What Do Yoga And CBD Have In Common?
Many things, it turns out.
First Things First - Why We Love Yoga
One of the most fundamental wellness benefits of yoga is the way it reconnects us with our breath, and through that, calms the autonomic nervous system. Scientifically, we measure the tone of the autonomic nervous system through Heart Rate Variability (HRV), or the ability of our body to modulate our heart rate at a microsecond level in response to changing stressors, be that practicing a rigorous Vinyasa asana series or reacting to an emotionally tense situation.
Yogic breathing (especially timed, controlled diaphragmatic breathing), has been shown to have a positive benefit on HRV and thus the autonomic nervous system . Further, the combination of movement plus breathing (a typical yoga practice) has an even greater effect . When we practice yoga, it is literally changing our physiology and increasing our ability to regulate our bodies. What this means in more basic terms is that practicing yoga teaches us to be able to keep calm in response to changing situations which is clearly a good thing!
How Does This Compare to CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, the non-intoxicating wellness constituent in hemp, also has a beneficial effect similar to yoga. While not as well studied as yoga, one study found increased HRV among cannabis users in comparison to matched non-users . Higher HRV occurs when the overall heart rate is lower and reflects a calmer state of being. Case studies of athletes using CBD also point towards improved recovery and increased HRV .
The impacts of CBD and yoga on tonifying our autonomic nervous system are powerful. Being Able to adapt calmly to stressors is truly at the root of maintaining well-being. It reminds me of one of my favorite concepts in yoga philosophy: Sukha and Sthira
Sukha and Sthira
Sukha and Sthira roughly translate as effort and ease.
While we must put forth effort (be it in holding a posture with strong muscles or getting through our daily duties), if we do so with ease and are able to respond to the changing needs with calmness, we feel well.
Next time you are ready to practice yoga, consider trying some CBD beforehand. It may deepen your practice and will likely speed any necessary recovery from over exertion.
By including both CBD and Yoga into your wellness routine, you are helping your mind and body stay in optimal balance.
 Effect of yoga on pulse rate variability measured from a venous pressure waveform. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2019 Jul;2019:372-375.
 Understanding mind-body disciplines: A pilot study of pacedbreathing and dynamic muscle contraction on autonomic nervous system reactivity. Stress Health. 2019 Oct;35(4):542-548.
 The effects of cannabis on heart rate variability and well-being in young men. Pharmacopsychiatry. 2010 Jun;43(4):147-50