By Shona Curley
Having a daily, or even weekly, mind-body practice such as Pilates, qigong, tai chi, or yoga can be a wonderful way to keep yourself calm and centered, especially during stressful times. Mind-body practices ask that practitioners pay close attention to physical sensations while moving, with the goal of not only balancing and toning the body but of calming and focusing the mind. Mind-body fitness can help with physical strength and flexibility, while also training practitioners to stay present with the sensations of the moment as they come and go.
Sticking with a mind-body practice can be a challenge. No matter what form of movement meditation you choose, focusing the mind is tricky! Thoughts tend to rush in, and even mundane trains of thought can sweep us away, causing us to lose touch with the present moment. As we age, there’s also the challenge of muscle stiffness and soreness. Many people complain that they’re just not as flexible as they’d like to be, stiffness makes exercise more difficult, and muscle aches and pains also get in the way of committing to practice long-term.
Full-spectrum CBD (cannabidiol) extracts from hemp plants may help with the above difficulties. If they work for you, supplementing with CBD could make it easier to stick with your mind-body practice – making movement meditation more efficient and comfortable mentally and physically. These days, anything that helps to usher in some serenity is worth exploring. Here’s how CBD can strengthen your mind-body practice.
1. CBD can Create a Tranquil, Focused State of Mind
One of the reasons CBD extracts are so popular is their purported ability to assist with relieving anxiety. CBD extracts may help calm the mind and encourage a feeling of quiet focus.
A 2019 review compared the results of eight studies evaluating the effects of CBD on anxiety. The review suggested that while more research is needed to determine dosage and to standardize the measurement of outcomes, CBD extract is a promising substance for use in counteracting anxiety, and it comes with little to no risk.
For many, one of the most difficult challenges of mind-body practice is getting the mind to quiet down enough to pay attention to the sensations of movement. Movement can be much more enjoyable when the mind isn’t anxiously racing around, concerned with worries and plans. Just remember to take CBD extract about an hour before your practice, as it can take a while to have an effect.
2. CBD can Lessen Muscle Soreness and Stiffness.
If stiff or sore muscles hold you back from fully enjoying a mind-body movement practice, CBD extracts may be useful. CBD is anti-inflammatory, and inflammation plays a role in almost all lasting soreness and stiffness.
For soreness and stiffness that’s systemic, taking a CBD extract internally an hour before you practice may be your best bet. But if you have just a few stiff joints or sore muscles that hold you back, topical extracts can be helpful, and they work relatively quickly. Choose a high-quality, full-spectrum CBD cream or salve, and rub it thoroughly into any problem joints or muscles before you start your movement practice. You may notice greater flexibility and ease, and less soreness from exertion the next day.
3. CBD Promotes a Better Night’s Sleep.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of a good night’s sleep. Sleeping well can help improve cognition and mental focus. Sleep is also our time to repair cellular damage – so plenty of good rest can help lower inflammation and ease sore muscles and stiff joints as well. Of course, especially in times of stress, sleep can be elusive.
CBD extracts may help you sleep more soundly. CBD may help combat insomnia, while also combating daytime sleepiness, indicates a 2017 review. Therefore, if fatigue impacts your mind-body movement practice, it may be worth experimenting to see if a CBD extract could help improve the quality of your sleep, leaving you more rested and ready for activity during the day. Try taking a high-quality extract at bedtime, and see if it works for you.
As with any new supplement, remember to consult with your healthcare provider to make sure CBD extracts are right for you. Your provider can help you determine dosage and timing and can help you choose a brand of CBD that uses organic, full-spectrum hemp that is third-party tested for purity and doesn’t contain any unhealthy additives.
What to Take Away
CBD extracts are a natural and relatively safe complement to any mind-body practice. They may help with mental calm and focus, physical pain, and getting the sleep required for a high-energy workout (or even a low-energy one) the next day.
Everyone’s body is different, so be patient and experiment to see how CBD can work for your unique situation. Maybe topical creams are best, or perhaps a high-quality oil taken internally will be most effective. With a little experimentation, you may find it easier to commit to a mind-body practice that serves your health, life-long.
- Babson KA, Sottile J, Morabito D. Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2017 Apr;19(4):23. doi: 10.1007/s11920-017-0775-9.
- Skelley JW, Deas CM, Curren Z, Ennis J. Use of cannabidiol in anxiety and anxiety-related disorders. J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2020 Jan-Feb;60(1):253-261. doi: 10.1016/j.japh.2019.11.008
Shona Curley lives and works in San Francisco. She is co-owner of the studio Hasti Pilates, and creator of the website www.redkitemeditations.com. Shona teaches meditation, bodywork and movement practices for healing Lyme disease, chronic illness and pain.