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This Is Why I Mix Yoga With CBD

Some tips for combining CBD into your yoga practice--or vice versa.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

What do you get when you combine yoga and CBD? In my experience, you get a state of calm and relaxation, increased flexibility, strength, and a decrease in stress and anxiety. 

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I began practicing yoga nearly 20 years ago and was introduced to CBD about two years ago. I started taking CBD for the same reasons I practice yoga: to help me connect spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Some studies have shown that CBD may help to reduce anxiety, stress, inflammation, and pain. People are choosing to make this switch from over-the-counter medications to CBD edibles or tinctures.

When speaking with my yoga students, they tell me that the combination of yoga and CBD decreases stress, anxiety, inflammation, and pain. One client also mentions that she finds the link to both vital as she ages and finds her joints don't ache upon walking when practicing yoga. When she takes CBD in the morning, it allows her to feel controlled and focused throughout the day.

Why yoga?

Originating in India, yoga dates back more than 5000 years, with individuals practicing it to connect spiritually and for self-discipline. Since then, it has grown to encompass health and wellness benefits enjoyed throughout the world. There is a process in which you connect your breath to your movements, fostering calm and stillness and allowing for strength and stamina.

Yoga, to me, is a life-long practice of self-discovery and to increase flexibility and balance. It has evolved over the years as a means to bring calm and patience in raising my children. Not only because it was tough at times due to chronic sleep deprivation when they were young, but also due to the choices my husband and I made in raising them to develop life-long practices of self-care and kindness to others.

Why CBD?

Studies have shown that CBD can treat different types of chronic pain and inflammation. This can lead to quicker recovery from injuries and muscle damage caused by workouts. This improved recovery can help you work out for longer periods. 

Here are some of the benefits I have experienced adding CBD to my yoga routine.  

Pain relief

Several years ago, while driving on a freeway, my family and I were hit by a drunk driver. The recovery for us was slow and painful but what remained true was my practice of yoga and meditation. I learned so much about myself and succumbed to the fact that, due to major damage to my C4-C7 in my cervical spine, my practice for the love of doing headstand (Salamba Sirsasana) would no longer be feasible. I have learned to adapt and change, make modifications, and have also begun a CBD journey to help manage the pain that continues daily. 

Better sleep

The continual practice of mindful breathing, a slow restorative yoga class, and CBD combination before bedtime, can involve feelings of relaxation, allowing you to surrender into a peaceful state of restful sleep. Be sure to allow for some time after your yoga class to enjoy a warm bath while ensuring ample time for the CBD to enter your body. If thoughts of anxiousness wake you during the night or feelings of stress before your presentation at work, there are many benefits of consuming CBD before bedtime.

According to Peter Grinspoon, MD, a professor at Harvard University, “CBD is commonly used to address anxiety, and for patients who suffer through the misery of insomnia, studies suggest that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep.”

Practice and repeat

To understand what yoga means, you should get on your mat and experience it, feel it and relish it firsthand. But you should understand that yoga is a process—you won't feel the connection to self by trying it once. It takes time to connect your mind, body, and soul to the art of allowing what comes when you breathe with intention and mindfulness as well as letting go of things that do not serve you.

CBD treatment is also a process. For many consumers, taking a 10 mg dose of CBD may not show effects right away. Instead, they have found that taking CBD either by tincture or candy can take several days to weeks for them to experience its effects.

There are a few yoga poses that help reduce stress and anxiety, which also happen to some of my favorites: Reclined Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana), Extended Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana), Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana), Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana), and Tree Pose with a variation of hands at heart center (Vrikshasana)

Do your research

If you are a true beginner embarking on a practice of both yoga and CBD, there are a few points to consider. Remember, when you start the CBD journey, ensure you have the guidance and support of a professional. There is a lot of misinformation and sub-par products, so do your homework. It's also important to read the label for ingredients, milligram strength for the CBD and view the packaging for a QR code that you can scan for a Certificate of Analysis Lab Testing Report.

For yoga, the importance of instilling a positive place to set yourself up for success is essential. I start my yoga practice with about 15 minutes dedicated to meditation first, and I enjoy a CBD candy. Set an intention - something you'd like to achieve more of, such as feeling joyful throughout the day. Become aware of your breath, paying close attention to your inhalation while allowing your exhalation to become a little longer. This helps to reduce anxiety and to invoke feelings of calmness. Choosing positive words also brings a tone of peace and happiness, on and off the mat.

Begin a sequence of yoga poses that inspire you to feel good. Continue to find the joy in the breath and connection of your movement and do so with purpose. Remember to be kind to yourself while allowing your progress and journey to be yours and only yours.