BEND + BLAZE: CANNABIS-AIDED YOGA
POST-PANDEMIC, PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR WAYS OF WORKING OUT THAT ARE MORE HOLISTIC AND CENTERED AROUND SOCIALIZING. AND AS RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA USE IS LEGALIZED IN STATES ACROSS THE US, A YOGA TREND IS TAKING SHAPE – ONE THAT BEND & BLAZE IS CAPITALIZING ON BY ENHANCING PEOPLE’S MIND-BODY CONNECTION.
[originally commissioned by CANVAS8].
HIGHLIGHTS + DATA
- In 2021, 16.9% of US adults said they had used cannabis in the past year (ORACLE, 2022)
- 60% of Americans who exercise regularly say they have come to prefer a mix of working out at a gym or studio, as well as at home (MCKINSEY & COMPANY, 2021)
- 80% of cannabis users mix weed and working out, with 70% saying it increases enjoyment and 78% saying it boosts recovery (CU BOULDER, 2021)
- Bend & Blaze is breathing new significance into exercise, using cannabis-aided yoga to elevate flow and practice and speaking to shifting attitudes towards psychedelic wellness
- Microdosing is gaining significant traction among wellness seekers as people become educated about the health benefits of drugs such as marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms
- In the wake of the pandemic, people are looking for exercise that’s less physically intense and allows for socializing
SCOPE“I’ve been practicing yoga for almost thirty years, and the first half of that time was without cannabis,” says Dee Dussault, the best-selling author of Ganja Yoga, and an internationally-recognized pioneer of the cannabis-wellness movement. “I found that once I developed a relationship to the plant, and learned what dose and setting provided the most relaxing high, my yoga practice was immensely and forever changed.” [Interview with Dee Dussault conducted by the author] Marijuana-enhanced yoga isn’t a new practice, however – its origins can be traced back to ancient yogis in South Asia, with texts referencing a plant that’s “fragrant, and makes you high and speak with the deities,” continues Dussault. But ever since US states started legalizing marijuana as a recreational drug, the wellness industry started taking note – in 2021, 16.9% of US adults said they had used the drug in the past year, a 46% increase since 2012. [Oracle (August 2022)] As of July 2022, 19 states in the US, Washington DC, and Guam have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, and the legal marijuana business has grown into a multibillion-dollar market. [US News (July 2022)][The Wall Street Journal (July 2022)] Simultaneously, the way people work out has irrevocably changed: pandemic-era Zoom classes are much more the norm, and attitudes around working out are shifting – 2021 research found that 70% of people working out at home during the pandemic intended to maintain or increase their use of online fitness even after lockdowns ended. [McKinsey & Company (June 2021)] COVID-19 also accelerated people’s negative feelings toward self-optimization and actualization; the collective consciousness turned towards forms of exercise that were less intense and more socially inclined. [Frontiers In Psychology (October 2021)] Enter Bend and Blaze, a yoga experience led by the marijuana wellness movement that uses Ganja Yoga to breathe new significance into an age-old practice. “I started Ganja Yoga in 2009 in Toronto after finally developing a relationship with the plant,” says Dussault. “It had made me paranoid for years before, but I learned about dose, set and setting, and strains, and I wanted to offer others a safe, relaxing place to learn about and consume cannabis and be able to enjoy its health benefits, as well as how it enhances yoga.” [Interview with Dee Dussault conducted by the author] Yoga has become a global industry worth $37.46 billion, with over 28.75 million Americans taking part who spend an average of $62,640 over their lifetime on classes, workshops, and equipment. [Zippia (June 2022)] Cultural attitudes toward the plant and other psychedelics have shifted, and so naturally, this new market is influencing the wider wellness market in countries that have recently legalized recreational marijuana. How will this impact wellness and exercise in the future?
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