Taking CBD to the Yoga Mat
Many Americans suffer from stress or related physical and mental disorders due to schedules filled with the responsibilities associated with chasing career goals, maintaining relationships, juggling finances, and pursuing our hobbies and passions. The constant stress and anxiety hinder productivity and well-being. However, these feelings can be challenging to overcome in the non-stop environment of day-to-day living.
One of the most popular methods of regaining one’s calm after a long day is to take part in a yoga class. Not only do yoga asanas soothe in the short-term, they also provide people with tools for addressing stress and anxiety. These days, the stress relieving aspect of yoga can be enhanced by adding cannabidiol (CBD) to the practice. With the legalization of hemp-derived products, the overstressed are exploring new ways to cope with anxiety, such as CBD, a cannabinoid compound found in the cannabis plant that delivers a calming, gently relaxing vibe that makes a difference in anxiety sufferers.
How Does Yoga Relieve Stress?
The Indus-Sarasvati people were the first civilization to practice yoga over 5,000 years ago, and today, yoga is practiced worldwide—with health experts praising it for wide-reaching benefits including enhanced awareness and concentration, improved sleep and stress relief, and improved balance and posture. Additionally, many yoga traditions deliver additional benefits through breathing exercises such as improved cardiovascular functions, enhanced energy, and stress relief.
After a stressful day, yoga guides our fragmented minds and bodies come into union through the alignment of breath and movement, promoting mindfulness, and relaxation. Studies show that yoga significantly lowers levels of cortisol, the hormone that is responsible for causing the emotions associated with stress. Although yoga improves physical, emotional, and mental functioning to alleviate stress, when combined with CBD, stress simply does not stand a chance.
How Does CBD Relieve Stress?
The endocannabinoid system is a network of receptors that exclusively interacts with cannabinoids; cannabinoids (e.g., CBD) relieve stress because many endocannabinoid system receptors are in the brain area responsible for regulating mood and stress levels. The interaction between CBD and these receptors reduces stress signals and improves stress response by moderating how the brain processes stressful situations. These changes in the neural pathways can significantly relieve stress while improving how we respond to similar situations in the future. As such, CBD complements yoga practice on account of its soothing effects on the nervous system.
Bringing CBD to the Yoga Mat
Both CBD and yoga ease our nervous systems from a flight-or-fight stress response to a more relaxed state. CBD is remarkably effective at relieving stress, just like yoga, and combined, they are an incredibly effective stress deterrent—not only by reducing the strain on a person’s mind but on their body.
- CBD Calms the Wandering Mind: CBD is a natural fit for any restorative style yoga class, especially for people prone to a wandering mind. It can be hard to turn off an overthinking brain during yoga sessions, making it hard to get the stress relief being sought. CBD can help people move out of the fight-or-flight stress response to a more relaxed state more quickly. The relationship is symbiotic: once we are feeling calmer, our practice can deepen. It helps us to focus and enhance mental clarity, strengthening any yoga session.
- CBD helps sore joints and muscles: CBD can mollify aches and pains experienced while moving from pose to pose. CBD mimics and augments the effects of naturally occurring compounds in our bodies produced by the endocannabinoid system—the same system triggered in the brain when a person experiences pain—and encourages the neural circuitry to produce more natural endocannabinoids. In turn, this balances the system and generates an anti-inflammatory response, helping to relieve those post-asana sore muscles.
- CBD relieves pain and inflammation: When a person cannot practice yoga because of pain and inflammation, CBD may be able to help lessen their experience of pain and the physical source of the pain. Before and after practice, a topical cannabidiol can be applied to sore muscles to help with recovery and spare the post-yoga soreness.
- CBD may prolong the relaxed state of savasana after leaving the yoga mat: The human brain naturally produces and releases the neurotransmitter anandamide, also known as the bliss molecule, which breaks down quickly in the body. However, there is evidence that CBD suppresses the enzyme responsible for breaking down anandamide. Thus, incorporating CBD into a flow session can create longer-lasting effects from anandamide, enhancing and prolonging the feelings of bliss after a yoga session.
- CBD promotes the mind-body connection: CBD enhances physical sensations in the body while simultaneously promoting the mind-body connection developed through the practice of yoga. This body awareness, combined with the anti-anxiety effects of CBD encourages slower, deeper and more intentional breaths. In turn, it can help you reap more benefits from your yoga practice.
CBD and yoga have each been shown to alleviate stress significantly; however, when combined they form a team amplifying each other’s therapeutic benefits. The calming effects that CBD has on our mind makes us more aware of our bodies, which deepens our connection to the mindful practice of yoga. If practiced regularly, a routine that integrates yoga and CBD can positively impact a person’s emotional and mental health, and thus, is the first step towards overcoming stress, achieving a sense of inner peace and clarity, and focusing the mind on what is truly important in life.
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