Mason Jar Event Group, the bright minds behind September's cannabis-infused farm to table harvest dinner prepared by Top Chef winner Hosea Rosenberg and his Blackbelly Market team, are back with another canna-centric event, only this time, it's less about the "yum" and more about the "om." They're producing a special event today, November 8th in Longmont, Colorado, called "Yoga with a View," a cannabis-friendly yoga retreat designed to clear your mind and inspire your soul.
I volunteered to act as Leafly's guinea pig for this event, but before I attempt to twist myself into easy plow pose this weekend, I reached out to the event's coordinator Kendal Norris and yoga instructor Larissa Ortiz to uncover what exactly I was getting myself into.
Leafly: What made you want to organize this event?
Kendal Norris: At Mason Jar, our goal is to collaborate with active, forward-thinking partners who are bringing normalization to cannabis use. By creating events like this and aligning cannabis with the foodie and Yogi culture, we help foster and unite a mature community who can make educated decisions for their own health and life. This creative community just so happens to choose cannabis to enhance and elevate their experiences with both food and yoga among other activities.
We want to be a conduit in this movement by creating events and bringing this discerning group of individuals together to have fun, enjoy, and push the old images of a cannabis consumer out, inviting a new fresh face of real people to the forefront.
Leafly: What is your goal for this weekend’s Yoga with a View? What would you like the participants to take away from this event?
KN: Our goal is to bring cannabis out of the closet, to continue and to contribute to the movement of #comingoutgreen. We want to create beautiful environments, a safe experience to celebrate the legal use of cannabis alongside yoga, and a decadent farm-to-table brunch, the perfect Sunday!
I would like our participants to leave feeling inspired by the beautiful surroundings of the farm, full from a wonderful brunch, and fulfilled in their body and spirit.
Leafly: Larissa, how long have you been practicing yoga, and how long have you been a yoga instructor?
Larissa Ortiz: I have been practicing yoga for nearly 20 years and teaching for 10.
Leafly: What draws you to practice yoga? What inspires you about it?
LO: So many things draw me to practice yoga — it changes depending on where I am in my life. Right now, it is my sanity. With my life so busy and full right now, my practice is the one quiet place I can just get lost in my breath and my body. It is my touchstone. I am inspired by how much my practice has changed and evolved over the years. It really has been such an enormous part of my life, for half of my life, and it has seen me through some of the biggest changes, transitions, hardships, joys, and loves of my life. It really is one of the best relationships that I have ever had,
Leafly: How often do you combine cannabis with your yoga practice? What effects do you experience and how do you think cannabis helps?
LO: To be honest, I don’t have a chance to combine cannabis all that often with my practice, definitely not as much as I would like. Most of my time on my mat is spent teaching, and I don’t ever use cannabis while teaching. But in my own practice, I have definitely combined it and have really enjoyed the effects. It just helps to me to more easily drop into my body and to get fully immersed in my breath in the moment. It really helps to keep me more focused, and I thoroughly enjoy the positive way that it heightens my sensations and awareness.
Leafly: What recommendations or guidance do you have for anyone who’s new to yoga but is interested in practicing it?
LO: Start with a Beginner class or a Level 1. It is so important to start in a class that you will feel supported in. Starting anything new can be intimidating and overwhelming, so just focus on your breath and try to keep in mind that the practice of yoga is a never-ending process. You will never “arrive,” you will never fully “get it” – you will constantly learn, and constantly grow, so to be patient and enjoy the ride.
Leafly: Which strains are your favorite for pairing with cannabis (for either focus, meditation, pain management, etc)?
KN: The White, B4 by Headquarters Cannabis Company, and SynerG by Green Dot Labs Fine Cannabis Extracts all produce incredible, euphoric feelings that lend themselves to the Prana and flow of yoga. Synergy is a 1:1 THC and CBD blend, so if you are experiencing soreness or muscle tightness, this strain is perfect to ease your aches just enough so you can focus on the breath and not the uncomfortableness.
I also love Love's Oven small bite 5mg Baklava Cookies, or if I am in the mood for something savory, their Rosemary Crackers. These never disappoint and give a heightened, tingly sensation during peak poses, enhancing the expansive feeling that only yoga can bring. I find these products help me stay out of my head and focused on the breath.
Leafly: What recommendations do you have for yoga enthusiasts who may be interested in pairing cannabis with their practice?
KN: Do it! Start at a low dosage and go slow. Check in with your body often and just flow!
Stay tuned for a recap of "Yoga with a View"! Can't wait until then? Try a yoga and cannabis pairing of your own this weekend, and be sure to keep these 6 best practices in mind before you slip into downward facing dog: