Combining cannabis and yoga is a no-brainer to us. That’s why we are excited to chat with Stacey Mulvey, founder of Marijuasana, which offers hemp and cannabis-infused yoga classes in Denver, D.C., Boston, Portland, Seattle, Anchorage, and Las Vegas.
How long have you been teaching yoga?
I’ve been teaching yoga for five years, but practicing in some form or another for over 20. The genuine discovery began once I made a serious commitment to a regular practice, after coming to the realization that I was living an unhealthy lifestyle that was causing me undue pain. Once I committed to a practice and knew that I could change my body, I couldn’t go back to being unaccountable for my own health and pain levels.
Why is mindfulness so important in today’s society?
We can too easily disconnect from each other and live isolated lives, because we are bombarded with an incessant din and endless opportunities to live in a mindless way. Mindfulness is also important because as human beings we all deal with a great deal of emotional trauma. I say that not as a way to say we are all victims. But it’s inevitable some level of trauma will eventually occur in each person’s life.
If we don’t process and integrate our trauma, it gets buried and becomes stagnant. Then starts to affect us unconsciously. Mindfulness is a method to observe and deal with the trauma that we must go through.
What inspired you to incorporate CBD with yoga?
It was a happy accident that caused me to realize CBD worked so well with yoga. I had known about the effects of cannabis with mindful movement since my first explorations with weed, when I would get high and then feel like I wanted to get on the floor stretch my body.
I had been doing this for several years, and it eventually led to me to start a teacher training program for Pilates. Fast forward a few years, when I bought some CBD oil after getting my med card in Colorado. I decided to get really high one night and take some oil.
I was doing Pilates and yoga and began having a powerful and transformational experience where I felt like I had completely mastered control of my body and felt every layer of my physical being. It’s a bit hard to describe, but it left a big impression on me and inspired me to keep investigating what I had felt.
THC is usually part of the equation for my practice. But depending on my circumstance, I sometimes abstain from the psychoactive effects of THC.
How does CBD elevate the yoga experience?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, and it’s a phyto-cannabinoid. CBD happens to be the most prolific cannabinoid found in hemp. When we experience types of biochemical, psychological or physical stress, our body produces endocannabinoids to homeostatically regulate or balance how we interact with our environment. If we mindfully and consciously introduce “stressful” or novel behavior by moving our body in a healthy manner such as yoga, and supplement with phyto-cannabinoids found in hemp and cannabis, we’re giving ourselves support to integrate the exercise, increase circulation and create tone in tissues that may have been experiencing restricted blood flow, increasing range of motion in our joints through increased proprioception, and creating new ways of thinking and perceiving our own mind by making novel associations in our brain.
The endocannabinoid system is the system in our body that bridges body and mind. It literally regulates every physiological system of the body: cardiovascular, digestive, nervous, immune, reproductive.
What challenges have you faced in building your company and expanding the business to various cities?
The biggest hurdle is in finding the right location. Typically, when cannabis is legalized recreationally, regulations either significantly restrict social consumption or fail to provide any guidelines on how businesses may do it. I’ve had issues with neighbors in Washington, DC where I had to defend my business license and home occupation permit in front of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission and City Council.
Luckily the DCRA sided with me in the end, but by then it was clear that other cities offered better opportunities for my vision and I’d moved on. It was still a victory for cannabis business in the District in my opinion.
How do you decide which cities to expand into? (Anchorage is a pretty interesting choice!)
I should probably say it’s because of my keen understanding of the market and staggering wealth of knowledge, but it’s been mostly gut feeling and instinct. When I went to Boston, it was out of sheer determination. I didn’t know a single person who lived there.
I had just moved to DC and been accepted as a member of the Cannabis Society. I knew they were having a meeting, and just turned up to see what I could make happen. My choice to go to Anchorage came from having dear friends who live there. I’ve always heard about the incredible power and beauty of Alaska. I felt something calling me to go there, so I listened.
Any city or cities better for a cannabis-related business than others?
I’ve been lucky to visit a lot of places this last year, and I’ve been intrigued to see each city’s unique cannabis community. While every community has welcomed me with its unique features and personality, the common thread is always a love and appreciation for cannabis.
Since DC has only decriminalized cannabis but not been able to develop legislation due to the Andy Harris Rider, businesses there are forced to remain in the “underground economy.” They utilize the gifting loophole at local pop-ups. The vibe there reminds me of a local farmer’s market
Seattle has a luxurious and refined feeling at a lot of the dispensaries I’ve visited. The regs in Washington force companies to be more competitive with retailing, such as eye-catching packaging and thoughtful brand archetypes.
Boston has by far been the most receptive to my cannabis yoga classes. As soon as I visited Boston, there was a feeling of “yes” to Marijuasana’s contemplative cannabis experience. I believe it’s due to the energy that the East Coast seems to have, where everyone feels compelled to recite their resume as if that proves how valuable they are as people instead of being allowed to relax into themselves. Life is very competitive in that culture, and I think that’s why so many people have found that cannabis provides a beautiful way to show love for themselves and to one another.
Have you tried CBD with other activities? Have they all been successful?
I teach several classes with cannabis and CBD. For example, I teach a class where we make malas. Malas are prayer beads used in the Buddhist, Hindu, and secular traditions used to count off mantras or personal intentions while meditating. They are made of 108 beads.
My clients get to pick the stones and thread colors, and before we make them I lead the class through a meditation where we set an intention into the stones. I teach them how to knot the beads together to form a beautiful object they can wear as a necklace or wrap around their wrist as a bracelet. This practice is one that I love to teach because it’s one that transformed my life. In fact, the very first mala that I made led to me creating Marijuasana.
I also use cannabis with creative writing and teach a class called Lit on Lit. I enjoy the flow that cannabis cultivates for me as I write. It allows my inner critic to take a back seat, and I am free to write and express my thoughts without a filter. Writing this way has proven to be very therapeutic for me. I teach both classes as limited-time engagements in cities like Boston, DC, Portland and Oakland. Both the mala-making class and Lit on Lit can also be found on my website marijuasana.com.
What is your vision of modern cannabis?
I call it Weed 2.0. Cannabis has everything: agriculture, technology, economics, politics, law, sociology, history, science, and love. I’m sure I’m leaving something out, but you get the idea. Because this plant is elevating so many of us so rapidly, our collective consciousness will shift. That’s my hope.
Favorite local outdoor spot?
Lately I’ve found myself drawn to labyrinths and other stone works designed for mindful walking. When I first moved to Las Vegas about five months ago, I found a medicine wheel where stones had been laid out in a giant spiral near a trail in Calico Springs Basin, about 45 minutes west of the city. The canyon has brilliant red rocks, chola cacti, and overall positive vibes.
One thing that’s always in your fridge?
Kombucha and La Croix.
What is a saying you love?
“Mah nishtanah, ha-laylah ha-zeh, mi-kol ha-leylot” or “why is this night different from all other nights?” My Jewish brother in-law’s grandpa says this all the time, but he says it in a cynical, “stop freaking out” type of way.
It tickles me that a saying recited in a solemn way during Passover has a double meaning, and it makes me think about when I’m in the midst of an emotional reaction. Why is this different from all the other times I’ve been upset about things that worked out in the end? Very profound.
What song/album is on repeat on your Spotify?
Fearless by Pink Floyd
Something you wear that’s totally emblematic of your personal style?
My malas. I have different ones that I wear depending on what I feel I need to cultivate for the day. For instance, I grab my red garnet mala when I want to feel grounded. My citrine mala for tapping into my solar plexus third chakra, and my Golden aura quartz when I need to reconnect to why I founded Marijuasana.
What do you like to do on a “lazy” day?
Cuddle with my animals.
Awesome! Thank you, Stacey!