When you think of America’s favorite pastimes, you probably think of baseball or football. You might not think of yoga, but it could soon join the list if the numbers are anything to go by.
According to the Good Body, the number of American yogis increased by 50% from 2012 to 2016. In 2020, 36 million Americans practiced yoga, and experts believe the numbers will keep increasing.
Yoga isn’t the only thing that’s become popular over the past few years. CBD, a hemp compound, has also gained a massive following.
Both CBD and yoga appeal to a health-conscious crowd and some have praised the benefits of doing them together.
Jessica Kerr, the CEO of Imaginal Biotech, is one of the biggest proponents of combining CBD and yoga. We spoke with Jessica, and in this article, we'll share some of her tips on combining yoga and CBD.
What is yoga?
If you aren’t familiar with yoga, it’s a combination of mental, spiritual, and physical practices that originated in ancient India. Experts believe that yoga began sometime around 3000 BCE.
Most of the yoga practiced today draws on the teachings of Patanjali, an Indian sage who wrote the Yoga Sutra. This book is the earliest written record of yoga, and studying it has given experts a rare glimpse into how ancient societies practiced yoga. The book also provided a unique opportunity to compare traditional yoga with modern yoga.
One of the key differences is that while modern yogis primarily focus on their fitness, ancient yogis focused on expanding their spiritual energy.
Types of yoga
Over the years, yoga has evolved and developed into 13 distinct types. Each of the 13 is unique and offers practitioners something different. Knowing each type will allow you to choose what’s best for you. They are:
● Kundalini - perfect for those looking for spiritual and physical practice.
● Vinyasa - suitable for beginners and those looking for more movement.
● Bikram - suitable for people who like to sweat or are looking for a more physical type of yoga.
● Hatha - fit for people looking for a gentler approach to yoga.
● Iyengar - ideal for anyone with a physical limitation or those looking for a more classic type of yoga.
● Ashtanga - ideal for people looking for a physical yet spiritually rewarding experience.
● Yin - perfect for anyone looking for a slower type of yoga.
● Power - suitable for people who enjoy Ashtanga but want less rigidity. Also suitable for people who want a less spiritual experience.
● Prenatal - for expectant mothers and new moms looking to get back into exercise.
● Restorative - ideal for anyone looking to relax, de-stress or manage pain.
● Sivananda - perfect for anyone who wants a gentler or more spiritual experience.
● Acro - perfect for couples looking to build trust and intimacy and for those who enjoy yoga with a partner.
● Aerial - for those who want a non-traditional yoga experience.
Why do people do yoga?
According to a survey, most people start practicing yoga for flexibility, health, stress relief, and physical fitness. However, as they continue to practice, their motivation often changes. Yoga becomes a way for them to get in touch with their spirituality or for self-actualization.
Jessica started doing yoga to deal with pain, improve her physical conditioning and flexibility. Over time she found that the breathing exercises she learned in yoga improved her emotional stability. Additionally, the mentality she picked up from yoga empowered her and improved her relationship with her family and friends.
What does science say about yoga?
One of the reasons why yoga is so popular is because there’s a lot of research on its benefits.
In one paper, Holger Cramer and his team reviewed 10 randomized controlled trials, with a combined total of 967 participants, on yoga's effectiveness for lower back pain. They found strong evidence on the effectiveness of using yoga to manage lower back pain, particularly in the short term.
In another paper, Paula Chu and her team reviewed several studies on the effectiveness of yoga for improving cardio-metabolic health. They found promising evidence that yoga could improve cardio-metabolic health; however, these findings were limited by the small sample sizes.
Additionally, Chantal Villemure et al. found that yoga could protect the brain from age-related grey matter decline. Yogis had brain volumes usually associated with younger people, while those who didn’t practice yoga had the expected decline. Further research shows that the benefits on the brain take a short time to manifest. Britta Hölzel et al. found significant brain changes in people who underwent an eight-week stress reduction program.
What is CBD?
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a hemp compound that gained popularity because research shows it has a ton of benefits. Studies show that CBD can help people manage pain, sleep better and deal with the daily stresses of life. CBD’s anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-microbial properties have made it the go-to wellness product of the 21st century.
Jessica’s company, Imaginal Biotech, is one of the leading companies in the CBD space. They produce a wide range of products such as gummies, soft gels, salves, and pet chews.
Combining CBD and yoga
Since discovering CBD, Jessica has added it to her yoga routine, and she isn’t the only one. A growing number of people are claiming that CBD and yoga are better together. But is there any truth to this?
Can CBD make yoga better?
CBD improves recovery time
Yoga is more challenging than most people expect. Your body stretches in unfamiliar ways, and you use muscles that aren’t typically used. When you hold yoga poses, your muscles contract causing microscopic tears in the tissues, which, coupled with inflammation, is why you may feel sore. The soreness usually increases if you do other exercises alongside yoga.
The soreness usually goes away on its own, but if you want to reduce your recovery times, you should use CBD. CBD reduces the inflammation in your muscles, allowing them to recover faster. Jessica usually uses a CBD topical after yoga to reduce soreness and allow her muscles to recover faster.
CBD helps manage pain
On its own, yoga is great for managing pain; combining it with CBD significantly increases its effectiveness.
Jessica began practicing yoga to manage pain from injuries accumulated over the years. Although it helped, it didn’t completely take away the pain. When she began combining CBD and yoga, the pain was a lot more manageable.
Jessica takes CBD orally before doing yoga and it has increased her flexibility. This improved her asanas (yoga poses) giving her more physical, mental, and emotional relief.
CBD can enhance yoga’s brain benefits
We’ve seen that yoga is great for the brain, but did you know that CBD is also great for the brain? Studies show that CBD has neuroprotective properties and it promotes neurogenesis, the formation of new neurons, in the hippocampus.
Doing yoga and CBD together allows you to enjoy their combined benefits on your brain.
Go for it
If you are looking to improve your health and wellness, you should try CBD and yoga. Jessica’s advice for people looking to combine CBD and yoga is to go for it and to experiment with doses until they find what works for them.