Most yogis will consider themselves lovers of nature. Many modern day hippies (like myself) wear clothing that sometimes looks a little reminiscent of the 70’s, eat local food, support causes that help the planet, practice yoga in the outdoors and we really like smoking the weed.
Why Yogis Love Grass
Yes, we love our nature, animals, trees, and flowers. And apparently a lot of yogis also like another natural thing: Weed. I’m talking cannabis, ganja, marijuana, grass, pot, whatever you want to call it. And with the recent passage of laws in the United States in both Colorado and Washington, who’s to say that interest won’t grow? As a matter of fact, there are so many reasons pointing to why yogis in particular should use this plant. Here are a few popular reasons:
- It calms the mind
- It allows the user to think deeply
- Sadhus of India (experts on marijuana, yoga and meditation) are revered for their knowledge
- The Yoga Sutra says it’s a source of siddis, or psychic powers
Getting Real Enlightenment
Unfortunately, anyone who believes these are good enough reasons isn’t really paying attention to the real teachings of yoga. What’s the meaning of yoga? Union, of the body and mind. And how can we do this if our mind is drifting off and not paying attention to the real world?
Here are five reasons for yogis NOT to smoke marijuana:
1. It Creates An Illusion
The feelings produced by use of marijuana is known in yoga as “maya” or a veil of illusion. The use of marijuana is a sign that you are searching for a real life experience. Using an external source to assist with that experience is only masking the real experience that can be found within.
2.It Takes Away Focus
Yoga is about developing awareness of the self – the perusha – that which never changes. It is also about noticing the fluctuations of the mind and it’s real thoughts. “Yoga chitta vritti nirodha,” Yoga Sutra 1.2, which translates to “Yoga is the individual discipline that leads to the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.” Real discipline is only possible when you are able to still the fluctuations and notice them naturally, through meditation and pranayama.
3. It Messes With Your Nerves
Ganja will not lead you to enlightenment. Yoga Sutra 4.1, which states, “The siddhis are born of birth, herbs, mantras, austerities or Samadhi.” Translated by Swami Satyananda Saraswati, who was also apparently called the “Woodstock Guru”, and was wise to what the hippie yogis were doing in the 1960’s. He explains that “…things like LSD and ganja are not to be included [!in!] because they cause disease and nervous disorders. These things cause depression of certain nerve centers and give rise to effects like Samadhi, but they are not to be included in the herbs causing siddhis because they are lower type.”
4. It Detaches Your From The Real World
Smoking weed will affect your ability to function in the real world. Yes, smoking weed can calm the mind, but it’s more of a numbing than a calming. We meditate to strengthen our minds, so that when we’re faced with difficult situations, we can focus and be calm and mindful of the situation and remain almost unchanged. Consistent use of weed will lessen that capability because the mind will be used to feeling numb.
And lastly: Would you offer the Dalai Lama a joint? I didn’t think so. Enough said.
Don’t Confuse a Rocky Mountain High with Samadhi
While I’m not personally against weed, I do think that yogis who are serious in their practice should think twice about using it, especially if it’s on a regular basis. Colorado is a haven for yoga practitioners and conferences. Who is to say there won’t be a few “Bake and Bend” classes added to weekly schedules that state?
What yogis should remember, is that real enlightenment and reaching Samadhi won’t come from a weed, it comes from hard work and persistent practice – abhyasa (Sutra 1.14) – a good practice includes complete faith, continued uninterrupted, for a long time – this is the way to achieve the state of yoga.