Yo­ganja mixes mar­i­juana with yoga

‘It re­ally in­creases this self-aware­ness in the body’

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY NIKKI SUL­LI­VAN

A new type of yoga prac­tice aims to chill your mind, Cheech and Chong style, be­fore bend­ing you into twisty poses.

Yo­ganja is a yoga prac­tice that starts with the com­mu­nal con­sump­tion of mar­i­juana and it’s be­ing done by Mykel Denny, a yoga teacher/reg­is­tered mas­sage ther­a­pist, orig­i­nally from Eska­soni.

“Ev­ery yoga I do has been a ganja yoga for me, for as long as I can re­mem­ber,” Denny said with a laugh, while sit­ting on his mat at Po­ten­tials Yoga Stu­dio, where the classes are be­ing held.

Denny be­lieves that mar­i­juana, as a medicine, is a good tool for help­ing en­hance a yoga prac­tice.

“It re­ally in­creases this self­aware­ness in the body (which is good for yoga prac­tice),” he ex­plained.

“It re­ally in­ter­nal­izes you be­cause it is that type of a medicine. Every­thing could be hus­tle and bus­tle around you and you’re just in­side your­self, think­ing stuff, aware of your body.”

Denny’s in­ter­est in yoga was sparked af­ter he watched the movie “Or­di­nary Magic,” star­ring Ryan Reynolds. He was only a child and it was the first time he had heard of yoga.

As a teen, he went to Ber­lin, Ger­many, and saw a yoga class for the first time and was in­spired to start prac­tis­ing.

In 2012, he fin­ished his train­ing in South Amer­ica and started teach­ing. He is a reg­u­lar teacher at Breath­ing Space Yoga on the Sydney Port Ac­cess Road and does his mas­sage treat­ments there as well.

Denny’s classes mix tra­di­tional Mi’kmaq cleans­ing prac­tices, like smudg­ing and cedar, with An­dean prac­tices of ground­ing and yoga asanas and breath­ing ex­er­cises. Yo­ganja is a way for Denny to add some­thing to the yoga prac­tice and to the way peo­ple con­sume mar­i­juana.

“Ev­ery­body who does con­sume cannabis, they kind of have this gath­er­ing that they do, this im­promptu gath­er­ing where peo­ple get into a cir­cle and they share,” he ex­plained.

“Yo­ganja is kind of the same thing but col­lid­ing the two, yoga and cannabis, brings a form of med­i­cated mind­ful­ness to the prac­tice of yoga,” he con­tin­ued.

The first two yo­ganja classes on Aug. 6 and Aug. 7 are al­ready sold out and Denny hopes to make them a reg­u­lar thing, as long as the in­ter­est con­tin­ues.

“Many of th­ese peo­ple have never even tried yoga. Be­cause this is mixed with the medicine, this re­ally sparks their in­ter­est,” Denny said.

“I am re­ally happy there are peo­ple who haven’t tried it be­fore want­ing to come out … it will re­ally help grow the com­mu­nity of mind­ful peo­ple. That would be a re­ally great thing to have a tribe of around here.”

Denny stressed par­tic­i­pants must bring there own mar­i­juana and there is no sell­ing or buy­ing at the class. Also for­bid­den is “mooching” from an­other stu­dent in the class. All par­tic­i­pants have to be 19 or over.

The mar­i­juana will be con­sumed af­ter a med­i­ta­tion that con­nects the user with the plant, sim­i­lar to plant cer­e­monies done by In­dige­nous tribes in Canada and other coun­tries. A vape will be used to smoke the mar­i­juana and each par­tic­i­pant will be given a ster­il­ized mouth­piece to use for the class.

“Main thing is I am not sell­ing cannabis, I am sell­ing yoga,” Denny said, with em­pha­sis.

“I think it’s time for a lit­tle bit more than just your reg­u­lar yoga.”

NIKKI SUL­LI­VAN/CAPE BRE­TON POST

A new type of yoga, as prac­tised by yoga teacher Mykel Denny, above, aims to chill your mind, Cheech and Chong style, be­fore bend­ing you into twisty poses.

NIKKI SUL­LI­VAN/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Yoga teacher Mykel Denny demon­strates a yoga pose in the above photo. Denny be­lieves that mar­i­juana, as a medicine, is a good tool for help­ing en­hance a yoga prac­tice.

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