This week, b.Blunt talks to Laura Di Cecco, a yoga instructor and energy worker that started Elevated Asana, a company based on Toronto, that is all about combining the practice of yoga with the consumption of cannabis to help awaken the yin and balance the yang we all carry inside of us. She’s all about creating normalcy around cannabis use in through wellness practices.
Laura and her team offer three types of classes, Elevate + Restore, Elevate + Flow and Elevate + Meditate. Each is a unique experience designed to help us slow down and tune in so we can re-ignite our feminine energy.
Tell us about yourself, how did you come up with the idea for Elevated Asana?
My name is Laura, the creator of Elevated Asana. The idea to combine cannabis and movement came very naturally to me. I’ve been consuming cannabis for almost 10 years, weaving through both relationships of recreation and medicine. I started to dive into wellness practices such as yoga and meditation about 5 years ago, which led me to embark on my yoga teacher-training journey. After coming back from training and developing a daily practice, consuming cannabis before hopping on my mat organically became a ritual. I quickly noticed the effects it had on my practice, allowing me to slow down a little more, tune in a little deeper and really feel what was going on in my body. I searched for classes that incorporated the two but couldn’t find anything so naturally, I decided to create the cannabis-yoga space myself and open it up to those in my community.
How often do you teach classes?
Currently, we offer one weekly class although our schedule is always changing and we are constantly adding classes, workshops and collaborative events.
Can you tell us more about the workshops and retreats?
We’ve hosted a number of workshops with a variety of themes, but they are always centered around alternative wellness and healing through plants. One of my favourite workshops we’ve done so far was called Floral Support. We started the session with a CBD herbal tea ceremony, followed by flower bundle wrapping and an elevated restorative yoga session. Each flower chosen for the bundle was smoke-able and once dried, could be added into your cannabis consumption practices.
These are the kinds of events we look to create; wellness experiences that highlight unconventional practices. We want to re-introduce cannabis to our participants as a plant, not a drug. We want to focus on its natural healing properties and use alternative wellness practices to highlight that, not to mention education. We always make sure education is at the forefront of everything we do. Education is the most important piece in establishing a healthy and healing relationship with plants, especially cannabis.
As for retreats our brand is still new and we have yet to host a getaway experience, although it is definitely in our plans! For us, cannabis is an accessible way to connect to the grounding energy of mother earth. Being able to combine cannabis-yoga practices and nature would be a dream. Our vision is to bring participants away from the city landscape and into the wild to really slow down, connect and root into the earth and all it’s offerings.
Who is the ideal audience for Elevate Asana and how do you sign up?
Our classes are 19+ although no yoga experience is required! We create a safe space for anyone and everyone to move, feel and elevate. To sign up for our classes and events, you can go to www.elevatedasana.com/calendar
What were some of the things that you learned unexpectedly since starting your journey? Have there been any challenges that you’ve had to overcome?
I started my cannabis wellness business over 6 months before cannabis became legal in Canada. I ran into a lot of difficulty in finding spaces open to hosting us as well as basic business services willing to support us. On paper we were considered a high-risk business because we were in the cannabis industry, even though we weren’t selling or manufacturing any cannabis-infused goods. We weren’t even consuming in our classes but rather inviting everyone to come pre-elevated. It was hard for us to understand why we were considered high risk. After all, we were just teaching yoga to cannabis consumers. But even though cannabis was socially normalized, it wasn’t legally. We had to play by the rules, which at the time, felt very arbitrary. These difficulties definitely tested us and at times we felt overwhelmed, but I knew I had to keep pushing forward because I believed in what we were doing and knew it was important. That’s been my biggest learning so far: to keep keeping on even when it all feels too heavy.
How did you get introduced to cannabis, and is it a part of your everyday life?
Like most people, cannabis was introduced to me in high school. At that time, cannabis was still very much taboo and smoking was a “rebellious” act. Being a 15-year-old girl, I was seeking rebellion left, right and center. So, cannabis and I became very good friends. It was an everyday activity for me and my relationship with the plant went from recreational to dependent pretty quickly. We don’t always talk about cannabis as addictive but I think it’s important. At that time, I was using cannabis as a crutch that I heavily leaned on. I felt like I needed it and it wasn’t healthy.
I finally began to redefine my relationship with the plant in my early 20s. Once I understood cannabis as a sacred medicine and not a recreational drug my usage completely changed. It became more intentional, intuitive, sanctified and healing. Now, I only use the plant when it serves me and truly elevates the situation. It’s no longer a crutch. But it’s still part of my everyday – whether it’s through THC or CBD. I tailor certain strains for certain times of the day and use CBD both internally and topically.
Where are you located? What’s the weed scene like there?
We are located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The weed scene is very exciting here. As I write this, we are 12 days away from legalization across the country. It’s a huge time for Canadians, especially those in the industry. Over the last year in Toronto the presence of cannabis brands has upsurged. There are constantly cannabis-infused events and activations popping up around the city and there’s been a lot of great discussion around the plant and it’s potential. What’s more exciting is the fact that so many of these brands are built by amazing Canadian women. If you’ve never been to Toronto, now’s the time!
What’s next for Elevate Asana?
The future is Elevated Asana is still very much unknown! As legalization unfolds, our business will shift and change to meet the needs of consumers but one thing will always be sure: we want to create normalcy around cannabis in wellness practices. We want to rebrand cannabis as a sacred medicine and teach people how to build a healthy and happy relationship with not only cannabis, but their bodies and minds too. We want to create safe and inclusive spaces for all people to enjoy cannabis and movement. Without a doubt, we plan to bring our brand across the country to share our passion with our fellow Canadians and bring a little slowness to this crazy world were living in.
How can you be reached?