I thought I hated yoga. Then I tried 'stoned yoga' in L.A.

·3 min read

I used to be angry about yoga. Or, more accurately, I used to carry a grudge against yoga — for the better part of two decades — because of the one, single time I tried to expand my mind, body and soul and all three ended up in a tangled, awkward mess on a rubber mat in a room full of strangers (and my mortified fiancée). That experience, frozen in amber, came to represent the end-all, be-all of yoga for me.

Even as trendy new takes with funny names tried to introduce the ancient practice to new audiences, it was never enough to overcome the memory of my first failed attempt. Noga (naked yoga)? Hard pass. Broga (yoga for bros)? Too much of a cliché. Hypno-yoga? I'm feeling very drowsy. Drunk yoga? No thanks, I'm driving. Doga (dog yoga)? I lean feline not canine. (OK, I admit that I felt a brief tickle somewhere in my sacral chakra a few years back when a co-worker regaled me with tales of goat yoga, but it quickly subsided.)

That was before I started hosting a new Los Angeles Times video series called "The Green Room," which explores California's cannabis culture and commerce. Launched last month, so far it's taken me to a cannabis trade show in Santa Rosa, a speakeasy-themed dispensary in Exposition Park and musician David Crosby's backyard, where the Croz taught me how to roll a proper joint. Most recently — and as a direct result of sharing my long-running yoga beef with my producers — it took me to a backyard in Los Angeles for a second attempt at the yogic arts.

That's where local yoga instructor Jessy Chang, who organizes cannabis-enhanced yoga classes through her Local High Society website, graciously introduced me to the practice of cannabis-enhanced yoga on a Saturday morning. The results, which are showcased above as episode four, pretty much speak for themselves.

A few things to remember for anyone interested in getting a bloodshot third eye: Sessions, which last about an hour (not counting a preflight smoke session), usually cost $30, which does not include the cannabis so you'll need to bring your own. Better yet, bring enough for the whole class so you'll be expanding your circle of friends and your consciousness at the same time. (Thanks to the pandemic, social smoking looks a lot different now. Passing a joint is out, one joint or pipe per person is in, so plan accordingly.) Also bring a water bottle, a mat and whatever else you need to be comfortable. And be sure to wear comfortable clothing.

It should go without saying — but I'll say it anyway — do not consume cannabis and operate a motor vehicle, follow all state and local rules relating to mask-wearing and social distancing, and don't be anyone else's buzzkill.

Currently, Chang is collaborating with a new yoga studio in downtown San Pedro called the Holō Collective, where cannabis-enhanced yoga sessions ($25) are scheduled for every third Saturday of the month at 4:20 p.m.

Oh, and one last thing: As prepared for cannabis-enhanced yoga as you think you may be, the accompanying sound bath — in which vibrating crystal bowls create a thrumming noise — will blow your crown chakra into another dimension. In the absolute best possible way.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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