We catch up with Lawrence Jay, a yogi and yoga teacher of over 11 years, to find out how he uses cannabis to enhance his practice, get creative, and change his perspective.
As someone who practices yoga on the reg and takes said practice ever-so-seriously, I was surprised when I heard about Lawrence Jay, a yoga teacher who uses cannabis to help elevate his practice.
I mean, of course I’ve heard of those gimmicky yoga classes. There’s Rage Yoga, where you’re invited to have a beer or drink before – and during – your practice, and there are small studios (or classes in people’s homes) where everyone smokes up together before partaking in an all level class, but I was surprised to hear that someone so well respected and admired in the yoga community was using cannabis before teaching, and not only that, that he’s willing to talk about it and its benefits.
Lawerence Jay is originally from Toronto, currently lives in Moscow, and has been a yoga teacher for over 11 years internationally. He’s taught in Hong Kong at Pure Yoga, the biggest yoga studio in the world.
He opens up yoga studios, and part of his mission is to transform what yoga is from an Indian classic practice to something that people can use in all parts of their lives. I want to make sure people can see the yoga and how one can add spirit to any moment. His yoga practice is quite athletic and he loves to do fitness beyond yoga too, and he likes how fitness has become more holistic and more involved in implementing and integrating things like meditation and mobility.
We did a Q & A with him about the who/what/where/why/when/hows of his use and how it affects his practice.
How do you use cannabis for meditation, yoga and recovery?
I vaporize it. I know some people who eat it. Sometimes I make coco-butter, like coconut cannabis butter when I’m in Canada and put it in my coffee. I use it to deepen my relationship with whatever I’m doing, so if I’m writing I go a little bit deeper. If I’m working out it gives me a different experience. It relaxes my body and it has me feeling more free. It sometimes makes me less focused which creates a different need for focus, so it becomes a tool of sharpening my practice, based on the distraction.
How does your practice differ when you use cannabis?
It can be more sensual, so I can get really deeply into the nuances of the way my body feels. It can be more creative, I start feeling almost theatrical sometimes. I like it in terms of expression: physical expression and emotional expression. Sometimes it can also make me lethargic or heavy or overtime it also sometimes makes me feel stiff. So sometimes not using it makes me feel better. But in the moment it can be a really great way to get in the state of feeling active. Of feeling sensitized to my body or in my body.
Are you noticing this trend picking up where people are using it to promote their practice or recovery?
Yes for sure. I have a friend you should check out, Angelina and she has a hashtag #RIPPEDRUNNERS and she’s a super athlete and she has her own edible brand called Blessed in Toronto. She’s got a group and a hashtag and runs and does muay thai and she is a ripped runner I’d say. I also do floating when using cannabis, that’s something I’m going to do after this interview.
What’s something people should be mindful of when considering usage to benefit their practice?
I think that they should be mindful that it can actually really help. And it can help them create a routine, get into their bodies and help them decrease uncomfortable, painful feelings in their body that they have perceived as suffering. Sometimes the perception changes when you’re under the influence of cannabis, you’re experiencing things but in a new lens, in a new filter. It allows us to get deep and to get insightful about it, so it becomes – at least for me – spirited and poetic.
What’s your preferred strain?
Some kind of edible, but edibles are tough if I don’t make them myself. I don’t trust edibles, I don’t know them enough. I like to vaporize. I don’t get too high. It just kind of gives me a different kind of connection. I put coconut cannabis butter in a coffee with some MCT oil so it’s fatty also and blend it up in a Vitamix. I don’t really have a strain. I change. I go from indica to sativa. I use it to give me a new perspective and if I stay with one strain what happens is my perspective gets locked in. And I use it as a training tool not only for fitness but for everything. I want it to throw me off a little bit so I have to find the bearings, and in a way and if it doesn’t, I quit. Quitting is also an option. For me it’s all about shocking the system so using it is a nice way to safely shock the system, but also not using it can safely shock the system.
You can follow Lawrence Jay on Instagram at @yogafy where he is constantly sharing and updating his Instagram stories to showcase his fitness journey and day-to-day routine out in Russia.