A Yoga Studio Where Getting High Isn’t Encouraged, It’s Included

Words by Morgan Williamson

“Oh, they want to hear the list,” says a blonde-haired, blue-eyed gentleman who just finished pouring my third cup of cannabis tea (minty, yum).

I tilt my head. Confused, crosslegged and stoned, exhaling from the third joint being passed around this “tea ceremony” of eight at a Yoga studio aptly named “Lit” off Washington Blvd in Venice. I’d just answered where I was from, a question the blonde-haired, blue-eyed gentleman asked me moments earlier. I responded, “Orange County,” with a sly smile and looked around, emptily. My girlfriend, sitting cross-legged beside me asked the same man, whose name I’ve forgotten, the assumed follow-up.

“Where am I from?” he grins like a mad cat, waiting to tell the group that he’s not a citizen of the world, but a citizen of the United States of America. “Well, I’m from Iowa, Nebraska, Delaware, Oregon,” I roll my eyes as he rattles off three more states he’s “from.”

You know, “the list.”

Someone in the circle of strangers quips, “Where’s your favorite?”

“Los Angeles,” he responds. Which wasn’t on his list. I sigh. He removes his shirt.

The conversation continues, mostly without myself, who is too stoned to contribute to a spiritual conversation about marijuana and yoga and the exceptional levels of energy pertaining to this specific day. Instead, I sit awkwardly, waiting for the $25 yoga class to begin (a yoga class where it’s mandatory to get exceptionally high before exerting any physical energy), waiting to stop conversing with these strangers about topics that don’t pertain to me. Don’t get me wrong. I like to get high. I’m just weary of weed people—like those who take it as religion, those who I’m overly aware I’m surrounded by.

The master of tea ceremonies, a pretty brunette girl, makes an announcement as she pours us all another cup of tea. “Let’s enjoy this last cup in silence.”

Thank god. We sit cross-legged. The only noise comes from Washington Blvd and the deepest breather, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed, bare-chested man.

Our last cup is enjoyed in (quasi) silence. And sounds start to radiate from speakers. They’re unoffensive, tranquil and the class begins. I’m expecting a slow deep relaxing stretch.

It starts this way.

Then, It speeds up. I’m sweating. I’m out of shape. I’m trying to keep up. The instructor is another pretty brunette. She speaks softly. She speaks in yogi. She speaks of “centers” and “remaining planted” and “feeling the earth through your feet,” and “spread fingers,” and “toes,” and “chakras.” She speaks of the benefits of yoga under the influence of marijuana. She speaks of this plant, “Our ancient ancestors discovered for us.” She speaks of this plant, “Mother earth provided for us.” I’m caught off guard; reminded how stoned I am. I do the downward dog. Cat. Cow. Warriors one through two. Salute the sun. Vinyasa. Plank. Sweat—more than anyone else in the class. I’m paranoid. I sweat and stretch. It’s strange. Delightful.

The flow, to my relief, slows down. We sit. Stretch our legs, groin, etcetera. We lay on our backs and she lulls us into contemplating the “good on this earth.” I contemplate a story I read that day about a propaganda poster in North Korea where crows pick at the bodies of dead American soldiers. She asks us to wiggle our finger and toes. To sit upright. To “Om.” The “Om” is loud; it’s laughable. I smile.

The class ends. I feel Tony the Tiger–fucking great! I’m floating. I’m loose. Pleasantly drifting between a body high, mental high and a rush of endorphins due to this weird hour and a half session with mostly strangers I’d just participated in.

I sleep well and wake up the next day thinking, I’d go back.

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