Two yogis debate whether or not marijuana has a place in the yoga room.
*Warning: This piece contains graphic illustrations of humor and irreverence. It may not be suitable for all yogis.
Justin Kaliszewski is the Outlaw Yogi and is proud of his penchant for the bud. Michelle Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. She’s a mom, a writer, and is almost never stoned.
Has the legalization of marijuana changed the way you teach yoga?
Justin: It’s been great. There’s a lot less paranoia because nobody’s going to be arrested at the end of class.
Michelle: There are more students who don’t know their right from their left. It used to be only the menopausal women, but now you find yourself saying “left foot…left foot…LEFT FOOT!” to a lot of people in the room.
Is that an issue?
Justin: Not really – just as long as they eventually do the other side. Weed also helps you to tune out a teacher when you want to go inside. We just think “What’s her problem?”
Michelle: When you are older and you’re confused, you think, “What’s my problem?”
Should you practice stoned?
Justin: How else would you practice?
Michelle: I think there are some kinds of yoga which would benefit, such as meditation. But it’s difficult to practice an alignment-based class if you don’t know your ass-ana from your elbow.
Is it harder to practice asana stoned?
Justin: Bet your ass it is! But without it yoga’s a little too easy if you ask me. Besides, what’s yoga got to do with poses? Asana is just one limb on the path and any well-rounded yogi would be wise to consider the bigger picture beyond the mat. Cannabis can be a consciousness expanding tool – in other words, smoking some grass can help you get your head out of your ass.
Michelle: At my age, everything seems hard including yoga.
Would you teach stoned?
Justin: How else would you teach? Nothing pushes pause on the day’s dramas like a freshly rolled joint.
Michelle: I’m already confused. I am constantly thinking in the sequence, “Where am I?” I have to tell my students that I’m not high, I am at a certain age and I may have an Ambien hangover.
Is there a “drug problem” in yoga?
Justin: The only “problem” I have is getting them. Sometimes I have a helluva a time finding good, organically grown pot, especially when I travel.
Michelle: The drug problem among students is not as bad as the issues we encounter with students who have been eating too many potato chips, and who are out of shape because they have been lying around on the couch. Oh, wait a minute…
Has the legalization of pot benefited yoga?
Justin: The legalization of pot and other consciousness expanding modalities has and will benefit all of mankind.
Michelle: It has brought the generations together. My Colorado classes are full of menopausal women and stoners, and through the legalization of pot, we realize we are all one.
Justin Kaliszewski is a reformed meat-head and retired cage fighter. He brings a lifetime of travel and a world’s worth of experience in battling the ego to the mat. He is based in Denver, Colorado and teaches Outlaw Yoga internationally. He is the author of “Outlaw Protocol: How to Live as an Outlaw without Becoming a Criminal.” Find him at his website.
Michelle Berman Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. She’s a Featured Columnist for elephant journal and the author of two books on yoga. You can find her blog and website.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo courtesy Michelle Marchildon