What does Los Angeles love more than weed and yoga? Combining the two.
On Friday night, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons hosted an “evening of yoga, meditation, and community” coupled with “cannabis flower sampling and tasting” at his yoga studio Tantris on the iconic Sunset Boulevard. Courtesy of Lowell Herb, an organic cannabis company, guests enjoyed pre-rolled joints that came in specially made packs with matches and a strike pad. Meanwhile, the “Compassion Blend” was meant specifically to go with the evening’s yogic activities. The music was also curated: at Tantris, Simmons aims to play fifty percent hip-hop and fifty percent devotional yogic chants, according to the LA Weekly.
Simmon’s yoga studio itself is founded upon the concept of innovation; even its namesake is supposedly made up. The word ‘tantris,” according to Simmons, is supposed to mean “the weaving together of tools for spiritual evolution,” said manager Britton Darby. “Everything in this space is meant to assist you in your yogic lifestyle,” she said. And that includes weed.
For some, cannabis is a helpful tool in meditation, as well as in yoga. What with all the cannabis yoga classes popping around legal states, combining weed and asana isn’t just a trendy practice, but one that dates back thousands of years to ancient India. The Hindu god of destruction, Lord Shiva, is also known to be the father of yoga and mind-altering substances. In Hindu mythology, Shiva often drank bhang, a smoothie-like cannabis concoction. Meanwhile, Shiva devotees also use cannabis as a sacrament, often on holidays like Shivaratri, or in the morning before their yoga and meditation practice.
This age old practice has made a comeback, especially in California. The Cannabliss retreat later this month offers opportunities to get high and do yoga, while a number of studios, aside from Tantris, also feature 420-friendly classes. According to one canna-yoga practitioner, the combination is greater than merely one plus the other. “It’s about mindfulness, or the inner mental work of yoga; freedom, or your ability to move your body in the unique way it needs; and alignment, so you can enjoy a safe practice for years to come,” Dee Dussault of San Francisco’s Ganja Yoga, wrote on her website. “We’re not going to get into an altered state of consciousness, then show off our arm balances,” she said. “Ganja Yoga is about experiencing something beautiful and trippy and cool inside yourself. Most of the time, our eyes are all closed, so it’s about relaxing in an introverted way, without caring what others are doing.”