Marijuana, Quitting

Q: I'm writing to ask if you will consider recommending a meditation or one of your DVDs that might help one step away from a marijuana habit that involves one or two puffs every evening after dinner. I'm ready to step away from the habit, and I'd like to replace it with something that will strengthen me. Marijuana has become what I turn to when I feel frazzled and buzzy from work (a big chunk of my day is spent in front of a screen) and exhausted from my long commute (3 hours roundtrip on public transportation). I've been using it to feel "in my body," but I don't want to use it any more and I know I can experience my body and my rhythms better without it. I live in a state where it's legal and easily accessible, and my partner uses it to curb his anxiety so it's always around.

A: Thanks for writing and congratulations on your desire to kick cannabis to the curb! Marijuana has some bona fide medicinal qualities for those in need, but it is problematic on many levels and in the context of a yogic lifestyle it is ultimately a most definite impediment.

Yogi Bhajan stated that marijuana use can dry up cerebral spinal fluid which is the precursor to the subtle substance called ojas which paves the way for Kundalini energy to flow through the spine. He also said that it blocks the Throat Chakra. People who over-indulge in pot tend to have lots of great ideas but over time lose the capacity to carry them out. The Throat Chakra is our manifestation chakra. It helps us make concepts concrete.

Whenever we want to quit something we need to replace it with something else. Kundalini Yoga is the perfect replacement and helps us to get high on our own supply via breath work and so much more.

On your commute to/from work we suggest that you practice Shabd Kriya (if you can do this unobtrusively) .

This entails focusing your gaze on the tip of your nose, eyelids 1/10th open:

Inhale in 4 equal strokes through your nose, as you mentally repeat the mantra Sa-Ta-Na-Ma. Hold the breath as you mentally repeat Sa-Ta-Na-Ma 4 times for a total of 16 beats. Exhale in 2 equal strokes mentally repeating Wahay Guru.

and/or this Meditation:

Have your back molars meeting and the underside of your tongue on the upper palate. Eye's 1/10th open looking down and in towards the tip of your nose. Mentally repeat Sa Ta Na Ma (you can even get a musical track and listen to it via headphones) as you project the sounds on an upward angle out the brow. So, even though you're looking down and in, you're projecting up and out. Time open.

Many people who smoke pot are knowingly or unknowingly using it to tamp down anger / rage. Here is an amazing technique to turn anger into inspiration and determination: We recommend practicing Sat Kriya for 3-11 min. per day. Sit on your heels. Extend your arms straight up in line with your ears. Interlace your fingers with the index fingers extended. As you chant "Sat" contract the muscles of the pelvic floor as you pull your navel in towards the spine. As you chant "Nam" relax the lower muscles. Feel "Sat" implode in your navel. Feel "Nam" move from the navel to the base of the spine and then all the way up your spine. Among other things, that will help you to strengthen your navel chakra to keep your intention strong in spite of every pull to the contrary. Sat Kriya is part of the Delete Depression set on our Yoga House Call DVD. That set also features the Liquid Gold Meditation we would highly recommend practicing those exercises and meditation.

Ultimately, the dependence on any subject or habit is a way to satisfy an unmet need which is to connect with our soul, the sweetness of Self. All of the practices in Kundalini Yoga give us a taste of the inner nectar. Once we cultivate a positive addiction to that, our negative patterns will fall away of their own accord. Please keep us posted!