Yoga and Cannabis
California is perhaps the holy grail to everything progressive in the United States. I moved here knowing that whenever I left, I’d leave with my level of consciousness and overall openness to life truly expounded. One of my most memorable Californian experiences to date was a yoga and cannabis class my friend, Clark (founder of Mahogany Mary), recommended to me. Let it be known that I am not a first-timer experiencing yoga, nor cannabis…but together? This was a marriage that warranted my counsel. The justice of the peace pipe was none other than the yogi and instructor, Minelli Eustacio.
Minelli has created a safe space for people to deepen their yoga practice by breaking bud and communing with one another. You walk into her humble abode set for an intimate eight person session, with the lights turned down low; a perfectly judgement-free zone.There’s a natural transition into instruction with the aide of calming music, quaint introductions and communal ritual for lighting of each others’ “joints”. It was the most unique experience that I’ve even had. I’ve always felt a bit uncomfortable going to yoga sessions of mixed experienced levels (let alone with weed) in fear that someone might be closely analyzing my technique…but not here. Everyone is ready to explore and by the first “hit”, you barely notice what’s beyond your own realm. It is a tall order to ask someone to destigmatize the use of weed, but it is a challenge Minelli is taking on one day at a time. She and I dug deeper into her life’s journey thus far and passion for the practice. Explore with us…
Candace: Growing up how did you view marijuana? Were there Influences like your mother, father, media?
Minelli: As a kid, I had no context at all. My is an mom RN, so she understands it, but isn’t a smoker at all and my dad is from the Congo, so he’s completely traditional and doesn’t use it. The only people I had contact with were the Jamaican people in London, where I grew up, and everyone who was a Rastafarian would smoke weed as a sacrament and that was the closest I ever was to it.
Candace: Wow! I see how being exposed to the Rastafarian way of life/culture could have been influential. Did this particular experience change your personal perception of weed or was there another defining moment?
Minelli: Over time my perspective changed. My first experience was in high school and my friends were just smoking out of an apple. No one knew what they were doing and it was nothing like my experience when I was older and tried with my now husband years later. The cannabis and conversation that I was having with my husband opened up my mind to my standpoint in religion, in the way I choose to live my life and focusing my energy only on things I enjoyed.
Candace: Do you feel like your discovery of marijuana was completely separate from your discovery of yoga and how did those two worlds collide for you?
Minelli: I started doing yoga a little bit before I started smoking, but I always kept them separate. Until I went to a yoga class with a friend, and he offered me some. I thought, “What? I never even thought about smoking before, I always kept it separate because yogis are supposed to be pure and everything.” But when I went into the class I noticed that I was way more attentive to my breathing and my movement. It became kind of a ritual and began to grow together. Through cannabis, I loved yoga more and it helped me to understand how my body was affected.
When I matriculated through teacher training in 2012, and found out more about yogis smoking cannabis in 2000 B.C. I knew there was something deeper about using marijuana while practicing yoga.
Candace: It’s interesting that you mentioned the yogis from ancient times. I just read an article by a woman who has been exercising yoga for many years and she spoke out against yogis using marijuana while practicing. More specifically she says, “Don’t confuse a rocky mountain high with Samadhi (a state of intense concentration achieved through meditation. In Hindu yoga, this is regarded as the final stage, at which union with the divine is reached (before or at death).”
Minelli: There are so many levels you can take your high to. Whether you’re taking one puff, smoking a whole blunt, smoking CBD or THC, there are many avenues that cannabis can help you be more aware of your body, breath and feelings. So when people say don’t confuse a “rocky mountain high with Samadhi”, I think they are thinking of that stereotypical “pothead” that smokes a ton. You don’t have to smoke that much to access that part of your brain or reach a higher sense of self. Samadhi is a constant state of bliss and mindfulness, and it’s a process to reach this level. Cannabis has only helped me reach this state of bliss much faster while meditating or flowing.
Candace: As you mentioned there’s levels you’re trying to reach in your journey. For those who are first-timers in one of your classes, how do you help them sink their teeth into the practice and get over that initial hesitation?
Minelli: I want everyone to smoke together so it’s more of a ritual and not just getting high by yourself. We also eat edibles so they can experience another way of ingesting THC outside of smoke, and it just helps when we do everything as a group. We’re all working together to create this space of non-judgment where we can breathe, let go and smoke communally. So we can feel the connection to ourselves, the plant and to each other and I find that it helps people connect deeper to the practice.
Candace: I do remember feeling nervous in the beginning, because I’d be around these hardcore yogis that would judge my skill and usage of smoking in general, but all of these feelings dissipated once we began. Your idea of keeping the space intimate and communal has been helpful for me in my journey. Speaking of intimacy, do you plan on keep your classes on the smaller side? How do you see your cannabis-yoga practice growing?
Minelli: I want to spread this practice as far as I can, so I plan to keep my Friday classes, partner with studios here in LA, who are looking to explore instructed yoga classes with ganja, and to do large events introducing cannabis to the attendees’ practice. I also have recovering cancer patients or students who have back issues that don’t go to yoga classes outside of my Friday class; so, I have been making yoga videos for my website and YouTube channel for students that want to access them and watch from home with instruction to their practice.
Candace: I see that you love the community you’ve created and are focused on growing it, but how has this practice changed your life?
Minelli: It’s changed my life so much. Since I’ve started teaching these classes, I’m meeting so many people that are resonating with what I’m doing and so many people that are doing it on their own already, but love the fact that they can come to a sacred space and do it with other people. I just feel so empowered on my own. I’m putting myself out there and the universe continues to send me more opportunities. Everything is telling me to keep pushing forward and I have something valuable to offer the world. As the industry becomes more legal and less destigmatized, the more people will come out and do it with other people in more social settings.
Whether you indulge in cannabis or not, you must applaud the courageousness that Minelli has embodied as she takes her own steps off the beaten path. If you’re curious to know more, let us know in the comments and maybe we can host a Twitter chat or Facebook live discussion deepening our understanding of the cannabis-yoga connection! If you’re sold, and want to explore this realm with Minelli connect with her at www.yogawithminelli.com or join a class at www.meetup.com/cannabis-enhanced-yoga.
Hello Fresh To try or Not To Try
Every time an innovative mail-order service surfaces, I always ask myself, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Welp…Hello Fresh, was right up there with the auto-renewing subscriptions like Bevel and Curlbox that had me wanting to be a boss! Hello Fresh is a service that delivers measured, fresh ingredients with 3 easy recipes a week for up to 5 people. The price tag on this weekly subscription is $59.95 and seems pretty expensive for a meal that isn’t cooked already. However, taking a step back I think it’s reasonable considering those who may eat out often and spend lots of expendable cash on food! Luckily, I had a friend send a free week of Hello Fresh meals some time ago and thought this was the perfect platform to shout out this company and give my very subjective review on the service. I’m pescatarian so I opted for the vegetarian menu, which was a lot of hype in terms flavor. In fact, the meals hit my taste buds maybe one time out of the three, but would I recommend it to someone else considering? Yes, yes I would. Here’s the rundown on my overall experience with this subscription service:
Um, hello! They deliver your food straight to your door, and it’s fresh! The convenience of it all really makes my life want to hug me back.
The delivered box stays cold if you’re out longer than expected. You select a time frame and day that works best for your meals to be delivered, but sometimes the planning still goes awry. Thankfully, they package the box with ice packs and insulation to keep your meals fresh!
The recipes are straight to the point and quick! All of my meals took 45 minutes or less including prep time, which is amazing!
If you eat out a lot, this is the answer. Having fresh ingredients to use gets you in the kitchen more and deters you from going out and spending $15-$20 on meals every night.
The dishes are easily replicated or likened from items bought from the grocery store. You might’ve remembered the delicious dressing you made with only 2 ingredients or the specific combo of veggies that your taste buds loved. These are all things you can put in your arsenal for future dinner parties to come.
They’re just ingredients! Let’s say you cooked a huge meal or shopped heavily for groceries right before your box arrived. Well, they’re just groceries, so they can wait in your fridge until you’re ready to use them.
Customer Service is diligent. Hello Fresh’s customer service department is highly responsive and very professional. When I accidentally selected classic meals instead of veggie meals, I freaked out thinking it was too late to change the order; but, I sent an email to customer service and they had it straightened out within 15 minutes of my initial request.
Maybe I had a bad week, but I didn’t like 2 meals out the 3 they delivered. I thought to buy groceries still for the week, which was a lifesaver considering I had to find a way to finish eating meals I wasn’t too keen on.
Customer Service is diligent. In the pros section, you see that I appreciated the level of customer service, but after I decided to cancel I received one too many emails and phone calls regarding the cancellation. No means no!
Well, there you have it! The pros definitely outweigh the cons and I highly recommend that everyone give it a try, but especially people living in the city, where getting to the grocery store is a half-a-day activity; or others, who spend a large amount of money on eating out, and want to dip their toes in the daily cooking lifestyle. What are some other health and nutrition subscriptions you’ve been obsessed with? I’d love to hear about them and try them out! Until then, make sure you check out the JUST2BEFIT Facebook page for the latest tips and tricks to reach those summer body goals.
Massage: A Therapy for People Who Workout
During the time you experience an “I will be sore for days” feeling after you had a very exhausting workout, why not try a massage? Oooh, massage! Simply the word alone invokes pictures of relaxation and fragrant oil scents. I hope at this point I could get one. However, are you aware that a massage can help people who work out as well?
This only turns out that it is not only an extravagance you indulge yourself in at the spa. It can likewise truly help you in your exercises so you can get the outcomes you need.
Kimberly Neumann, an ACE (American Council on Exercise) certified fitness specialist stated that some sort of massage for individuals who work out is vital. Moreover, she also said having a body that you want, does not mean you have to destroy it. Being benevolent to yourself and taking care of it has advantages of its own.
It may be unrecognizable, but having a massage will have a big impact on your cardiovascular system. It enlarges and widens your blood vessels and veins, which will allow them to work more productively in circulating blood to your body. Through this, your tissues will receive oxygen and nutrients that are fresh. It will also allow your body to eliminate toxins and waste products. Your heart rate lowers during and after the massage which means you are relaxed.
In the muscular system, the benefits of having a massage are more expected and known. One of them straightforwardly binds to the benefits in the cardiovascular system. The expanded and improved blood circulation eases muscle strain, decrease soreness of the muscles and make for a quicker recuperation. At that point, the muscles that are relaxed can encounter “more flexibility and an increase in the scope of motion” as clarified in an examination in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. Both of those advantages can prompt better athletic execution.
Researchers from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging had their latest research which demonstrates that a massage diminishes inflammation and irritation of the muscles and advances the development of new mitochondria, the unit of the cells that produces energy, after a bout of exhausting and strenuous exercise. What do those things mean? It implies that having a massage can help relieve pain and build up your muscles. Moreover, it allows fast recovery. It does not only feel great on the muscle tissues, it really is beneficial for them.
Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness had a study which shows that a massage therapy brings up that physicality required in sports that do not depend on physical strength. It is said that the capacity to concentrate on a certain task and strategic maneuvering in cycling can likewise influence performance. In this manner, the mental impact gave to a competitor who experienced a massage might be of significance in a non-physiological way. These advantages include diminishing anxiety and tension while giving relaxation by causing your parasympathetic sensory system to activate. So you get an expansion in dopamine and serotonin levels and a decrease in cortisol levels, which is definitely connected to stress. A lowered-tension and relaxed state allow a person to focus, something you need to have before going into any game, workouts or matches.
The Massage that Fits You
As an athlete or gym enthusiast, you will have more benefits from a sports or deep tissue massage than having delicate, gentle, soft and fragrant spa massage. In any case, these sorts of massage may not generally be that comfortable.
The sports massage frequently includes stretching and different methodologies, quick-paced massage, contingent on the sport or workout in which you take part. It can be utilized as a stretch for pre-exercise and chance to warm up the muscles or utilized as a post-exercise rub intended to increase your flexibility and reduce muscle pain and soreness.
Recommended by massage specialists, deep tissue massage can also be the one for you since it caters specific issues you may have, applying a pressure that is heavier on the layers of muscles and other profound tissues. It is not pleasurable for some people who experienced this type of massage. It is intended to get into tensions and knots the muscles might hold. In any case, be ready. Either kind of massage can leave you feeling sore with their regard for delicate tissue a throbbing painfulness.
Craig Simon a licensed therapist and instructor from the Delta College utilizes many different approaches for pre-occasion massage, intermediate massage (an approach used during the exact event) and post-occasion massage to get the muscles relaxed, warmed up, free from spasms, and extended and stretched.
When Should You Schedule it
Note that research and therapists propose that having a massage all over is decent, yet would not give you the same advantage from a massage program on a regular basis. Just as exercise itself, your advantages you will get are cumulative, which means the all the more consistently you get a massage, the more you will garner the benefits. Consider it as a preventive maintenance. That being stated, realize that the advantages are only temporary and are reasons behind why it is a cumulative activity.
Paul Valentine a professional licensed therapist prescribes planning once per week if conceivable or every after one week in case you are preparing and training at a level that is very high. In the event that getting a week by week massage does not fit your budget or you do not have an available time for it, he proposes having it for twice per month.
When you recalled that you may leave a massage session with a sore feeling after a very strenuous exercise, you will need to plan a pre-occasion (like a long run or hard work out) around three to five days before the actual occasion. Truth be told, you can do it during your rest day.
Post-occasion massage takes after a similar dependable guideline which is to hold up three to five days for the muscle pain and soreness to disperse. Post-occasion massages could extend into the following day or within 72 hours period of the occasion as stated by Simon.
A light massage after a tournament or workout would help in blood flow and relaxation and must be taken advantage of whenever it is possible. Make sure to have a licensed therapist to who has the “LMT” after his or her name and the permit number posted on any advertising materials or data. An ideal approach to locate a qualified specialist is by asking other people who participate in such events. Word-of-mouth recommendations are usually the astounding referrals you could use.
Utilized to help relieve pain or as preventive maintenance, massages can be a fundamental weapon in your workout and training period. This likewise helps you to relax and feel physically and mentally better, benefits that even a normal person would appreciate.
Written by Reinier Jewel Gecole
The Magic of Meal Prepping
My mom packed my lunch until I was probably 6, and then she was like, “You’re on your own kid.” While I may or may not be joking about when exactly my mom reared me to be a more self-sufficient human being, the fact that I continue this practice even as an adult tells us what she taught, stuck…and in the best way possible. My love for preparing in advance and cooking in general has led to my commitment to using less dishes, not eating the same meals for 8 days after I cook them and increasing my overall efficiency and pleasure in meal preparation.
So, let’s start at the top! When did packing a lunch turn into ‘meal prepping’? I always get the, “How hard has it been for you to meal prep,” when they see my to-go boxes filled with yummy leftovers. Guys the jig is up! Meal prepping does not have to be as complicated as it sounds. In fact, I’d like to share with you how we can simplify the process.
- Don’t grocery shop in the same day you plan to meal prep. No-brainer, right? Well, just in case it wasn’t, let this piece of advice sink in. Meal prep definitely has an element of planning ahead and if you succeed at doing this, you’re almost guaranteed not to play yourself when it comes time to actually cook. Completing these two pieces of the puzzle together is like working another full time job in a day. So, try getting yourself excited about the dishes you want to make on Pinterest in the middle of the week, grocery shop on a Friday or Saturday and cook on Sunday!
- Speaking of the grocery store, buy healthy snacks and ‘I ain’t got the time today’ meals! There is nothing worse than packing a delicious meal and feeling prepared, but it’s not quite enough to hold you over to the next meal. That’s where keeping your bag handy with protein/granola bars, water and fruits & veggies will make you feel like ‘You won!’Not to mention those days where you spent all night watching the Real Housewives of Whatever Land instead of cooking like you were supposed to do. I keep tuna, crackers and quick & interesting salad items in my arsenal at all times. I can never calculate those days where I worked a little too late or caught a wave of laziness, so it’s great to have this as a back-up.
- Let’s try not to cook 21 meals in one day guys. You will hate yourself in the end and never want to do it again. In order to make this process more digestible, I recommend that you prepare no more than 3 dishes at a time.That’s 6 meals that you can ration for 3-4 days if you play it smart!
- Efficiency is key in making this a painless process. Choose dishes that can cook at the same time, require less prep work and possibly some that might be able to be frozen later. So instead of doing all 3 compartment meals (i.e. baked chicken, rice & veggies) try mixing it up! Personally, I love to get a good crockpot of chili going while roasting vegetables and potatoes and cooking rice and bean burgers on the stove-top. From start to finish, it should take about 2.5 to 3 hours to get your meals together. That’s over EIGHT meals cooked for one person. I’m in heaven just thinking about not cooking for the rest of the work week.
All in all, don’t overthink it. Of course, there is planning, but if you break down the goal into smaller tasks, it makes the process less worrisome.Turn on your favorite playlist and turn your kitchen into a sanctuary…a place you’ll want to return to every week. If you want to see what kind of dishes I rotate between on a weekly basis, make sure you sign up here for all of the newest stories, news and updates!