By Whitney Miller
Since I’d never been to a cannabis infused yoga class before, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as I arrived to the private residence where class was to be held. Upon entering, Marijuasana founder Stacey Mulvey immediately made me feel welcome, as she did with everyone else who arrived. She offered us tea, CBD oil from Bluebird Botanicals, and passed around a joint, earning the title Hostess of the Year in my mind. The treats were generously shared, but classes are BYO (bring your own). I packed a few things with concentrates to share, setting up in between Stacey’s rolling tray and the beautiful mandala beads she had for sale.
Stacey’s service expands, profoundly, on what a lot of us have experienced at home—doing yoga to compliment a good sesh. However, Marijuasana takes us out of the bedroom and into a communal environment with classes that focus on mindful movement incorporating cannabis consumption and encouraging a deeper connection with the self. For attendees, it’s an incredibly warm, welcoming environment. As a safe space for stoners, Marijuasana is bringing the cannabis community even closer together, drawing in people of all types. It was through her own yoga practice that Stacey became aware of the connection between her mind, body, and cannabis—and as a trained instructor, she teaches just that, providing aid in the fight to normalize the use of marijuana.
Classes are designed to allow for plenty of social time, so we seshed, drank CBD infused tea, and chatted prior to taking our mats. Once we began, the lights dimmed softly and the warm sound of uplifting music filled the room. Stacey’s soothing voice would suffice to gently rock one to sleep, if not for the rejuvenating yoga flow that kept us moving, occasionally on our toes. Throughout the routine transitioning through positions, Stacey shared timely reminders on how to stay present tucked with tidbits on how the cannabis was simultaneously, synergistically benefiting our bodies. Something about Stacey and Marijuasana makes it easy to absorb her passion, it shines through her every token of support shared throughout the class. Incredibly, I found the combination of yoga and cannabis really can strengthen one’s focus on moving mindfully, both in yoga and life—the key mission of Mulvey’s Marijuasana.
The class took a break midway to enjoy more tea and share another joint. By the end of my first Marijuasana class, my body and mind felt truly connected. Stacey’s teaching style and the atmosphere she created made it a one of a kind experience. The Marijuasana routine is tailored to accommodate all skill levels, whether it’s someone’s first time or they’ve been practicing for years, you will be challenged without feeling intimidation. I highly recommend signing up for a class when one is available near you. It’s a great opportunity for your personal wellness, and to connect with others who have a similar interest. I enjoyed my experience so much, I just had to learn more about her journey and the creation of Marijuasana.
When did you draw the connection between consuming cannabis and mindful movement?
I had a wonderful experience after being educated about CBD oil at the Denver High Times Cannabis Cup in 2013. At the Cup, I had broken a two year period of abstinence from cannabis. What better time and place, right? About this same time I was wrapping up a rigorous training program to become a Pilates teacher. The program demanded that I learn certain skills in my body that I simply wasn’t getting. Bottom line: I wasn’t very good. There was an exhibitor booth for a brand that carried CBD oil and I was intrigued with CBD, so I asked my local dispensary to start carrying it, which they did. Then one night I was doing my normal practice, but this time I took huge doses of flower and this CBD oil.
I’m on my living room floor doing some stretching when I get this overwhelming sense of...all I can say is, it felt like I had an actual ownership of my body. Like, I not only could truly sense my muscles, my bones, and all the tissue in between; but they were mine. I had complete dominion over everything and it was all apart of me. I felt control. It was the happiest and most sincere form of power that I’ve felt, and I’ll never forget it. After that, everything clicked. I could do things in my program that I just wasn’t getting before. The body has its own innate intelligence, most of the time that intelligence is difficult to verbalize because it doesn’t translate unless it’s in you. You can describe it to another, and give them tips on how to find it, but it’s not there until they find it for themselves. Cannabis and CBD boosted my body’s IQ and helped me find the connections I just wasn’t making before. After that experience, I realized how cannabis is this incredible aid to mindful movement and I became a devotee.
So this is where Marijuasana was born...
The inspiration came from this experience and then wanting to help others learn about cannabis and mindful movement and how it may benefit their body and mind. Beyond that, CBD was so crucial in my own discovery. I also want to educate as many people as I can that this is somethings that’s available, legal and non-intoxicating. My hope is that if I can educate people about CBD and other cannabinoids that perhaps the stigma towards THC based cannabis will soften. For those with the narrow minded view that hemp and cannabis are deleterious, I’m hopeful that the route for changing that perspective will be via their bodies.
When did you first start practicing yoga?
I first started practicing yoga about 15 years ago. My practice then expanded to include, and at various times focus on, other forms of mindful movement like Callanetics, pole dance and Pilates. Really though, it’s all yoga.
"My goal for attendees is to find something novel. At minimum, it could be a tidbit about marijuana and the fact that it is good for you, or a new person in their community that shares an enthusiasm for weed. At best, it is a new way of feeling or understanding their own body, because that translates to a new understanding of themselves."
Everyone will have their own personal experience, but what are your primary goals for those who attend Marijuasana?
My goal for attendees is to find something novel. At minimum, it could be a tidbit about marijuana and the fact that it is good for you, or a new person in their community that shares an enthusiasm for weed. At best, it is a new way of feeling or understanding their own body, because that translates to a new understanding of themselves.
What does your family think of it all? Has your success with Marijuasana influenced their views?
I have two sisters and a brother, and they are my biggest supporters and fans, but I wouldn’t say my parents accept me. However, there are signs of tolerance. My entire extended family is Mormon, and I find that mostly they ignore me. I can assume they aren’t claiming to be related to me in any of their communities despite the fact Marijuasana has become so popular. Little by little, some of my cousins have started to hint they may not be as scandalized. I had a cousin email me and joke that the next time there is a family reunion, I should bring the brownies.
Coming from a Mormon family, what gave you the courage to strike out on your own? Has there been backlash from the conservative community you grew up in?
I don’t know if it was courage so much as a need to prove myself wrong. I had the benefit of working in cannabis in a communications role with another company, and that’s when I saw an opportunity for “contemplative cannabis” as I call it. There were two competing voices, the fearful voice that said everyone would hate me and that I’d be a failure, and one that said, do it, and fuck the haters. And as it turns out, the message that’s based in fear is usually the one that’s full of shit.
It's no surprise that classes are selling out, how are you meeting the growing demand?
Indeed, I must. A Marijuasana teacher training program is in development, as well as events in Las Vegas, Denver, Portland, Seattle, Anchorage, Boston, New York and DC. I used to teach pole dance, so something to be on the lookout for: 420-friendly lap dance lessons. Ladies only, of course.
About Stacey Mulvey / Stacey Mulvey loves teaching movement, viewing it as a spectrum of energy--from yin to yang and everything in between. She began practicing and teaching mindful movement in Callanetics after having an epiphany about mortality and taking control of her own quality of life. Eventually, Mulvey discovered that cannabis helped her concentrate and enhanced her motivation. Mulvey studied at Naropa University in yoga, painting, and psychology. After completing her coursework honing her skills in mindful and meditative practices, Mulvey launched Marijuasana and dedicates her life to the coalition of cannabis and yoga.
About Marijuasana / Marijuasana is a pop up yoga event series, offering hemp and cannabis infused yoga classes in Denver, D.C., Boston, Las Vegas, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and more. Movement integrated with cannabis evokes a unique sensory experience. Classes are warm and social, with grounded and expressive yoga for all levels. To learn more, visit http://www.marijuasana.com.
About Marijuasana Online / You can wait for Marijuasana, the popular cannabis-infused yoga event, to visit your city or you can become a Marijuasana Online member, which gives you access to exclusive wellness videos lead by Marijuasana founder, Stacey Mulvey. This way, you can join her inspired, and lifted, mindful movement practice in the comfort of your own home. https://www.marijuasana.com/yoga-videos/
About the Author / Whitney Miller is a professional photographer, coffee addict, nature lover and cannabis enthusiast with a passion for words. Having grown up in a conservative community on the East Coast, she wishes to use her B.A. in English from Eastern Mennonite University to spread light and love. Originally from Virginia, Whitney currently resides in Denver, CO.
Photography courtesy of Marijuasana