Yoganja mixes marijuana with yoga
‘It really increases this self-awareness in the body’
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.”
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.
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.