Dee Dussault is a pioneer of Ganja Yoga. She has been practicing yoga for twenty years and teaching it for six years. She is a leading innovator in the West with the ganja yoga classes she conducts and the first yoga teacher in North America to “come out” and discuss the beneficial marriage of cannabis and yoga practice in the public arena. Dee’s work is gaining international attention. Among other major media, she has been interviewed and featured in England’s The Daily Mail, The New York Times, and on ABC News.
We’re in a very exciting time with the development of knowledge and practices with the ancient sacred cannabis plant. When I first began working on this project about two years ago (early 2013), there was precious little public information about cannabis and spirituality in the so-called modern world. Although there’s a remarkable history of just this kind of use of the plant, few in the West were openly working with it in ceremonies and in conjunction with meditation, yoga and similar practices and philosophies.
However, that’s changing rapidly. More and more Facebook groups, Twitterers, and organizations are ‘coming out’ and more and more people are beginning to realize the remarkable potential of cannabis when used wisely with the intention to heal and awaken spiritually. It’s not hard to envision great forward leaps in the understanding of how deep and how far cannabis can take people when set and setting are optimal. As I’ve said elsewhere, there’s a learning curve involved. Intentional experimentation is called for.
Using cannabis in conjunction with yoga is one of those rapidly expanding forms of practice. Dee Dussault is an exemplary representative of this “New Pot Enlightenment” as Steven Hager has labeled it. Like Steven, she is also a contributor to the upcoming book “Cannabis and Spirituality: A Guide to the Revival of an Ancient Wisdom Ally”. The following excerpts are taken from the essay Dee is contributing to the book.
Ganja and Yoga: A Historical Relationship
It’s important to recognize that many of our initial reasons for being wary of cannabis’ role in our relationship with spirit have been impacted by a limited understanding of the history of yoga. We have a mythology about yoga as historically pure, we believe it to be one traditional system of practice that was whole and perfect and complete until it migrated to the West in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and became bastardized.
Many practitioners are surprised to discover that yoga practice in ancient India was more akin to ganja yoga than anything you might see in a conventional yoga studio today. Sun salutations were unheard of in early yoga, yet cannabis mixtures were imbibed to activate deeper meditation. Cannabis, not Downward-Dog or Chatarana, is mentioned in The Vedas and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, and because of the waves of settlers and invaders to the Indus Valley region, yoga has always been a cross-stitched—and often times contradictory—quilt of various beliefs, practices, and ideologies of the day. Yoga, if it ever was a solid entity, has been evolving since its inception. With this in mind, I invite readers to consider the positive relationship cannabis may play for a yoga practitioner, regardless of one’s personal relationship with or ideas about the plant.
I teach ganja yoga because I’ve found tremendous success by enhancing my own practice. After nineteen years of yoga practice, I can say that my practice accelerated after incorporating cannabis. It can act as a sensory enhancer, emotional revealer, pain modulator, mood elevator, boundary dissolver and time stretcher. Ganja yoga experiences are in many ways like my most rewarding sober yoga experiences, only under the influence of cannabis, the effects of my practice became amplified.
Even if you’re not going to be breathing, stretching, or doing conventional yoga or meditation practices, know that for thousands of years, many gurus and babas have been smoking, like you here. You might evoke them, or send a mental prayer of gratitude for them and for the plant. You might decide to take five or ten deep breaths before puffing, to clean the lungs before inviting the sacred medicine into your body. Anything can be a ritual or ceremony, as long as your mind is present and the intention is there to create non-ordinary, spiritual space. I just know that for me, my high is much more rewarding if I clear off the coffee table and light some incense first. It really can be as simple as that.