to the new countries ... I think is more about if we are able afterwards to let it go and not just thinking when we can repeat it. I believe we can learn this.
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Old 04-02-2007, 09:02 AM   #15
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Is it the one supposed not to cause addiction ? ( I am sceptical, because from my personal experience, everything what gives pleasure, causes addiction)
Wow, that's kind of extreme. Marijuana can be "psychologically addictive" (if such a thing exists), but I've certainly come across yoga "addicts," too, who can't imagine a day without it. Maybe we should redefine terms: what is addiction? Still, we shouldn't over-intellectualize the issue. In simple terms, we like to do what we like to do. And if it doesn't hurt our bodies or others, who's to say what's appropriate?
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Old 04-03-2007, 12:54 PM   #16
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Maybe I was too judgemental.
I really can't talk against what I don't know. But I think my practice won't be hindered by the absence of marijuana.
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Old 04-03-2007, 01:02 PM   #17
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I enjoy also walking in a nature or travelling to the new countries ... I think is more about if we are able afterwards to let it go and not just thinking when we can repeat it. I believe we can learn this.
Well, good for you than. I'm also having a beer once in a while, for it's relaxing effects, but I don't rely on that at all. If I would, that would be addiction. So I think we can conclude, that as long as we don't depend on marijuana to experience certain states, we are safe.
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Old 04-03-2007, 03:18 PM   #18
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When using the yogic framework as a template on a topic like this it is the Kleshas that guide us (as yogis).

In brief they are
Avidya - ignorance
Asmita - ego
Raga - attachment
Dvesha - aversion
Abhinivesha - fear of death

These are the mental obstacles to our evolution, our enlightenment.
In the case of addiction, whether it is chocolate chip cookies or budweiser the larger question is "what is the nature of my attachment?". AND what is the nature of my aversion because they tend to lead into each other the way a pendulum swings from one side to the next.

That larger question leads to the larger question of whether the behavior serves one's dharma or yogic purpose. If, for example, one is here to abuse one's spouse then it might be very appropriate for that person to drink to excess. Keep in mind this is only an outlandish example to make a point. How does it serve the life mission of YOU? If it does, retain it. If it doesn't , move along.
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Old 04-04-2007, 04:03 AM   #19
Madelaine heinemann
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Of all my vasana, cannibis has been one of my strongest. I use to smoke, I used to really enjoy it, and as some have described the heightened sensitivity is very seductive when practicing yoga, it seems that because of the relaxation effect you are able to release more in postures.

I began to do a personal comparison making notes of effects during practice and after the next day. I compared practices with and without, during and after (next day , day after , day after that etc) leaving min 2 weeks gap between smoking and non smoking trials. My personal experience was, although cannibis seemed to enhance my practice, relaxation, feeling of oneness and flexibility while high. The next morning it had the opposite effect, I was stiffer, tenser, duller, because I smoked there was a physical lump of congestion in my chest which effected my breathing. I was emotionally physically , mentally and spiritually duller, and this detrimentally effected my practice the next day. I felt crap compared to the non cannibis weeks. and I became aware how long it took, to get out of my system. I tried eating it instead, to see the effects, very similar but less chest congestion. I had to admit to myself that during non cannibis weeks I felt more clarity, and although I didn't immediately get the instant increased sensitivity and high, what I did experience was more sustainabe, throughout the day, night. My practice physical/emotional /psycological/spiritual was more balanced, (less swings highs/lows). Most practice happens off the mat, so this was important to me. As I did this test I became increasingly uncomfortable with taking cannibis, although the habitual patterns were still strong (associations of sensual and social pleasure, that had actually become habitual and monotinous) , part of me was saying, ahimsa, because I had really felt the harm it was doing me and could not deny its effect any more.

Gradually, I stopped because I relalised it was creating conflict in me, and I could not pretend I was getting any benifits anymore, I had proved to myself that the short term high was very low compared to the benifits of consistent regular straight practice for me. (patanjali 2.16 ) At the end of the day if breath is life/Self I felt I was cutting myself of from it.

5 yrs on with consistant regualr practice I experience increased sensitivity,and awareness more of the time. Life is my practice, I have the pleasure of fully experiencing life challanges and difficulties without the need to dull the pain or stimulate more pleasure. If someone offers me a smoke I haven't taken it, not becuse of any moral issue or even fear I may start again, just becuse I no longer can see the point.

Referring to previous threads yes, attraction to pleasure and eversion to pain has been a big part of this process. But at the end it was ahimsa non harming that cast the die for me, to reach out with tenderness and care to all living things I had to have this same care for myself, the dullness cannibis created in me felt like an obstacle to my desired union with the divine (yes, I'm still working with desire!) . I am gratefull to all experiences, our lives are the path.

This account is totally subjective, and I am not saying that these are the effects cannibis has on anyone else, this was just my experience at that time. It could be argued that it was only when I percieved the effects as negative that it did me any harm, and thus it was approprite to stop. Without my enquirey who knows?

Good luck on the path wherever it takes you, with or without cannibis!
Om shanti
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Old 04-04-2007, 06:37 AM   #20
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Thanks Madelaine, for sharing your personal experience. It really clarifies this topic for me.
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Old 04-04-2007, 09:19 AM   #21
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Madelaine--Thanks for taking the time to address the issue so succinctly. HIGH TIMES magazine will be addressing the questions I've posed in the future. The responses from everyone have been extremely gratifying. This issue will be handled in a balanced fashion.
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Old 04-06-2007, 05:47 AM   #22
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Well, good for you than. I'm also having a beer once in a while, for it's relaxing effects, but I don't rely on that at all. If I would, that would be addiction. So I think we can conclude, that as long as we don't depend on marijuana to experience certain states, we are safe.
Hubert,

the day I wrote I was really inspired by commentary of Sri Swami Satchidananda on Yoga Sutras. A part of his commentary on sutra II/15 is:...it's all right to have anything, as long as you don't let these things bring you anxiety and fear. If they come to you, let them come; enjoy their presence. But when they go, enjoy their departure too....

But my post didn't really touched the topic about marijuana and was also not suitable answer to you. Apologies, if needed?
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Old 04-08-2007, 02:13 PM   #23
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Hello everyone, this is an interesting subject for me.
I was born with a condition with the sensory information in my eyes being disrupted on its way to the brain, causing an inability to keep them and my head still. It looks like I am always in REM sleep more or less, and I have learned through my practices that it is a chakra and energetic issue.... basically I feel like my energy will not circulate in smooth sucession, rather there are kinks in it which either make my head or some part of my body convulse or otherwise spasm if I attempt to contain them with my attention such as focusing in a particular area of the body.

Generally I am oblivious to it but when meditating it can be challenging to overcome.

It so happens marijuana has been shown to treat this condition however I do not live in a state with a medical marijuana program, lest I would certainly be growing some right now ......

My experience with cannabis has been that it allows a massive amount of energy, which seems to be yang and course in nature (i am not sure of the yoga terms, nor am I sure of how it relates to the chakras and which channels it stimulates) but it has allowed me to penetrate into profound states of stillness, clear and empty mind in which I am aware that my mind is silent, and has even unified my energy channels, one running up, the other down, in the navel allowing me to become clear white light, my total being dissolving into it momentarily, for as long as I could keep my mind absolutely clear and non-judgemental.

It has also allowed deep stretching in yoga.

My dilemma is that I am not sure if it is okay to use this as a tool or a shortcut to attain deep spiritual states, there are so many different ideas. The Buddhists will say even if a psychedelic helps you, you should just meditate on your own anyway.... but some will say psychedelics are spiritual medicine and are okay to use respectfully.........

some will say moderation is the key. Some will say "I will work to elevate you just enough to bring you down"

the issue is why was I born with this? If it is drug karma, it most likely was from alcoholism or perhaps PCP, as they are the only two substances I know of that cause nystagmus...... but what are past lives? See, how do you create reality with your words to either justify or not justify "drug" use when even the very word drug is a word invented to discriminate against "nature" and throughout history up until the US waged war on plants there was no such thing as drug, it was rather called "cannabis" "ganja" "sacrament" "medicine" "holy" etc....... all our holy knowledge of sacred plants has been usurped by our malicious culture.

There is a terrible side to cannabis, the side that comes from smoke inhalation...... I have noted that eating seems quite healthy and fine, and should one have a quality vaporizer this may be acceptable, but smoking in short never is unless perhaps one only does it very very rarely with super potent cannabis so next to no smoke goes in the body......

To think for oneself and to judge, is it alright to use a plant for spiritual exploration....... vs to rely on other people's views?

On the one hand it is like, you don't have to do anything to earn the good feelings, to earn the psychedelic state, you just take and pay attention. This seems lazy and somehow wrong. On the other hand how many people will attain the realization of clear light while being stoned? They sit and watch TV right (i did too it was useless in the end and disrespectful to the plant and to my mind) ... I'm the only person I know that considers marijuana psychedelic and sacred and powerful......

How do I decide what is right to do? Is cannabis a shortcut, are there no such things? Is it foolish to disregard such a useful tool that can allow you to shave excess noise out of your mind and be in your body? Is it a trick, a trap, only changing your brain chemistry and your energetic wiring so that you become state dependent?

Obviously it would be incorporated with regular regimens of sitting meditation and yoga and tai chi and my intention is only to see if it is useful, but there is the fear of something ...... and I wouldn't have that fear if I lived in India amongst a lot of yogis that enjoyed cannabis and hashish, I have it because I live in a Christian nation where you can go to hell for disobediance and "it's more harmful than you think" is flooded into our minds

but what IS objective reality? Does using a psychedelic sacrament hinder your path or accelerate it?

My best experience is with uses doses so subtle that you feel "natural" and "clear" the whole time, yet have the advent of a "shaved mind" and energy being released to flow however it is that the energy flows.

The marijuana dilemma extends into a Christian dilemma which is basically "can i trust myself or are there malicious spiders lurking trying to trick and deceive and kill me [i.e. the devil i.e. hell i.e. doing what authority tells you] i.e. is it just what it is, how it is useful and what it means to me, or what? It is a projection of the heaven hell schism I think.

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Old 04-08-2007, 09:11 PM   #24
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a thought
in yoga the most important thing is breath and freeness of breath. I would think, but I could be wrong, that by breathing in smoke to our lungs, smoke is carcinogens, carcinogens are toxins. Smoking is a concentrated amount of these toxins all at once. therefore concentrating our lungs with these toxins, and therefore effecting our breath untill all these toxins are released. If anyone finds error in anything I have posted, please correct me. But my basic point is, you are affecting the number one part of yoga at a high concentration level
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Old 04-09-2007, 03:14 PM   #25
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My best experience is with uses doses so subtle that you feel "natural" and "clear" the whole time, yet have the advent of a "shaved mind" and energy being released to flow however it is that the energy flows.


Maybe that is your answer? Everybody else can just guess what is the best for you, nobody else is in your body than you.
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Old 04-11-2007, 03:53 PM   #26
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a thought
in yoga the most important thing is breath and freeness of breath. I would think, but I could be wrong, that by breathing in smoke to our lungs, smoke is carcinogens, carcinogens are toxins. Smoking is a concentrated amount of these toxins all at once. therefore concentrating our lungs with these toxins, and therefore effecting our breath untill all these toxins are released. If anyone finds error in anything I have posted, please correct me. But my basic point is, you are affecting the number one part of yoga at a high concentration level
this is completely so, though marijuana has been shown to fight and destroy cancer and THC has many therepeutic properties.
the most important area of emphasis is that smoke inhalation of any kind is directly and verily harmful. in terms of cannabis itself it has been suggested by a recent study that smoking it may not cause cancer, perhaps because of the properties of THC

perhaps from many other things, i have heard tobacco is farmed with radioactive fertilizers or something of the sort which are the biggest contributers to cancer
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Old 02-03-2008, 10:11 PM   #27
Pandara
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To smoke or not to smoke

Dear All,

I know this is a an old thread and saw it through a connection in another post, but if I may I would like to add my two cents. All of the above arguments for and against the use of mj is just fine and I wouldn't like to add anything to those, because they focus on the physical and emotional aspects of using mj.

However, have any of you saw the aura of a person who smoked compared to a non-smoker who just did yoga? I did once and I can tell you the aura of the mj smoker was a mess, murky with dark spots over certain areas, especially the ajna and mooladhara chakra. Compared to the non-smoker's aura which was beautiful and crystal clear with hues of gold and pink and violet. This experience was an immense eye opener for me.
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Old 02-03-2008, 11:40 PM   #28
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Good point!
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Old 02-04-2008, 01:49 PM   #29
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One of my teachers once said: To take drugs in any form is like using a credit in the bank, one day we have to pay it back.
I agree with inner athlete. Why should we try to purify our body and soul through Yoga if we later intoxicate it again with marihunana or other substances?
For me Yoga means to wake up, to be aware and Mariuhana makes the human sleepy and dull.

All the best
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Old 02-05-2008, 02:37 PM   #30
Dream Yogi
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Dear All,

I know this is a an old thread and saw it through a connection in another post, but if I may I would like to add my two cents. All of the above arguments for and against the use of mj is just fine and I wouldn't like to add anything to those, because they focus on the physical and emotional aspects of using mj.

However, have any of you saw the aura of a person who smoked compared to a non-smoker who just did yoga? I did once and I can tell you the aura of the mj smoker was a mess, murky with dark spots over certain areas, especially the ajna and mooladhara chakra. Compared to the non-smoker's aura which was beautiful and crystal clear with hues of gold and pink and violet. This experience was an immense eye opener for me.

interesting, marijuana seems to open one to lower astral realms in the principality of the solar plexus where a lot of fear, terror, and bad energy exists

least this is what happened last time i tried it

at high high doses it spins the heart chakra open into a time-lessness like advanced taiji where one cannot move unless one uses their mind to navigate reality, otherwise they are in eternal stillness for a period of time

and it does calibrate astral vision however it seems to not be worth it as it seems to cause a blockage in the third eye center

i would assume that this also depends on whether the marijuana was cultivated by greedy heartless and evil people or by someone with great love and devotion, as to what plane of consciousness it induces
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