There are an increasing number of yoga practitioners who have begun incorporating CBD products into their routines to enhance the effects of this ancient practice. So how do these two things fit together?
The benefits of yoga
Though the prevalence of professional studios and classes is a fairly recent phenomenon, the practise of yoga itself goes back thousands of years. The original purpose of yoga was focussed only on controlling the mind, but it later developed into a practice for increasing concentration, and eventually into a way of keeping the mind and body pure.
At its core, modern yoga is a combination of breathing techniques and poses. These days, yoga is for the most part not a religious practice, though many people find it offers an element of spirituality. There a number of different styles of yoga, ranging from restorative and relaxing to intense and sweaty, but they all offer both physical and mental benefits.
Strength and flexibility
The poses used in yoga are not usually positions that we find ourselves in our day-to-day lives. Reaching for these poses helps you to move and stretch in new ways, increasing flexibility in areas that are often tight, such as the hamstrings, back, hips and shoulders. Once in position, yoga requires you to hold these poses, building strength in the supporting muscles when done regularly.
Balance and posture
Especially as we age, improving your balance can be one of the most beneficial aspects of practicing yoga. Yoga poses that require you to stand on one leg or transitions between poses are useful for this. These poses that improve balance also help to build your core strength, which is key for improving your posture and alleviating problems with your lower back – particularly good for those of us who spend long days at a computer.
Reduces stress and anxiety
Physical activity in general has been well proven to decrease stress levels, but yoga in particular is shown to be very effective. When practising yoga, the intention is to be present in the moment, disengaging the mind from its normal thoughts. Combined with the breathing techniques that are used in many forms of yoga, it can be compared to meditation in its ability to reduce stress and anxiety.
How CBD complements yoga
If you’re familiar with CBD and how it affects the body, you can probably see how there are some overlaps between the benefits of CBD and the benefits of yoga. Here are some of the natural traits of CBD that make it an ideal addition to yoga.
Calming the mind
Many people find that when they first start yoga, or even meditation, one of the aspects they struggle with is how to control their minds. The goal of yoga is to clear mental distractions and exists only in the present, but thoughts like looming deadlines or weekend plans can often intrude. CBD has been shown to affect our levels of dopamine, one of the neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for our ability to stay focused.
Improving the mind body connection
Part of the reason for focusing only on the present when practising yoga is to allow you to be more aware of your body. Though it might seem a little new-age, CBD can help improve this connection between body and mind. CBD works by interacting with our endocannabinoid system, which scientists have described as “literally a bridge between body and mind.”
Though yoga can be a fairly gentle activity, some people may find getting into new poses or maintaining balance difficult due to existing aches and pains. As a proven anti-inflammatory agent, CBD provides relief from pain, helping you to move more freely during yoga classes, and even experience increased flexibility. Topical CBD applications are particularly useful here.
Some forms of yoga are more intense than others, incorporating moves like push-ups and planks. These more athletic sessions can leave you feeling sore the following day, as you would with any workout. Even some of the gentler forms of yoga may give you sore muscles if you are new to the practice. CBD can speed up the recovery of sore muscles by reducing inflammation and aiding sleep, which is a key factor in how well we recover.