Can there be such a thing as “genre” in workouts? Because there is definitely a yoga studio genre. Students are predominantly young, fit, middle class and white women donning trendy yoga gear looking for a workout or a way to de-stress in studios that all seem to have the same decorator: clean lines, mellow palettes, tastefully placed statues of random Buddhist (although it’s rare to hear anything about Buddhism) or Hindu gods/figures, meditation paraphernalia, tropical plants and warm, “ethnic” (god, how that term irritates me) furniture, usually wood. Don’t get me wrong, I like the aesthetic. It is calming and serene and, to follow this paradigm of genre that I’ve suggested, this is what the students expect and desire. But sometimes you think to yourself that you’d like something utterly different.
Now, I’m mentioned my appreciation for Sivananda Yoga, where students were mostly older, and really, really into yoga. Follow Your Bliss is also very different from the yoga studio genre, but in a different way.
Follow Your Bliss is a collective of people into yoga and other alternative healing arts offering classes and services at a variety of locations. Just peruse the wide range of past and present workshops and classes offered on the site – there’s palm readings, didgeridoo lessons and tantric masturbation, to name a few. One of the more unique classes is ganja yoga which is exactly what you think it is. I’ll preface this review by saying that laws regarding the possession of bud are very fluid in Canada. Its legal status is not nearly as clear as some might have you believe.
As for the class itself – it’s not in a studio, but rather, it’s held in the art gallery section of a head shop that’s wallpapered in colourful, intricate, psychedelic pieces. There’s a small bathroom for changing, covered in tiny stickers and postcards. The space is fairly small, but were only three other students and room for more. The only issue was that the space was really cold. Dee plugged in a heater, but I would recommend wearing something as heavy as a hoodie and sweats.
Class opens with an informal ganja ritual where everyone gathers round and gets to know each other. It makes a difference knowing the names of the people you’re practicing with and it feels more like a communal experience of sharing together. On that note, it’s highly recommended that you bring your own ganja to share!
The class itself is very slow with easier poses. Dee also walked us through an alternate nostril breathing exercise and chakra meditation. Which was perfect because I wasn’t in the mood for anything vigorous. On a more practical note, a slower class is better because your balance won’t be the greatest and a more rapid sequencing of asanas would not allow you to savour and give attention to all the rich physical sensations arising from each pose. Ganja effects everyone differently, but if you spend a lot of time in your head, you might consider this class to help you gain a stronger body awareness and connection to your breath.
Dee is a wonderful teacher with a gentle voice and a fun sense of humour. I felt completely languorous during this class, just delicious and completely relaxed and present and fluid. I usually have meditation class during these time slots but I would definitely consider skipping it to do this again.