08 Nov

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.

 

 

Candace Rogue

Guest Contributor

candacerogue.com

 

 

 

08 Nov

Ten Top Fitness Studio: JUST2BEFIT’S Top Picks

Ten Top fitness studios ”  Trust us, we know the struggle and that’s why we came up with this list. Because we talked about gym makeup? Well, this time we saw it fit to talk share a list of Ten Top gyms that you need to try out. No matter what your goals we are sure you’ll find something here for you from Yoga to Strength Training, to Water Fitness you’ll definitely find a gem here.
Remember our previous post on gym makeup? It had us thinking, “We’ve talked about gym makeup but what about the actual gym???”  After our research, we came up with a list of Top Ten  fitness studios that we think you should try out. We know you’ll find something here for you; from Yoga to Strength Training, to Water Fitness you’ll definitely find a gem here.

Ten Top Fitness Studio

  1. Knights Gym 3510 Scotts Ln, 19129 Philadelphia, PA

Hey Philly,

If you’ve been up and about Philadelphia then you’ve heard about Knights gym. This black-owned fitness studio has changed the scene for workout studios. Yep! With painted walls and steel bars you know it’s going to be a full body workout.
They specialize in Weight and strength training but have a few aerobics classes and planning to have concrete schedules soon.
The trainers are friendly, patient and we’ve heard great reports on the overall environment an training equipment so if you’re ever in Philly check it out and let us know your feedback

2. THE LAB 909 1680 South “E” St San Bernarndino, CA 

“The home of team hustle” with a motto like that how can you not prosper? And true to their word they have a wide variety of training option from their Werk category and even more in their Special offer category. Whether you want a 1 on 1 training session or a combat class consider your needs met. This black-owned fitness studio has got the systems and the structure to support you workout needs just pay them a visit and let us know what you think.

3.  Fountain of Youth 390 South Ave Suite A 14620 Rochester,  NY

Mhh- mhhhh- mhhhh, don’t you just love the sound of that… “Fountain f youth” this new black-owned fitness studio is equuuiiiiipppped. Yes, if types of equipment are your thing then here’s another good option for you the gym’s got bench presses, trend mills and all kinds of good bodybuilding equipment. Above that, they have artificial Grass, just in case you feel like you want to go green (pun intended)

4. Hitsville Gym 114 Memorial Dr Atlanta, GA

How ready are you Atlanta because this new black-owned fitness studio just opened a few months ago. Hitsville is a primarily a boxing facility offering fitness expertise and entertainment. So if you want to join the @Laila Ali’s league you know that this would be one of the best places to start.

5, Physical Training Life (PTL Life) 1415 N Clinton Ave Rochester, NY 

What’s more inspiring than a well-equipped gym? Awesome paintings on the wall. The most eye-grabbing features in this black-owned fitness studio has to be the wall paintings. The paintings are grudgy, but cool; they give you the vibes of… “ Keep going! Yes, push harder! Just one more rep!” If the paintings on the wall haven’t sold the heart behind this facility yet… well, they mainly focus on hard-core training not just on the body but the mind and spirit as well.

6. Melanie Fitness Centre 14900 Greenwood Rd Dolton, IL

Have you ever thought of water training? This black-owned fitness studio is one of the few facilities that actually specializes in aqua trim, which is available 5 times a week. They also offer hula hoop workouts, tight and tone boot camps, chair aerobics, step aerobics, boxing and urban Tai Chi. Now, with a program like that how can you not be fit? You’ll be spoilt for choice
Looking #JUST2BEFIT we’d recommend their hula- hoop class

7. Push U 930 North 8th St Philadelphia, PA

This black-owned fitness studio specializes in personal training. Do you know your goals? Do you want #just2befit or are you out to gain some back muscle? The trainers are kind but tough! They will push your limits and help you reach your full potential. From weight training to meal plans they give you the full 360. As a growing fitness studio, they are showing us some good promises but not as much as their training program will. So if you are in their hood and looking for a life fitness partner then why not pay them a visit and tell us what you think.

8. Studio 262 2626 S Figueroa St Los Angeles, CA

Have about some trap Yoga? Well, Studio 262 has got it. This black-owned fitness studio characterized by its Zen nature and lifestyle will give you all the feels needed for a great workout. Studio 262’s class schedule includes Yoga, Hype pilates Fusion, Buti yoga and Trap yoga. The best thing is that the prices are actually pocket-friendly. So you’ll not only get your Zen on but also save some cash while you’re at it. Now isn’t that a bargain?

9. And Yoga Studio 410 Marcus Garvey Brooklyn, NY 

Evolution! Freedom! Peace and yoga are what keeps this instructors and community going. This black-owned fitness studio sessions include Ariel Yoga (you know, the one that you’re hanging off the sealing), candlelit vinyasa wine-down, Sound bath with a live musician and much more. And Yoga prefers to work with small numbers so as to focus on you as a wholesome individual even as you go on with your personalized workout.

10. Live Cycle Delight 8019 Agnes St Detroit, MI

You know what they say about Spin classes!!! Yep, They are insanely good. You leave that session drench in your victory and full of energy to take on your next challenge. Well, this black-owned fitness studio started as a cycling group but has evolved to one of the best Spin cycle go-to places. To add on that; they also have HIIT workouts and prenatal yoga.
So wherever you are these black-owned fitness studios can and will help you meet your goals only if you pay them a visit..

 

Written By Beatrice Obwaya

08 Nov

 

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.

Physical Effects 

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.

Mental Effects

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

 

 

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