Cannabis and Yoga: One Woman’s Journey to Combining Two Passions
Marijuasana founder Stacey Mulvey believes in the spectrum of movement through energy, and she loves teaching yoga and Pilates. Stacey grew up in Salt Lake City in the Mormon church, a practice she left at just twenty-one years old when she realized the religion was severely biased against the LGBTQIA communities.
After holding down several jobs in the tech industry, she left behind a steady paycheck and stable career to pursue teaching Callanetics. Although she’d been a life-long consumer, Stacey took a bit of a break from cannabis. But, while she was in Colorado for teacher training, she began consuming again and noticed that cannabis helped her with concentration. It even provided the adventurous yogi with the motivation she needed to get through her strenuous training.
Recently, Stacey took a few moments to speak with VIRIDE about the insightful experiences that inspired her to combine yoga with cannabis and begin traveling around the United States teaching others how to tune in to their bodies, too.
Viride: Your website describes Marijuasana as a "cannabis infused" yoga class. What is that exactly and how does it work?
Stacey Mulvey: My concept is based on the premise that cannabis and hemp are beneficial and work synergistically with mindful movement. Each class I serve hemp tea, so we are able to consume a legal source of cannabinoids no matter what state we are practicing in. Then, I take people through a yoga sequence. Depending on the market, if it’s legal to consume, then we also include cannabis with THC into the class as an option. I’ve found that cannabis works synergistically with yoga. Over the years, after becoming a yoga and Pilates teacher and establishing my career in this practice, I’ve become vocal about mindful movement and how beneficial it is for everyone. Pain is what brings people to yoga and mindful movement in the first place. We all experience our own level of pain. Whether it’s emotional, physical or what have you. We are experiencing pain and it motivates us to do something about it at a certain point. Cannabis reduces inflammation and treats neurological disorders. We are finding out that cannabis is a key part of our evolution, structure and anatomy. Supplementing cannabis with mindful movement addresses the pain we all go through.
V: The yoga classes you lead are great for beginners. Do participants use cannabis at the beginning, end or both?
SM: It’s really important to me that these classes are social and bring people together, so that participants feel part of a community. At the beginning of class, we are drinking tea, consuming cannabis, chatting and getting to know each other. It’s unprecedented in a way. As consumers, we aren’t typically allowed to consume cannabis in a social setting. I start the class about 10 or 15 minutes after socializing. I go through the sun salute and we get progressively more intense. Then, we take a break. I laugh, as a teacher, because I can tell every single person is ready for a cannabis break at that point. I like to joke that people were about to get upset if there wasn’t a one.
I notice that, as a teacher and practitioner, when I would workout at home and consume cannabis, combining cannabis was a part of the process that I really loved, something that I didn’t get to experience in a traditional class. Usually, you just go, get it done, and that’s it. Working out at home, I could plan a break in the middle and then go back to whatever physical task I was doing, but would feel more refreshed. After a cannabis break, I could dive back in with more enthusiasm. That’s why we take a break and drink tea, smoke cannabis, or take an edible during Marijuasana. Then, we go back to our mats and do the balancing sequence, a standing sequence, and then go in and sense some of our internal goings on as the class begins to wind down. I finish with an extension because we always sit more hunched forward. We settle in for savasana and then I invite people to drink more tea, share their own cannabis, and people sort of do their own thing at that point. They pick up their mat and continue socializing. Before, during and after I’m happy to answer questions. I try to make the progression of the class seem as natural and flowy as possible.
V: What kind of yoga do you teach?
SM: I teach a hatha yoga that is heavily influenced by my other training in Pilates and Callanetics. It is very focused on awareness. That means, What does it feel like in your body versus what external shape you are supposed to be making? How does this feel inside? Cannabis helps because of the physiological aspect, but each time there is a psychological battle that we must push ourselves through. If we were left to our own devices, who would actually work out or go to work or make the bed? We know that as responsible adults we have to work, keep our room clean, and to stay in shape. To deal with pain, I have to exercise. Cannabis is an incentive to work out. I love that these classes have convinced cannabis consumers that yoga is something they want to try. Many decide that it’s for them afterwards. There is always a piece of us that is like, What if I don’t go? Or, What if I skip today? Cannabis helps motivate the yogi to show up.
V: You taught pole dancing in Boulder. Do you still teach or participate in it?
SM: Not really, but it’s more because of a lack of opportunity in my life right now. If there was an opportunity to continue to teach, I would. I’m in Vegas currently, so I’m sure I could find a studio to teach a class. Pole dancing is a mind / body exercise that you can put alongside yoga and Pilates. Yeah, there is the fun sexy piece, but actually doing the physical aspect of pole, you really have to be connected to your body through your mind. And the sexy piece is very mindful, too. It all depends on your intention. Whether you perform or practice some pole dancing moves or spins, there is a moment where you go within yourself for a while. It’s a really beautiful and extremely mindful experience. It is hard to be outside of yourself and do pole successfully.
V: Would a combination cannabis and pole dancing class work?
SM: I think it could. I hesitate because it would need to be a very basic class. I wouldn’t teach any spins or inversions because I wouldn’t want anyone climbing a pole and falling.
V: How did you partner up with Bluebird Botanicals?
SM: I have known Mike and Q forever. They’re in Louisville. I knew for myself, and the idea aligned with my vision, that I wanted a CBD heavy extract to go with my yoga events. I went to their facility, took a tour, and wrote a blog. I felt so strongly about the way they make their product, how they care for their product, and ultimately the consumers, I hoped they’d be interested in working with me on this venture. I was so lucky they said, “Yes.” It’s become a collaborative effort. They’ll sponsor specific cities that I go into from time to time. They sponsored my last event in Boston, which was awesome. I can’t say enough good things about Bluebird. They care about how the hemp is sourced and processed, as well as what it contains and why. They don’t want people to ingest things into their bodies that they aren’t ingesting themselves. They represent themselves with integrity and are conscious about making sure their product contains exactly what they say it does.