Dee Dussault is the creator of Ganja Yoga, cannabis-enhanced yoga courses. A yoga practitioner with over twenty years of experience, Dee was the first yogi to offer cannabis yoga classes outside of ancient India. She was also one of the first naked yoga instructors in North America. Her work has been featured in VICE, High Times, Good Morning America, Buzzfeed, Dope Magazine, New York Times, Glamour Magazine, The Cannabist, Yoga Journal, and many others. Originally from Canada, Dee completed her yoga training with Amanda Shakti of Sanada Yoga, in the tantric tradition of Swami Satyananda of Bihar, India. Dee also holds an honors degree in Sexuality Studies. In addition, she has completed several hundreds of hours of attendance at trainings and personal development workshops, with thousands more on personal exploration and journeying. As a result of this experience, Dee specializes in sensual, mindful, relaxation-based yoga along with coaching and bodywork experience and instruction from this realm. Currently residing in San Francisco, Dee has taught classes from Costa Rica to Copenhagen to even Burning Man. When not writing and teaching, she enjoys spending time in nature and with her husband.
Tell us about your path to becoming a ganja yoga instructor
When I got the idea, after getting high and hitting my mat once again, I thought that maybe others would want to do the same. I did a google search to see if it was already “a thing” and there were no classes at all.
So I guess I was the first. I started with monthly, up in Toronto where I'm from, and then after a few years moved to San Francisco, where I offer it twice weekly, with a third being planned for the new year.
Photo via Elena Kulikova
Since then I've connected with Berkeley Patients Group, who let me know they were offering yoga to their medicated patients since 1999, and with Liz from 420 Remedy Yoga in LA, who had been offering enhanced yoga in Brazil (which is why I didn't find her on google search). But in both cases, they weren't getting high in community as we do in my classes.
How would you describe a ganja yoga class?
Different from regular yoga studio classes in that the objective is to relax and enjoy oneself. Yoga isn't a punishment for eating too many cupcakes the night before. It's not a thing that should be pushed and forced, like fitness. At least not in my perspective.
Of course, I respect everyone's unique practice. With the addition of cannabis, the relaxation and sensuality are even more heightened. People modify from my instruction to make it exactly what they need it to be. The cannabis lends creativity and freedom to the person's practice. It's beautiful to behold.
In what ways does cannabis enhance your practice?
It takes relaxation and embodiment that much deeper. Feeling your body in a familiar pose after enhancing with weed is a totally different experience. It's really exciting in the body, and cannabis adds that salience, or sense of importance, where the inner experience becomes fascinating.
Photo via Elena Kulikova
Are there any particular strains you’ve found to be effective?
Indica dominant is a good place to start. I care less about individual strain names and more about the tasty terpenes that arouse my nose when I smell it. THAT is the strain for practice!
We see that you also specialize in sexuality and intimacy coaching. Do you find cannabis heightens the experience?
For people that find cannabis relaxing, yes, it heightens intimacy and sexuality. With so many ways to ingest or apply cannabis, there really is something for everyone.
Photo via Scott Finnell
Whether it's sharing a vape or some good hash before making out or applying topicals to reduce friction... teehee.. For people that are new to cannabis or find it causes anxiety, I'd stick to higher CBD products at first.
You’ve lead yoga classes around the world. Where is your favorite place you have taught ganja yoga and why?
Just thinking about Costa Rica makes me want to go back there and practice on the beach again. I hope to do another international retreat next year after my book (on Ganja Yoga) comes out in April.
Photo via Anna Mackenzie
In your opinion, what are some of the greatest health benefits to ganja yoga?
Mindful movement of any kind is lacking in our busy world. We are far too sedentary and when we do move, we do repetitive things like jog or bike that only use a small portion of the joints.
Yoga, with its varied movements, ensures we stay limber, strong, and healthy. Adding mindfulness avoids injury and helps us to become aware of limited thoughts and beliefs that we can eventually release.
Any tips for avoiding injuries?
Start with easy, all levels, basic poses and really feel them, with excellent alignment, before adding more intermediate poses.
Don't worry about how it looks. It isn't about doing something Instagram-worthy. It's about feeling.
How has ganja yoga changed your life?
I only got into cannabis when I was in my late twenties, just a decade ago. Since then I am far more connected to the trippy aspects of life, philosophical discussions about the meaning of life, TV shows like Cosmos, spending time in nature. The important stuff that our produce-and-consume culture rarely supports.
Photos via Elena Kulikova
What is one piece of advice you can offer first-timers?
It's ok to be nervous when trying anything new. When we're a little bit out of our comfort zone, that's when we grow. Start with a lower dose if you're new to cannabis. You don't have anything to prove, in what or how or how much you consume. You don't even have to consume! It's always up to you. Peer pressure of any kind is so not yogic! :)
Photo via Anna MacKenzie