While combining yoga and weed is one of the hottest emerging trends in legal states that have passed recreational cannabis laws, the combination of the two is something that dates back centuries.
Rachael Carlevale, founder of Ganjasana, a Boulder, Colorado-based yoga system, says, “If we look at the roots of yoga practice you can see that ganja was a part of that. In India you see the sadhus sitting in meditation; they are smoking ganja. And if you look at the ancient Vedic texts there is evidence that they used a (cannabis) drink called bhang, for example.”
Ganjasana: Created from the Desire to Restore Health and the Roots of Medicinal Marijuana
Carlevale believes both cannabis and yoga are master healers. She has blended the two together in Ganjasana ceremonies (yoga and cannabis classes), for what she refers to as “a conscious pairing of regenerative cannabis plant medicine with the practices of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness.”
When Carlevale began practicing yoga as a teen, she says she was also using cannabis at the same time.
“It was really something that came together for me, gave me a sense of purpose in this world,” she says.
Before becoming a certified yoga instructor, Carlevale was a pre-med student at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, with a concentration in biology, where she was studying plant and soil sciences. She also danced with the Boston Ballet.
In her senior year, Carlevale travelled to Peru where she studied plant medicine with the Shipibo, an indigenous tribe in the Amazon. While in Peru, she was also introduced to ayahuasca from local shaman in the area. Although Carlevale wouldn’t try ayahuasca herself until years later, the experience she had in Peru changed her life.
Carlevale graduated from UMA in 2010, but instead of continuing onto medical school, she received her Yoga Certification from Shambhava School of Yoga. In the same year, she also earned her Mindfulness Educator Certification from the Greater Good Institute at UC Berkley.
She soon moved to Colorado, a state where she could continue pursuing her love for plant medicine and grow legal organic cannabis. It was during this time that Carlevale developed uterine cancer. Rather than go the route of traditional treatment, she “worked with a naturopath doctor in Durango, who supported natural plant medicine.”
Aside from treating her cancer with medical cannabis, Carlevale developed a healing treatment plan with specialists in acupuncture, nutrition, and kinesiology. Part of her treatment included returning to Peru for an ayahuasca ceremony.
It was during the time Carlevale took to heal that the idea for Ganjasana was born. She took her time in creating her vision, one that came from a need to heal her body, as well as a desire to take back the medicinal roots of cannabis. Eventually this vision became a mission “to help people build a relationship with the plant medicine.”
Carlevale ran two years of studies before opening Ganjasana. “With my educational background,” she says, “I always like to make sure that the programs are being effective and efficient. I did clinical studies; tested different cultivars and strains to see what would really work for one and doesn’t work for another.”
Ganjasana Ceremonies Blend Master Healers Cannabis and Yoga in a Sacred Setting Focused on Mindfulness, Meditation, and Yoga
Today, Ganjasana is a Boulder-based business that offers an infusion of cannabis-blended yoga classes, which are referred to as ceremonies. In a safe, sacred setting, students are invited to engage in yoga, meditation, and mindfulness while connecting “with the ancient wisdom of the cannabis master plant.”
Carlevale supplies the ganja, which is grown organically with values rooted in a regenerative, living soil system. She encourages students to show up for classes sober, with a clear and open mind. Each ceremony opens with some breathwork, which is then followed by consuming cannabis before beginning a series of guided asanas.
Each two-hour ceremony is designed to replicate the renewing nature of building plant-spirit relationships, while engaging in breathwork, mindfulness, and movement through yoga. They are offered monthly in Boulder, Colorado at Earth Yoga Boulder.
Ganjasana: More than Marijuana and Yoga
Aside from monthly ceremonies, Ganjasana also hosts various private events. They design each private ceremony to create a sacred, transformative experience to align with clients’ specific needs. Private events hosted by Ganjasana include:
- Couples Alignment
- Ganja Sex-Ed
- Canna-Birthday Medicine Ceremonies
- Women’s Circles
- Corporate Wellness
- Private, Individual Sessions
Each private ceremony carries its own sacred energy to infuse individuals with what best complements their needs. Whether it be through chakra alignment, de-stigmatizing sex-pot talk, embracing the divine feminine, or classes specifically designed for an individual, each ceremony is infused with cannabis and the spirit the plant contains.
For those who can’t make it to Colorado for Ganjasana, online classes are also available. While you’ll have to provide your own plant medicine, online classes provide everything else you need to cultivate more presence, calm, and clarity in the comfort of your own home. Online classes offer information and suggestions on cannabinoids, terpene profiles, and strain varieties that are beneficial to use during yoga practice.