You may have noticed that your body feels particularly good after you’ve smoked some cannabis. It’s a bit floaty and full of consciousness. Perfect time for a stretch. But you’re high and don’t want to follow some boring routine. You want to make full use of your present creativity.
The secret is to stick to a few guiding principles and then move your body any way you desire. So after you’ve ingested some cannabis, get into comfy clothes and position yourself over something soft, like a carpet, yoga mat, or grass. Put on some downtempo music and relax. Then start moving in accordance with these 5 principles, which I’ve arranged into the acronym G.R.A.S.S: Gravity, Reflex, Awareness, Symmetry, Simplicity.
Gravity can serve you. Instead of resisting the Earth’s pull by pushing back with your feet, you can simply pull yourself upward toward the sky. This is a bamboozling concept at first glace. Obviously, your body will mechanically be pushing against the ground, but the trick is to do it indirectly. unconsciously.
Try it for yourself. Stand up straight with your arms at your sides and force your consciousness into the top of your head. Position it a high as you can and let the earth tug against your body.
This is your starting position. Sometimes in yoga they call it “mountain pose.” From here, you can make circles with your arms, spread your legs into a triangle and approach the splits, or perform lunges or kicks or squats, all without micromanagement.
Just keep your head anchored to the sky and let the rest of your body drape around your erect spine.
Once you’ve got your head up in the air and gravity is pulling you down, you want to become unconscious and let your body stretch any way that it likes. This is Reflex, defined by Google as, “an action that is performed as a response to a stimulus and without conscious thought.” The stimulus is that you’re high and want to stretch. The response comes naturally if you let it.
Some of my best stretches occur when I give up any preconceived notions of what my body needs. Your body knows itself better than you do, so let it have some freedom to move how it needs to move.
This could mean going from a lunge to a warrior three position, then pivoting on your toe and swinging your suspended leg in circles. Make an art of it and move in unconventional ways like nobody is watching.
Be aware of yourself.
Awareness should not be divided into individual body parts. Put your arm or leg, or whatever feels tight, into a position where you feel a deep stretch, then move the bulk of your awareness back into your head and spine.
Your job is to remove tension, not create it, so you have to get the stretch going and get out of there before getting in the way.
In addition to spatial awareness, you also have to be aware of the passage of time. Once you’ve committed to a stretch, let it happen for a while. Let the body break away until it starts reaching out to you again. It will ask for a break when it’s ready. You don’t need to stick to any rigid timing scheme here. Just listen and your body will tell you when it’s honestly had enough.
Left and Right Symmetry.
Cannabis tends to invert habits. Everyone has a dominant hand, usually the right, and its habitual use causes systematic asymmetry as we go about our everyday lives. This isn’t a problem. It’s useful that our hands perform different functions. But as far as the structural integrity of the body is concerned, it is important to at least maintain the ability to relax and contract each side equally.
Cannabis has an almost magic quality when it comes to this. You’ll find that your dexterity and precision in your left increases after you’ve smoked, and you’ll be more willing to use that side to support yourself or move objects around.
But you shouldn’t rely on becoming left-handed for an hour to even out your body. Symmetry starts in the spine, and flows out through shoulders and hips. Close your eyes and feel yourself centered on a rigid, straight spine, and go from there.The way I do this is by anchoring my head in the sky, then following up with the Mula Bandha technique, which basically means tightening your abs and kegels. Your hips will naturally align themselves. For the shoulders, push them out sideways while relaxing your rib cage and back muscles. Once you’ve got this solid foundation, you’re free to move around.
Finally, keep it simple. If you’re new to stretching, don’t be fooled by the Lululemon culture of buying expensive clothes and props and studio memberships. You can do it all at home on the floor in your pajamas instead. Save your money and watch a cat, the original yoga master, for just a few minutes. It’s naked, possessionless, and acts out its immediate impulses. I’m going to take my own advice and keep this paragraph simple.