GANJA YOGA BY DEE DUSSAULT

In order to escape the consequences of every day stress and tension, many people have resorted to practicing yoga regularly. There are many types of yoga to choose from: ananda, anusara, ashtnaga, bikram, hatha and many many more.

The one we are going to discuss here is a most peculiar combination; the intentional pairing of yoga and cannabis. The teacher of this type of yoga, Dee Dussault, is the first one to offer classes of ganja yoga outside of India.

This type of yoga is advertised as an exploration of the mind, body and breath in a slow and groovy way. Apart from the obvious use of cannabis, this discipline incorporates the techniques usually used in hatha yoga which is based on mindfulness, relaxation and journeying. Ganja yoga encourages the modification of each posture to your current state of mind. The instructions of your teacher shouldn’t be considered as strict orders but more like guidelines which will help you achieve your desired state of relaxation. If you would like to try this yoga discipline but are unsure about whether of not you can trust Dee Dussault with this experience, rest assured as you are in good hands. Dee Dussault is a certified yoga instructor and was the first one to bring ganja and clothing-free yoga to the USA.

As for the arrangements for ganja yoga with Dee, you can have a solo class, a class for couples or even a group of friends. The rates for a single student class start from $180 and $200 for two students (each additional student adds another $25). Dee also offers the Premium Bliss retreat option for extremely busy people who can’t take much time from work. This option is customized specifically towards your needs and your instructor will be with you every step of the way offering 2 hour long sessions for five weeks and even regularly sending you emails. One important thing to mention is that in order to participate in the ganja yoga you have to bring your own cannabis (you can consume it in any way you would like) as Dee only offers advice on which strains you should use.

Achieving the necessary level of relaxation is sometimes hard to do, and if you are looking for some help and happen to live in San Francisco, Vancouver or Toronto then check out what Dee Dussault has to offer in her ganja yoga classes.

GANJA-YOGA-2

6 Ways to Make Yoga Less Intimidating for Beginners

If you feel slightly terrified to walk into a yoga class for the first time because you think it will be pretentious and awkward, your might be right. Too often, new students feel uncomfortable or secluded by inaccessible poses, vague instructions or elitist attitudes. As a beginner to yoga, you should feel empowered and engaged by the teachings – not isolated or overwhelmed by new, esoteric ideas.

Yoga should be as accessible and safe as learning to ride a bike. A quality yoga class is welcoming and comfortable for everyone willing to give it a try. Strong yoga teachers facilitate an experience that has depth without making students feel like they are entering a cult. Here’s how yoga instructors can make class accessible to new students so they can work toward developing a deeper practice:

1. Ditch the yoga jargon.

Yoga jargon makes people feel excluded and confused. The more basic and understandable a teacher explains ideas, the more the instructor will connect with students. When teachers use Sanskrit (the yoga language), they should define the word in English. When teachers speak with their own authentic voice and sense of humor, it shines through. In those classes, students feel like they get a more personal and genuine class.

2. Be powerful, not preachy.

Students do not come to yoga to be lectured or to have a therapy session. As a yoga teacher for men, I cringe when I hear how many first-time male students are completely discouraged and annoyed by teachers’ condescending tones. It’s challenging enough to get new students to try yoga. Why are we making it harder?

Yoga is not a school – it is a practice. People come to yoga to put their intentions into action, and to become grounded by moving intelligently. There is a richness and a deeper sense of subtle awareness and connectivity in yoga. Yoga teachings should feel meaningful, but shouldn’t push an agenda or make students uncomfortable. A good class leaves you feeling empowered, not belittled or guilty.

3. Chant less, pant more.

Everyday people do not understand the ancient yoga language and the chants, let alone the meaning behind them. I personally love the language of yoga, but I understand that – unless you have a significant amount of time to teach students why you are chanting and what you are saying in plain English – it is not comprehensible.

If teachers chant complicated yoga sounds during a class, it may be challenging to keep the interest of new students, who are often reluctant to try yoga in the first place. For example, chanting the sounds of the chakras – “Lam, Vam, Ram, Yam, Ham, Om” – requires hours of teaching for students to even begin to understand the chakras and their relevance. It can also make beginners feel singled out.

It makes more sense to offer aspiring yoga teachers – not beginners – in-depth studies on the energetic body and their mantras. If teachers decide to chant in their classes, I suggest they keep it to a minimum and get students moving.

4. Develop a simple and meaningful philosophy.

New students often come to yoga because they want something more than a mindless workout. Yoga has a deeper meaning than just its physical practice. Teachers should be careful to present the philosophy in class in a way that does not make students feel awkward. If instructors come across as if they are talking down to students, or claim to be more spiritually advanced, they’ll only alienate the people they’re trying to inspire.

Ancient yoga philosophy is interesting and fun to learn, but it’s a topic that can be inaccessible to beginners. The notion that people can obtain nirvana, or transcend this world, is not something anyone can honestly talk about. If you put someone on this pedestal of power, it is a recipe for disaster. Bikram Choudhury, the founder of Bikram yoga, is the latest example: After building a loyal following, he’s now accused of sexual assault and rape.

Other yoga teachings have evolved to take on a more progressive view of the practice. They are not concerned with something beyond this life, but focus on savoring the one in which we live. Classes that weave in practical philosophy that is relevant to day-to-day life will be well-received.

5. Clear landmarks and modifications.

Each yoga pose has a logical progression toward its fullest expression. There are clear physical landmarks that are great measures for healthy alignment. These landmarks are normally instructed with simple “if, then” statements. For example, “If you can touch the floor in a standing forward fold, then actively work toward straightening your legs.”

Every class has a wide range of student levels. It’s imperative that modifications are offered to people who are working with injuries and other limitations. Two blocks, a blanket and a strap for each student are ideal props for most all-levels classes. Students can make it easier on themselves by learning to use the props in a way that keeps the poses safe and efficient.

6. Keep it simple and sustainable.

It’s easy to complicate yoga poses and make a class difficult to follow in an effort to be overly creative. The most simple, efficient instructions work best. First, teachers should name the pose and get everyone into it as clearly and quickly as possible. Once everyone is in the basic shape of the pose, they should help students explore the pose with subtle cues.

Many teachers get caught up with stringing together multiple poses, or sequencing them in a way that is unique. The basic postures work. If done correctly, they are powerful and can be made as challenging as advanced postures. My suggestion to teachers is to go more in depth into the basics rather than trying to force students into complicated poses.

Things That You Only Know If You Do Yoga

Yoga. You successfully avoid it for years: it’s not a real workout, yogis act morally superior in their lack-of-judgment-on-all-things (just say something bitchy already!) and you’re not skinny enough anyway. Green juice is for assholes, nobody can possibly really be that chill, and yoga pants are HOW MUCH?!

But then, the bug strikes and you’re hooked. A whole new world opens, and you’re powerless to its charms. The scariest thing? You wouldn’t have it any other way. 

1. Poop. Your poop is so good.

Nothing holds a person back from enjoying day-to-day life than a whack digestive tract. Real talk. The most miserable, sluggish, resistant-to-life people are FOR SURE the ones not taking a regular dump. Productive poopers are productive people! Yoga stimulates the digestive tract through internal massage to the organs, and oh baby it feels so good. Now you’re not literally carrying around shit, you don’t metaphorically carry around shit. It’s a revelation.

2. But… Poop needs to be scheduled

That second cup of coffee you had right before class? That was a mistake. And it’s a mistake you’ll make more than once. A well-timed poop is an art, and you’ll get there. You will. Oh God, you spend so much time thinking about, discussing, and planning your poop now. Your real life friends just do not understand. And that’s why you’ve got:

3. Yoga Buddies a.k.a.The Life Force

Friends from yoga do not judge when you accidentally say in conversation: I just really need to focus on my energy realignment today, you know? They’re the first ones to follow up on your poop schedule, and the quickest to high-five you when you finally open up your hips wide enough to do a full leg stretch in bird of paradise. They have time for days to dissect the emotional journey a great plough pose can take you on, and never judge you for the $100 you just spent on getting your birth chart read by the instructor you just gets you. Also, there’s always the yoga buddy just’s that little bit more #YogaWanker than you are, thus proving to the regular, non-yogic world that you’re not that bad.

4. Workout clothes are hot

When you yoga, it becomes a ~lifestyle~ and in that lifestyle, there are patterned full-length cotton leggings that make your ass look better than any Spanx, and cute spaghetti-strapped sports bras that peak out just right from off-the-shoulder t-shirts and man-sized tank tops that beautifully skim your curves. Other clothes can cease to exist now, thanks, because yoga gear just feelsgood. Sexy. You’re good to throw up a messy bun and do nothing but fill out your eyebrows a little til the end of all time – it takes five minutes to get ready, now, and somehow you look better than when you try to get fancy. Go figure.

5. THE SEX.

Okay, so yes: yoga can make you more flexible. That’s a given, and a lot of fun to play with. But beyond that: yoga makes us wet. Women, the Journal of Sexual Medicine reports that chicks who practice yoga tend to get enhanced lubrication, with a more powerful orgasm because of our strengthened pelvic floor, too. WHY DON’T THEY PUT THIS ON THE FLYERS???

6. Your definition of sexy changes

Did you see the way the sweat ran down his back in reverse warrior? Holy shit. Yoga isn’t about the most Instagram-able poses and fastest movement: the best yogi is the one who has mastered their breath. Yoga becomes about control and intention – purposeful, deliberate movement. When you’re beside the guy or girl absolutely devoted to their practice, breathing in unison with the teacher’s instruction and really focused on not only reaching the pose, but everything leading up to the pose? You know you’re onto somebody who’s figured out foreplay. That’s basically what yoga is: intentional, slow, measured warm-up that climaxes in a pose. Find the one who demonstrates that and you’ve got the one who will not only fuck, but use their body and their mind to seduce you. Oh mama.

7. You become a total #YogaWanker, but are absolutely okay with that

What happens on the mat impacts your whole life: you adopt Ujjayi breath in moments of pressure or anxiety, meditate on your daily intention before you even get out of bed in the morning, and find yourself saying things like, it’s just like figuring out tripod headstand, you know? at brunch with friends. The deeper you get into your practice, the more of your boy drama and work woe starts to slip away, because baby: none of it matters. Your trust yourself, now.

8. You sweat from places you never knew it was possible to sweat from

Was that… did the bead of sweat actually just come from yourarmpit crease? Wait. Can knees sweat too? Don’t even get started on the ass-crack sweat.

9. You live to fall on your face

In yoga, you can’t slither into Scorpion pose without first collapsing onto your face about 3,000 times. Falling over means you’re trying, and the sound of you thudding onto your mat is the sound of you living your best life. That makes you braver, and off the mat, too: suddenly, you’re not as afraid of yourself anymore. If you fall over, you’ll just pick yourself back up. As in yoga, as in life.

10. You’re zen as fuck

Yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system, causing a deep relaxation. Yoga reduces levels of cortisol, too – the stress hormone. Most of us have too much cortisol in our system, and this can cause high blood pressure, low immunity, heighten inflammation and decrease muscle tissue. You don’t have to worry about any of that anymore, though, because you’re zen as fuck and it feels so good. So good, that…

11. You want to get certified

It gets to a point – three days or three weeks or three years in – where that’s it. You’re moving to Bali to get your 200-hour teaching training certificate. You can’t not. You have to spread the yogic word, you guys. This is like, your purpose. Yoga could save the world. Namaste.

via ThoughtCatalog

Frozen Yoga? It’s Snowga

It seemed as if yoga should have exhausted its opportunities for expansion by now, considering it has already made such unlikely alliances as marijuana, dogs, karaoke and stand-up paddleboards. But the yoga creep carries on with what may be the practice’s strangest bedfellow yet: snow.

This latest incarnation of yoga is called, inevitably, snowga, and it’s done outside in freezing temperatures, that archenemy of stretching, often as a mash-up with snow sports like skiing and snowshoeing.

In Bozeman, Mont., this winter, a company called Flow Outside began a twice-weekly class in which participants snowshoe to their destination as a warm-up, do about a half-hour of yoga, and then snowshoe home. Stowe Mountain Lodge in Vermont offers snowga (calling it Stowega) with both skiing and snowshoeing. And at Finger Lakes Yoga Escapes in Canandaigua, N.Y., an owner, Jennifer Hess, said snowga (her version is with snowshoes) has been such a success that she plans to introduce a class at night, with headlamps.

There’s also a popular hashtag, #snowga, with yogis posting pictures of themselves holding poses in the snow, occasionally with ad hoc props, like snow shovels. The hashtag took off a couple of years ago, after two of yoga’s Instagram stars — Laura Kasperzak (one million followers) and her high school friend Masumi Goldman (125,000 followers) — began using it.

Laurie Riedman, who regularly skis, snowshoes and practices yoga (but never all together), said she was surprised by how good a combination snowga was when she tried it recently in Canandaigua.

“Yoga and cold just sounds like an oxymoron,” said Ms. Riedman, a public relations consultant. “But I got hot. There were some parts where I had to open up my coat and take my gloves off. We were really working out.”

Carin Gorrell, editor in chief of Yoga Journal, said this latest version of yoga was almost predictable, especially because outdoor hybrid classes like yoga and hiking or yoga and stand-up paddleboarding are always the first to sell out at the magazine’s events.

“People who are passionate about practicing yoga want to do it everywhere — they’ll tell you yoga goes with everything,” she said. (Yoga Journal Live classes tend to be in warmer months, but if an opportunity arose to offer snowga, “we probably would,” she said.)

Fans say the pairing is more natural than it sounds. Beth Stewart, a spokeswoman for Windham Mountain Resort in the Catskills, said the company was inspired to offer snowga for the first time this winter after guides on snowshoe outings watched women spontaneously strike yoga poses, “a grown-up version of making snow angels,” she said. A class description suggests the snowshoe portion of the class is “meditation in motion.”

Anne Anderson first paired yogic breathing with skiing to calm students’ nerves while she was a ski instructor at Mohawk Mountain in Connecticut. Buoyed by the results, she spent a summer kitted out in shorts, boots, skis and poles to figure out what poses worked when weighed down with equipment, then went to the Kripalu center in Massachusetts to earn her 200-hour yoga teacher training certificate.

Ms. Anderson pointed out that yoga’s chair pose is essentially skiing’s racing tuck. “Eagle wings,” her variation of a pose with arms out, forming a T-shape, helps students figure out where to distribute their weight on skis and helps with turning. They try it on a groomed trail without poles. (Ms. Anderson recently moved to Vail, where she is hoping to resume teaching snowga.)

Lynda Kennedy, who offers snowga in Chelan, a resort town in north-central Washington, said some of yoga’s warrior poses (the ones that are variations on lunges) and forward bends are ideal preparation for one of the hardest parts of snowshoeing: putting on the shoes.

“Many people’s hips are too tight,” she said. “So we start with just our boots on, and the yoga gets us flexible so we can reach down and put our snowshoes on.”

The winter sports “props” make yoga more accessible. Snowshoes can help the less limber achieve a backbend known as camel pose, while ski poles do the same for Warrior 2, a lunge in which one arm is extended to the front and the other to the back.

Susan Sirianni-Grimm, a chiropractor in Pittsford, N.Y., near Rochester, usually does hot vinyasa yoga, but no matter how warm she gets, she can get only so far with her standing forward fold. Recently, though, she put on three layers of clothing, joined a snowga class in 5-degree temperatures and 18 inches of snow, and went deep into the pose with the help of her snowshoes, which curve up, making them easier to reach than bare feet.

“It was stretching for my body as well as for my mind,” she said, laughing, of her frozen yoga experience. (She said it was a mental struggle to stay focused as the wind picked up, the sun glinted off nearby Canandaigua Lake — and as a couple of classmates went splat in the new-fallen snow.)

For seasoned yogis, the snow makes nearly everything more of a workout, including getting back up if you fall.

“Your balance is challenged because you may not be on a completely flat part of the snow or because of the wind,” said Jen Brick DuCharme, owner of Bozeman’s Flow Outside. “You may feel like you’re having to work a different part of your body to maintain that asana,” or pose.

Continue reading the main story
Julie Kleine, who frequently practices vinyasa yoga in a studio, said she struggled to do the same poses on snowshoes in Ms. DuCharme’s class but felt less self-conscious about the idea of falling.

“Class outside is more playful and people interact a bit more than when you’re on your own mat,” she said. “Falling is kind of less dramatic and probably more fun.”

Yoga in the snow does have its limits. Poses like plank and chaturanga, the yoga push-up, are nearly impossible if there’s a thick coating of fresh powder, because the hands sink too fast. (“It’s fun to try, but then you get stuck,” Ms. Kennedy said.) Most teachers avoid suggesting anything that involves a face-plant in the snow or inversions, like handstands or headstands.

But the more challenging the pose, the more likely it is to end up, done by yogis in carefully chosen camera-ready clothes, posted with the snowga hashtag on Instagram.

Ms. Kasperzak, who documents her yoga practice daily, said, “It’s how yogis play in the snow.”

Daredevil nails expert yoga poses on speeding motorcycle

Gracefully balanced on his Honda motorcycle, the Indian yogi is on the highway to the danger zone!

Gugulotu Lachiram, a 40-year-old daredevil, was caught on camera revvin’ up his engine and listening to her howling roar as he nailed expert yoga poses on a road near his hometown of Khammam, Barcroft Media reports.

Lachiram may be a farmer by profession, but he feels his true calling is entertaining people with his death-defying moves.

“I saw people performing dangerous stunts on national television,” Lachiram said. “I thought if they can do it why can’t I, so I started practicing yoga on my bike,”

“I can do many yoga postures,” he added. “Some are performed by sitting, standing and lying down. I can stand on a bike on the tank, in the middle and in the end.”

Lachiram appears as stiff as a board as he expertly stretches into each position with ease. The adrenaline junkie doesn’t plan on stopping his high-speed yoga escapades any time soon, either.

“I completely love doing stunts on my bike,” he told Barcroft. “I will continue to do so for the next 15 years.”

[youtube id=”JojJnnGOv_4″ width=”600″ height=”350″]

3 Ways to Bring Yoga Into Your Busy Office

Recently, my office yoga company arranged far in advance to teach a yoga class at a tech company in New York City. A rapid expansion of the company made the office manager nervous about the concept of office yoga. They had recently tripled their staff, and were working out of three different spaces. In her mind, there was no way she could bring yoga into the busy office, and she cancelled the class.

For many office managers, especially those working in the tech industry where companies experience rapid growth, the prospect of bringing in yoga or meditation in the office can seem daunting. How can everyone have an opportunity to practice the yoga or meditation? What can we do if our space is becoming smaller and smaller as we expand?

Arrange yoga/meditation sessions by department

I teach yoga for the marketing team at a fabulous Spanish language channel’s office. It helps them unwind and get creative. In a large, multi-department company like this, with offices spread all over the nation, sometimes it’s best if each individual department chooses to participate in yoga or meditation. That way, the office manager doesn’t need to stress about having enough space for all 500 people in the office to do yoga, and the yoga teacher can get to know an individual group.

Arrange multiple classes on the same day

If you know that 60 people in your office want to participate in the yoga/meditation class, but your conference room only has room for 20, plan ahead and arrange three classes. Have people sign up for a time slot ahead of time. You won’t have to stress about giving everyone a chance to participate!

Organize a company retreat

There are so many benefits to bringing yoga into a traditional corporate retreat. However, the expenses involved in an out of town retreat may be daunting for some companies. If this is the case for your company, try organizing something local. Many yoga studios can rent out space to corporate groups. It’s also an affordable way to get out of the office an bond!

Don’t be intimidated to bring yoga into your office because of factors like a large staff, small space, or multiple offices. Try these solutions, and get started on your office yoga adventure!

India Appoints Minister Of Yoga

Living up to his promise to promote India’s therapeutic traditions, Prime Minister Narendra Modi created a ministry of yoga and alternative therapies for the country this week.

Reuters reports that the AAYUSH portfolio will include traditional medicines and practices of ayurveda, yoga, naturopathy, unani, siddha and homeopathy. Shripad Yesso Naik was appointed to head the ministry.

“This is our system and it has not received enough prominence. We will take it to the masses,” Naik said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

India’s prime minister is known as an avid yoga fan.

Modi used his September address to the United Nations General Assembly to promote the practice and call on member countries to mark June 21 as International Yoga Day.

“Yoga should not be just an exercise for us, but it should be a means to get connected with the world and with nature,” Modi said at the U.N. “It should bring a change in our lifestyle and create awareness in us, and it can help fighting against climate change.”

India’s mission to the U.N. has started preparing a draft resolution on the topic of International Yoga Day and will push for its adoption by the end of the year. So far, the resolution has received support from countries like the United States, China, Nepal, Bhutan and Canada.

The formation of the AAYUSH ministry is part of a major cabinet reshuffle in which Modi added 21 ministers to his government. In a key shift, his reforms include the separation of the finance and defense portfolios.

Paddleboard yoga stands venerable practice on its head, on water

Move over hot, flying and spinning yoga. Paddleboard yoga is the latest trend to stand the ancient practice of breath control, body postures and movement on its head – this time on a surfboard surrounded by water.

Fitness experts and enthusiasts say classes for waterborne yoga, which is also known as Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) hone balance, focus concentration and lure exercisers who prefer open air to overheated studios.

“People tell me it’s like walking on water,” said paddleboard racer and yoga instructor Gillian Gibree, who has been teaching Paddleboard Yoga since 2009.

The instructor and trained lifeguard said first timers begin with a water safety demonstration on dry land before going on to water, where even the simplest yoga postures can take on an added intensity.

“On the board, even plank (a foundational push-up pose) is a challenge,” she said. “Everything is slowed down because it takes much longer to keep your balance.”

Because the board is unstable, different muscle groups are fired, said Gibree, who has floated her practice on rivers, bays and even oceans, although she usually teaches on flat water.

“It works a lot on balance and you have to find your drishti (yoga’s focused gaze) on the board,” she said. “It’s a total body workout.”

SUP Yoga joins two ancient traditions. The modern SUP sport originated in Hawaii in the 1950s and 1960s, but stand up paddle boarding dates back thousands of years, to ancient fisherman from Polynesia to Peru.

And while the classical techniques of yoga date back more than 5,000 years, a worldwide survey of more than 3,000 fitness professionals published this month by the American College of Sports Medicine rated it number seven among the top 10 fitness trends for 2015.

Gibree, said her clients come from places as far-flung as Canada, Switzerland, South Africa and New Zealand.

“Anywhere there’s a pond, lake, marsh, or body of water,” she said.

Exercise physiologist and yoga instructor Jessica Matthews said the paddling technique intrinsic to SUP Yoga adds an upper body component to the practice.

“Some things work well on the board, some work more easily on land,” she said, noting that, while paddleboard yoga doesn’t replace a studio practice, it can complement it.

Matthews’ paddleboard yoga classes start with warm-up, breathing and stability exercises on land, much like a regular yoga class.

Once on the water she explores more of the basic postures.

“It’s always a trade-off,” said Matthews, who has lately seen classes pop up in indoor pools. “The beauty of SUP yoga is that you can do it on any body of water.”

She said the most common question she gets about SUP yoga is: “Am I going to get wet?

“Typically, you’re not going to get wet,” she added. “Unless you fall in.”

Women Are Going Crazy Over These No-Underwear Yoga Pants

Lingerie company Dear Kate has a new approach to what type of support women need when it comes to intimate apparel.

Founder and CEO Julie Sygiel developed underwear with a “silky soft, patent-pending fabric” that is wicking, stain releasing, and leak resistant.

Using the same technology, she’s created the first ever line of yoga pants designed to be worn without underwear.

[youtube id=”asn3SwbHprA” width=”600″ height=”350″]

Broga Mats, Yoga Mats Specifically Made for Men’s Bodies and a Line of Whimsical Carrying Bags

Yoga enthusiast Dan Abramson has created BrogMats, a line of yoga mats that are specifically made to accommodate the larger size of men’s bodies along with a line of whimsical bags in which to carry the oversized mats.

Brogamats was founded on the belief that yoga practitioners defy simple categorization, and include people of all walks of life, all genders, all Lululemon budgets, and all levels of earthy pretentiousness. We are avid yogaphiles who felt the range of yoga products currently available was frustratingly narrow, so we decided to start designing our own. First, we threw on some graphics that we thought would be fun to carry on our backs on the way to class or unfurl in front of envious classmates. Second, given that men are taller, heavier and sweat more than women, we decided to make a mat that was extra long, extra thick, and grippy as hell.