Ganjasana is a transformative experience which combines the ancient practice of yoga and the sacred cannabis plant. The concept was brought to fruition by Rachael Carlevale, a Colorado-based yoga instructor and certified mindfulness educator focused on plant spirit medicine. Using meditation and manifestation, her ceremonies create a safe space for participants to travel within themselves and learn to deepen the alignment of their physical and mental well-being.
“The practice of Ganjasana—Cannabis Plant Spirit Yoga—has been with me since the age of 15,” Rachael explains, “when I took my very first yoga class [while] high; however, it all came together during an ayahuasca ceremony in the Peruvian Amazon. I was ‘stuck in the bucket,’ as they say, purging away my demons, experiencing the release of past trauma, disease and illness, crunched over, hands in fists, dry heaving, when the stars aligned. I realized that in order to fully connect with the plant spirit, we must use the tools of yoga, meditation and mindfulness to achieve healing from the plant spirit world. It is truly a holistic approach.”
During her last semester in college, Rachael traveled to the Peruvian Amazon with the first “The Shaman’s Pharmacy,” a sustainable medicinal plant field course in Peru led by ethnobotanist Chris Kilham, and learned how the ayahuasca is made. As students were not allowed by law to ingest the powerful, hallucinogenic brew, she didn’t drink ayahuasca until years later when she was awarded the first Cosmic Sister Plant Spirit Grant, a competitive, merit-based grant that funded her first ayahuasca retreat. The retreat was led by highly skilled Shipibo healers, and took place in a region where ayahuasca is legal. Last year she returned to the Amazon on another Cosmic Sister grant to further explore her Ganjasana work in the medicine space.
“The practice of Ganjasana,” states Rachael, “is rooted in the Shipibo philosophy– guiding individuals in creating a respectful relationship with the master cannabis plant, and how to use the practices of yoga, meditation and mindfulness to deepen that connection for health and wellbeing. Ganjasana is beyond the simple pairing of cannabis and yoga, and aims to educate individuals on all aspects of plant medicine, from soil to flower, and how to integrate with the plant spirit for profound healing.”
So what might one expect from Rachael’s classes? Ganjasana participants are always required to show up to class sober. They don’t want your connection with the plant’s spirit to be blocked by any pesticides, fungicides, herbicides or synthetic chemicals. Ganjasana has declined working with many cannabis companies if they don’t meet their high standards for safety and quality, and never partners with companies before touring their grow facility to ensure that their safety claims are true. Each ceremony begins with yoga education, mindfulness practice, and setting intentions before understanding how to consciously consume the herb.
“I do not see the use of cannabis enhancing the practice of yoga,” muses Rachael, “rather, the inverse—the practice of yoga, meditation and mindfulness enhances our ability to connect with the cannabis plant medicine. When we attune our awareness to the present moment, use tools and techniques to adjust our nervous systems into the parasympathetic mode, our heart rate slows, our blood pressure decreases, and we make ourselves available to the divine cannabis spirit—and that is where the healing lies. Plants have a high level of intelligence, and through opening to the vibration of the ganja plants, we are able to remember the wisdom that is inherent in the plant kingdom.”
If you’re unable to attend one of Rachael’s classes in person, she offers online classes through Green Flower Media. Ganjasana will also be launching the first ever Cannabis Yoga Teacher certification course this September in Colorado, where they will be certifying yoga instructors in a 100-hour course in the Ganjasana method.