The Queen of Relaxation Shares the Keys to Her Kingdom
Dee Dussault, author of Ganja Yoga, reminds us what our minds –and bodies- were meant to do.
Dee is at peace. Dee is a badass.
She’s got us stacking, loving ourselves (all the way), and three-breath-stretching it out. Never felt better, thank you very much.
This entrepreneur has sparked a movement. (Well technically, cannabis-infused yoga first caught on in ancient India.) But Dussault’s practice has spread to the U.S., as covered in Business Insider and Vice. Her debut book was recently published by Harper Collins. Curious students keep coming back for classes from Hatha to Sexy Flex.
She graciously dropped some wisdom on self-care. She’s looking at you, knotted up, stressed as F parents and professionals.
1. How do you stay present through a day, even when you feel exhausted?
I do a lot of work on my computer for a cannabis-enhanced yoga teacher! I make sure to give myself plenty of “mini breaks” for my eyes, hands, and calves (all shortened by computer time), with a three-breath-stretch whenever I remember. I also take work calls while walking, so I get movement and fresh air at the same time. At the end of the day, I always do at least a short foam roll session. It’s all about stacking my life, so I can prioritize my self-care despite being very busy.
2. And what to do if you don’t want to be present for a hot second?
I like to disengage and float in a dreamy, blissful state free of my personal concerns and the global intensity. I think it’s important for all of us to do some time — to detach so we can come back more resilient. I do float tanks, or any hot water soaking I can. Time in the sun, in nature, time making love to myself or others, time where I don’t even feel like my yoga practice is a “to do” item, but freedom to really do whatever it is I want. Even if it’s zone out and day-dream.
3. Please, share your advice on what a busy woman can do for herself, even when she’s time and energy-starved!
Make a ritual out of pragmatic chores. For instance, when applying moisturizer to your body, stop and take a breath, enjoying the sensation on your skin and the moment in which you’re pampering yourself and feeling good. Time with friends can be ‘stacked’ with self-care time, taking hikes together instead of grabbing coffee, or booking simultaneous reflexology massages while you catch up.
‘Stacking’ means you get more done without feeling frenzied the way multi-tasking does. You’re consciously doing two things, only one of which is verbal, at once. And you’re getting more from life.
4. We love what you preach on sexual juiciness. But what do you tell couples who are skeptical? Especially those with sleeping issues or kids with sleeping issues, for whom bedtime is a landmine?
Sexual juiciness isn’t just for sexy time, or evening. The way you walk, jog to your favorite track, enjoy a decadent treat, these are all an expression of, and add to, your sexual energy. The more you put into cultivating your erotic aliveness, the more you will get out of it. Feeling your hips in motion, taking time to caress your body as you apply sunscreen, moaning a little as you enjoy a good meal, choosing clothing textures or lighting that make you feel good, these cultivate sensuality and sensual aliveness. So, when you get to the bedroom (or bathroom or car), you are more in tune with your animal self, and more present for the intimate moment that awaits you, no matter where it fits on the “sexuality” spectrum.
5. Can we talk about anxiety? Are people becoming more anxious? Do you see a light at the end of the tunnel for our culture to deal with this?
I think so, yes. Or perhaps it’s that people are more apt to share about it, which I see as a good thing. But I also think it’s on the rise, with people more busy than ever, more inundated with information, more aware of the structural imbalances and corruption that prevent members of our tribe from being fully free. It’s a natural response to be anxious, given the times. But we need to cultivate resilience and soothing practices for the nervous system — or anxiety will become a habit of mind. I think this unfortunate cultural trend will be reversed as more people learn about cannabis’ potential for treating anxiety, (specifically the non-psychoactive component called CBD).
6. After D.A.R.E. scared the shit out of them in high school, many adults are trying cannabis for the first time. What do you think is the biggest misconception about cannabis?
I too was one of the people negatively affected by D.A.R.E. My mom used cannabis and I felt so ashamed of it, and then later when I tried it myself and liked it, I was afraid I’d “become addicted.”
However, now I know that the human body has receptors that perfectly fit the cannabis plant, (and that the body makes cannabinoid-like molecules endogenously), using the plant as medicine no longer feels like something I have to do nervously, but rather, obviously and joyfully. I believe many of us have an endocannabinoid deficiency, and supplementing, even the non-psychoactive parts of the plant, has incredible healing potential.
7. What’s the dumbest question some reporter ever asked you?
I often get asked if Ganja Yoga is safe. Like we’re going to get turbo-baked and then do a headstand. I think it’s because culture in general has the notion that yoga is “hard”… but also because there’s still this idea that you can’t be a responsible, functional cannabis user who likes to sip a little vape before a class to enhance it. Like, to be a cannabis user means to be The Big Lebowski or a surfer dude archetype. But many of my regulars are successful Silicon Valley folks who have rewarding day-jobs. They use uplifting sativa to foster work creativity and relaxing indica to make their stretches more soothing. And they don’t go nuts on it. So, yeah, Ganja Yoga is safe.
8. It sounds fantastic but, real talk: some of us are still struggling to tune out that voice of ‘what’s everyone else going to think?’
It’s totally natural to have some of these fears. Even in a sober yoga class, it’s common to wonder at first if the teacher might point you out or the other students might see you’re doing something wrong. Of course, weed can fuel paranoia, so Ganja Yoga classes can have a more pronounced sense of it. We supply CBD at every class, which reduces THC’s anxiety-potential. And, more importantly, I foster an accepting, everyone-is-welcome vibe at my yoga classes, and show bodies of all shapes and sizes in my promotional imagery, because aren’t we sick of ballet-bodies always being the ones to depict a yoga practitioner?
9. Dee, you’ve been solid gold. Thank you. Just one more question, which we ask everyone: how do you find balance?
I got a yin-yang tattoo when I was 18 because I believed so strongly in the principle of finding harmony in all things: Time with others, time alone; creating for joy, creating for work; eating well and eating for fun without thinking too much about it; art and culture in my city, nature and birds and trees far from my city. I don’t always achieve balance, but the practice, for me, is more about mindfully seeking it, not in finally attaining it. It’s like riding the wave. When surfing, falling off is part of the experience. The trick is to get back on, time and time again.