Urban Yoga for the HIGH-drated
With a yoga mat curled under my arm, I walked into the lobby of a Downtown LA arts’ district loft building. I was running late, as usual, and high, but also determined to make it to this cannabis infused, “Puff ‘n Pose” yoga workshop. I pressed the ancient, vintage elevator button. It had been years since I had done yoga, or any exercise at all since studying dance and body movement in college. Am I too high to participate? Am I high enough? A hint of ganja breezed along the concrete hall, wafting in with the street noise and sirens, and a sense of community pride grew as I walked in to Shoot the Moon, the urban yoga experience for the high and hydrated.
Students enjoyed Lit Sticks by Lit Owl, a joint dipped in wax and rolled in kief… That’s right, joints dipped in wax, and rolled in kief. This is what we were smoking before exercise?? And, to top it off, these were indica joints. It was April Fool’s Day, and I thought our instructors, Phoebe Schiff and Ivette Lopez, were just fooling, but they were as serious as the joints were dank. Betty Khronic’s vegan cannabis energy bars were also available, as well as plenty of water and non-infused energy foods like fruits, vegetables, snacks, and artisanal sandwiches to keep energy up.
Being primarily a sativa or CBD consumer during the day, I was very surprised that the indica smoking session did not leave me zoned out on the couch. Instead, I felt happy, balanced, and ready to work.
Phoebe and Ivette allowed the class some time to consume as much or as little cannabis as desired, then began the Anusara style workshop. The positions established a foundation of strength in the body, then built on it. While one instructor taught, two other instructors moved through the class to adjust people’s poses. I struggled physically, and eased off when I had to. The clear verbal cues and swift, confident posture corrections encouraged me to continue. There was definitely a point when, sweat dripping onto my mat, I thought ‘What did I get myself into? When is this going to be over?!’ Then, like a voice from heaven, Ivette said we would have an intermission! This relief was energizing. We re-HIGHdrated with Lit Sticks and cucumber water.
“Yoga is about balance,” Phoebe said, “Just like we need both the sun and moon, we can’t have too much of one or the other. If you stay in the sun for too long, you get sunburned. If you stay in the dark for too long, you can’t see. In each pose, turn on the fiery energy of the sun as you rise into it, and cool it down with the calming energy of the moon to stay in it.”
When Ivette said, “It takes strength and courage to open your heart. Be a warrior for your heart. Lift yourself up. Start from within,” this encouraged me to hold the position instead of giving up. The instructors were careful to remind the class that if anyone felt pain, it was alright to stop or modify, but if a pose was just more strenuous, try to hold it.
“Yoga is a metaphor for life, it helps you to be aware of how you react to certain situations,” said Ivette. “For example, if you’re in a pose that’s pushing you out of your comfort zone, your ego might be telling you to give up and get out, why are you even putting up with this. Not realizing you’re learning to courageously accept the situation, breathe through it and come out stronger for having endured,” she added.
Shoot the Moon was by far one of the best classes I have been to; they warmed up, worked, and cooled down the body, spoke with clear and compassionate language, provided professional and accurate posture corrections, and showered us with cannabis throughout the entire experience. Plus, the swag bag to take home had top-shelf items like Honey Bee Buzzed cannabis-infused lip balm, more Lit Sticks by Lit Owl, Drinkable Therapy’s Cannabis Coffee, and Betty Khronic’s vegan, sativa, raw food energy bars.
Emerald Magazine: Why did you want to do a yoga workshop with cannabis?
Shoot the Moon: We wanted to teach a yoga workshop crafted around the way we like to practice. Our desire was to maximize the experience and make it appealing to all senses. We take pride in designing a beautiful atmosphere, providing delicious healthy food, curating a complementary playlist, burning relaxing candles and aromatherapy oils, and setting up the space to be comfortable to lounge in afterwards.
STM: Physically, Anusara yoga differs from other styles with its focus on alignment and the intention to open our hearts. Longer holds in the poses enable students to build the pose from the ground up and work back to their bodies’ natural blueprint. Additionally, Anusara classes feature a signature class “theme” that helps connect [the] students’ practice on their mat to something bigger than just the physical forms. The theme might be “do your best,” or “yoga as a blend of art and science,” and is intended to let students connect their practice to their lives off the mat.
Anusara is taught based on the Tantric philosophy of non-dualism, which purports that behind all matter is one unchanging consciousness. This consciousness is the same spirit within all — from fish, to reptiles, mammals, trees and of course, plants.
Emerald: How does cannabis affect a person during yoga?
STM: Cannabis makes the yoga practice “flow.” It helps students become more aware of their bodies, and in some instances, move farther into poses. For some, it might offer a chance to take their practice beyond the physical postures and into mind-body connection.
Emerald: Any downsides?
STM: Hydration is critical to any activity, particularly when practitioners use cannabis. Our water bar at each workshop features organic infusions with fruit and herbs, because we like to keep our yogis quenched with a healthy dose of plant vitamins.
Emerald: What is your personal favorite strain, and method of cannabis consumption?
Ivette: I prefer indica, OG’s (OG Kush, Master Yoda, Skywalker) and hybrids: Sour Diesel and original Girl Scout Cookies. I love bongs, especially the unbreakable ones from our sponsor, Strong Silicone.
Phoebe: I prefer sativa, like Blue Dream, and prefers pre-rolled joints.
Emerald: Are there any differences or similarities between eating vs. smoking vs. topical cannabis in connection with yoga?
STM: Not really — we usually smoke or vape beforehand. When we take edibles, we use the delicious vegan Sativa energy bars from our sponsor, Betty Khronic.
Emerald: Is Indica the strain of choice for Shoot the Moon?
STM: We have not established a strain. Ivette prefers Indica. Phoebe prefers Sativa. We both like hybrids. We like to offer
our students all strains to experiment with in their practice, and eventually hope to create a custom Shoot the Moon strain.
Emerald: I’ve seen some other cannabis yoga events cropping up. How does Shoot the Moon stand out from the others?
STM: We wanted to craft a whole experience, not just a class. We want to offer the things we do before and after our yoga
practice to give our students the full experience and have the chance to connect with like-minded yogis in the community.
Emerald: What are your goals with Shoot the Moon?
STM: We want to build a community around experiences that are about self-improvement, self-love, and self-awareness. We also want to introduce our favorite wellness brands in the food and cannabis space to our students. We encourage everyone to try our workshop once with an open mind.
To learn more about Shoot the Moon and upcoming workshops/events, follow them on Instagram: @shootthemoonyoga | Ivette Lopez: @ivettesyogaworld | Phoebe Schiff: @yogalosangeles