A lifelong journey overcoming PTSD

As a young girl, she was dressed in boy clothing.

As a young girl, she was dressed in boy clothing.

In her book, Life Happens to Us guru Ashta-deb explores her lifelong journey overcoming PTSD with the support of cannabis and yoga. As just a nine year old girl, she had already suffered abuse by the hands of both parents, abandonment by her mother, and the tragic death of her thirteen year old sister at just 9 years old. Many years passed before being diagnosed with PTSD, which then led to years of treatments including antidepressants, electric shock therapy, and psychotherapy, led Ashta to the realization that she needed a different path to truly heal herself. Replacing traditional forms of treatment with cannabis and yoga, eastern medicine would become her guide. Today Ashta-deb continues her practice and shares with others how they can overcome their own pain and suffering while seeking true spiritual fulfillment.  

Cannabis as a spiritual tool

“When you use cannabis as a tool, you can get in better contact with yourself,” Ashta-deb says. She began her own healing process by practicing deep meditation with the help of cannabis. The focus required to meditate deeply for long periods of time can be very difficult for the mind to achieve at first, so it was during this time that Asta-deb used cannabis as a spiritual tool to help her dive into the state of mind where she was able to uncover repressed memories and heal.

Asta-deb teaches that you have to shed all the negative layers you have built around yourself, whether that be a job, a lover, friends, or bad habits, and eventually, when you shed all that, you shed yourself. “Once you shed yourself, you can begin to heal,” Astha-deb says and describes this stage as having “simultaneous struggles” between your physical, mental, and spiritual states. She reminds us that suffering is a part of the journey. Inspired by four choice words, bravery, courage, curiosity, and adventure, Ashta-deb brings clarity to the often painful and challenging process of self-discovery.


Shedding the stigma

“Yogis in India used cannabis for thousands of years” she explained. Due to pressure from the West, cannabis was made illegal in India in 1985. Up until then, it was used by yogis and found in many temples. Today cannabis is only legal in India on Shiva’s (the god of cannabis) birthday. Negative public opinion and illegality surrounding cannabis use in South America where Ashta-deb grew up, influenced her opinion of the plant greatly. As an adult, she was afraid if she tried cannabis the police would catch her. “I felt that if I were to smoke cannabis, I would be arrested,” she said.

After moving past her fears with the support of her husband who enjoyed cannabis, Ashta-deb began to consume it from time to time recreationally, but it wasn’t until later in her life that she would unlock the spiritual benefits of cannabis.

Arunachala Mountain. According to legend, Lord  Shiva  is said to have manifested as a column of light, and then the form of Arunachala.— A. R. Natarajan

Arunachala Mountain. According to legend, Lord Shiva is said to have manifested as a column of light, and then the form of Arunachala.—A. R. Natarajan


Releasing suffering

For Ashta-Deb, cannabis can afford one the state of mind necessary to find yourself spiritually.

Cannabis “does not cure mental health problems, but it does enhance your ability to understand,” Ashta-deb says. “Spiritual growth is evolution,” she says. “Evolution means living in the moment, being present to each moment.” For many, cannabis can encourage one to step out of past and future worries and be in the present moment. “When you focus on all the bad in life you are focusing on suffering, we’re actually against good health. Cannabis helps uncover your subconscious suffering.” Ashta-deb admits her own personal journey has not been easy, but with cannabis as her guide, “what I have accomplished is not unique to me but in fact available to everyone.”

Deeply committed to sharing her journey and knowledge to help others, Ashta-deb fully embraces her role as a guru at the Ashram she founded. At Ashta Ashram, Asta-deb practices yoga, meditation, and spiritual healing. Her belief in cannabis can be seen at Ashta Ashram where she leads cannabis-assisted spiritual guidance sessions for those seeking healing.  “A true guru is never a part of, but instead, become one. A guru masters herself so that her vibration can flow to others.”


If you are interested in learning more about Asta-Deb’s spiritual journey with cannabis, her book Life Happens to Us is available for purchase through her website or your favorite bookseller. You can book Ashram services at AshtaAshram.com.