How CBD can help elevate your yoga practice
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CBD and yoga share many benefits in that they both produce calming mental and physical effects.
While CBD (cannabidiol) won’t get you high, it can take your yoga practice to another level in how it helps to soothe muscles, ease inflammation, increase focus, and create an even better mind-body connection—all benefits to the body that yoga is known for. According to a study by Psychology Today, more than 90% of people who practice yoga do so for physical exercise, improved health, or stress management. Yoga can increase your flexibility, improve balance, and even decrease your cholesterol.
The benefits of yoga have helped promote the practice in more than 192 countries around the world, with an approximate 2 billion people or yogis who find physical and mental comfort on the mat.
While CBD continues to climb into mainstream awareness, CBD and yoga together have shown increased benefits when paired together. Ready to take CBD to the mat? We’ll go through the reasons why.
CBD and Yoga: Mind-body connectivity
Yoga is known to help ease the mind and bring relaxation throughout the body. While there are many styles of yoga, in its whole it is a practice that combines physical exercise, breath control, relaxation, positive thinking and meditation to achieve harmony in the body and mind. The diaphragmatic breathing techniques focused on in yoga—also referred to as Ujayi breath—is a big part in helping to create this mind-body connection that brings an overall calming state to the body. These deep, focused breathing techniques helps the body move out of the sympathetic nervous system (the body’s “fight or flight” response system that boosts the body’s alertness, heart rate, and blood into the muscles) to the parasympathetic response, which prevents the body from overworking and restores the body to a calm and composed, rested state.
CBD also works to naturally calm the mind and body, without the psychoactive properties of THC that make you high. CBD is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant (hemp and marijuana), which reacts with our body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS), a group of cannabinoid receptors in the central nervous system. According to Project CBD, by scientific journalists Martin A. Lee and Fred Gardner, CBD changes the way the ECS reacts with cannabinoids to regulate physiological systems in the brain and body, achieving equilibrium and balance. This homeostasis promotes physical and mental balance, as well as connectivity and stability throughout the body—the type of balance that can help both the mind and body relax.
CBD and yoga together can help calm our busy minds and ease tension physically to achieve mind-body calmness. CBD is a natural fit for those who practice more of a restorative or gentle yoga practice but can also work to help focus the mind and clear your thoughts for a quicker flow, or vinyasa style. CBD works to sharpen focus by allowing increased serotonin (the “happy” chemical) to flow to your brain. This increase in serotonin can lead to less anxiety, allowing the mind and body to find calmness and focus on your poses as opposed to your to-do lists.
How CBD prolongs feelings of Savasana
Savasana is a familiar term for yogis—it’s a pose that usually comes at the end of the class to complete the practice. It involves gradually relaxing one body part at a time, one muscle at a time, and one thought at a time; it’s done so by lying on your back, known as the corpse pose. It’s been said that doing this practice daily helps to condition the body to release stress and can improve your sense of physical and emotional well-being.
CBD can help to enhance and prolong the feelings of Savasana naturally. Our brains automatically produce and release anandamide, a neurotransmitter that creates blissful or euphoric feelings. Anandamide, like other neurotransmitters, break down quickly in the body; however CBD works to suppress the enzymes that break down or decrease anandamide, therefore prolonging those feelings of bliss after you roll up your mat. We should note that ‘ananda’ also means ‘bliss’ in Sanskrit and by combining CBD and yoga those happy feelings will not only be enhanced but remain with you longer.
Reducing inflammation and soreness
Those who practice Ashtanga Vinyasa know it can be a quick flow killer workout, sometimes causing soreness in muscles and joints just like any other physical exercise. During a workout, the body relies on glucose and adenosine triphosphate (or ATP) for energy to work the muscles. When these are depleted the body needs more oxygen to create more ATP, meaning blood is pumped into the working muscles to deliver additional oxygen. Without enough oxygen, lactic acid occurs typically 30-60 minutes after a workout. Lactic acid buildup can result in muscle pain, cramps, and muscular fatigue.
Cortisol, the stress hormone breaks down muscle tissue, and high-intensity workouts increase cortisol levels. CBD regulates homeostasis and has anti-carbolic properties that help regulate cortisol levels and help to increase muscle growth by limiting the retention of cortisol related fat. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD helps with muscles’ recovery and regeneration time, allowing natural, faster repair, reduced soreness and inflammation.
CBD can be taken before your workout as it calms down the nervous system, helping to prevent muscle soreness and tension in the body. It can also be taken post-workout to help rebuild the damage to muscles that occurred during the workout. Therefore, CBD helps to prevent inflammation and soreness from the outset and can also aid in the body’s recovery afterwards, whether it’s yoga, weightlifting or running.
What form of CBD is best for you?
CBD comes in many forms, including oils, edibles, capsules, and topicals. It’s a personal preference how you want to ingest or consume CBD. A few drops of CBD oil can be added to your pre-workout beverage like coffee for example, and depending on the dose and consumption method can take between 15-35 minutes to kick in.
Determining your CBD dosage will depend on a few factors including weight range, and whether you want a mild, moderate or strong dose. We recommend starting low and going slow until you find what works best for you. A mild dose can range between 5 mg to 25 mg – depending on your weight. If taking CBD oil, we recommend dropping 0.5-1mL under your tongue and letting it dissolve over about a minute. The dropper that comes with your resolveCBD Oil is clearly marked in 0.25mL increments so you can measure out the exact dosage you need. It’s important to accurately identify the amount of CBD in any product you’re using. Dosing information should be clearly marked on the labels.
CBD is also available as a topical. CBD creams or balms can be applied post-workout to help ease soreness and muscle pain, targeting the areas you need it most.
The type of CBD should also be considered. CBD comes in full spectrum, broad spectrum and isolate extractions.
Full spectrum CBD is an extract that contains other cannabinoids found in the whole plant in addition to CBD (e.g. CBN, CBG, CBC, etc.) The compound is not extracted or isolated further. This combination of cannabinoids work together to increase the benefits of CBD, known as the entourage effect. When derived from hemp the THC in this extract is very low, however when derived from traditional cannabis the levels of THC can be substantial.
Broad spectrum CBD also contains all the cannabinoids found in the plant, except the THC has been removed. As a result, there are no risks of the effects of THC, especially when derived from cannabis (when derived from hemp, THC is naturally low and is therefore less common for broad spectrum extracts).
CBD Isolate is 99% pure CBD, in which all cannabinoids except CBD have been removed during the refining process.
Studies have shown that taking Full Spectrum CBD is more beneficial than CBD Isolate, as each cannabinoid works together to amplify benefits. When considering which CBD products to try, be aware of the full spectrum vs. isolate distinction. If this isn’t disclosed, chances are it’s an isolate product.
CBD and yoga both work to naturally improve your state of mind and body. When put together, you’ll be able to focus more on your practice as well as heal your muscles and joints after a class. CBD and yoga can help prolong that feeling of Savasana, something we could all use day-to-day and is reason enough to bring CBD to the mat.