Yoga is one of the few things the world can agree on. Like vegetables, getting enough sleep, and watching videos of funny dogs, it’s just good for you. It is a practice that benefits our physical, mental, and spiritual health — and there’s few things that can tick all those boxes. However, would you believe that Western world has only been copped on to its benefits for just over one hundred years? And it’s been mainstream for much less.
Yoga Takes the World by Storm
Yoga was first introduced to the West in the late 19th century. However, it didn’t become lodged in the wider public consciousness until the 70s when it suddenly occurred to people to care about their physical and spiritual health. This is also the time jogging became normalized (before people would have assumed you were running to catch a bus.)
Today yoga is just everywhere. Your Grandma does it, small children do it, people do it in rooms heated to over 40°C (by choice!) But, ‘yoga’ is actually a catch-all term for a varied and ancient practice. While its exact origins remain obscure, research suggests that it began in India over 5,000 years ago. The word ‘yoga’ has its root in the Sanskrit word for ‘unity’ or ‘union. And, like anything that has been around for so darn long it has many different styles and traditions, having been practiced by Hindus, Buddhists, Sufis, and many other religions. Some branches of yoga, such as Ashtanga, focus on precise physical control while others such as Bhakti center on devotion. Regardless of type, yoga’s purpose has always been to foster a deeper connection between body and soul. The Bhagavad Gita states;
“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.”
Combining Yoga with Microdosing
However, despite being over 5,000 years old, yoga is still ripe for remixing. And, appropriately, the old wellness zeitgeist is being combined with the new — microdosing. Microdosing, as you may be aware, is the practice of taking a sub-perceptual dose of a psychedelic — usually psilocybin from magic mushrooms or truffles. It is known to improve mood, creativity, focus and can also help those with depression, anxiety and ADHD.
In other words, its effects are pretty kindred to the spiritual and psychological effects of yoga. Could combining the two enhance the positive effects of each other?
The Benefits of Microdosing Psilocybin
Research has already shown that microdosing can improve performance in athletic activities. Reportedly increasing focus on the task at hand, as well as stamina and endurance. Yoga is an ideal candidate to be enhanced by the effects of microdosing. It is an exercise in which focus, dedication, and getting into the ‘flow’ are essential.
Important Things to Consider
But before you jump right in, there are a few things to consider before you combine microdosing with your yoga routine. Or yoga with your microdosing routine. Firstly, it is better if you have experience with both practices before separately. You don’t necessarily want to throw yourself into yoga on your first microdose experience, or to try the downward dog for the first time while microdosing. When you know your preferred microdose amount (usually between 0.5-1g of fresh magic truffles) and your physical capabilities (and limits) when it comes to yoga.
Once you’re sure you feel confident, then you can start your journey. (Note: remember that it will be a short amount of time before your microdose begins to take effect. Leave at least 30 mins to 2 hours before you start doing yoga so your dosage syncs with your routine.)
3 Ways Microdosing Can Enhance Your Yoga Practice
Microdosing is shown to improve focus, clarity of thought, and self-awareness. It is thought to help people to get into the ‘flow state’, inwhich one can become immersed in an activity for several hours.
This is a gift when practicing yoga — you can become one with the movement of your body, your breathing, the feeling in your muscles. You are less likely to be influenced by audio or visual distractions. This actually chimes with the fifth element of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga, Pratyahara. This is the act of ‘gathering towards’, or the ‘withdrawal of the senses’ — it is all about turning inwards without distraction.
The achievement of this state is also aided by the ego-quietening abilities of psilocybin. Psychedelics reduce the self-doubt that can sometimes take over our minds and stop us from fully immersing ourselves in activities — and more broadly — our lives in general. A meditative and slow yoga practice such as hatha or yin yoga is perfect to take advantage of the detachment from the ego. You can become fully submerged in the moment and become truly aware of your body.
Those who microdose before an exercise session credit it with increasing their energy level and therefore, their stamina. This energy is key for completing longer yoga sessions, especially the more advanced yoga types such as the Vinyasa or Ashtanga flow. Microdosing is also thought to pep up various supporting cognitive functions such as balance, reflexes, and coordination. This is ideal for those tricky balance-based yoga exercises — such as tree pose, or anything hand-stand based.
However, it is important to remember that even if you do get a spurt of energy — yoga is about mindfulness. You don’t want to over-do it and end up sore! Listen to your body and it will tell you how far to go.
What’s creativity got to do with exercise, you might say? Well, one of the great things about yoga is that you can tailor it to your own needs, and create an individual style. New styles of yoga are invented all the time — Jivamukti was developed as recently as 1984. Not bad for a practice spanning 5,000 years! Once you know different poses and techniques you can piece together your own routine using the added creativity provided by your microdose. With this out-of-the-box mentality, the enhanced awareness of your body, and increased energy you are sure to thrive on your yoga journey.
Listen to Your Body
So there you have it! Will you try the yoga-microdosing combo? Perhaps, in a future where microdosing is as integrated into society as yoga is today we will laugh at the question. Microdosing and yoga? Is there any other way to do it?!
So, why not get ahead of the game now and have a go yourself? Just remember to always listen to your body and let it guide you.