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Local High Society is a cannabis and yoga community created by Jessy Chang. Jessy is a yoga teacher at Evoke Yoga, a downtown Los Angeles yoga studio where she hosts some of her cannabis-enhanced yoga classes.
But Local High Society is more than just a community. It is a radical community as a political statement. Yes, yogis, career women, and health enthusiasts consume cannabis too. Local High Society is living proof that stoners are more than the lazy, mindless, and addiction-prone individuals that mainstream society believes us to be.
Satisfy My Thirst and Elevate My Mind
At the first Local High Society event, Jessy offered complimentary bottles of Dr. Alles. Dr. Alles is one of the best cannabis-infused ginger ales on the market. It's a craft ale, and easily one of the best gingers ales, period. The cannabis-infusion is a bonus.
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One must be careful because the ginger ale doesn't taste like marijuana. Those who are used to their infused foods and drinks tasting of cannabis best not be fooled by the lack of weed-taste normally associated with pot brownies. This craft experience set up the expectation of the event. This wasn't just a cannabis and yoga event. It was a well crafted and highly curated experience.
Using Marijuana Without Getting High
Jessy's events are great for the uninitiated stoner. For those new to cannabis, I would recommend using medicinal marijuana products that don't get you high. It may clear some of the mental blocks due to the stigma around cannabis use by normalizing it with a light, nonthreatening introduction.
Janessa, the founder of Gypsy Magic, gave away free cannabidiol (CBD) bath bombs before and after the workshop. My favorite was the Gypsy Tea Party because peppermint and lavender are my most cherished scents. No, these bath balms won't give you that euphoric head high. But you will feel like you just got a full-body massage after you leave your hot tub thanks to the CBD in these bath bombs.
Cannabis Consumption as Activism
Good vibrations were abundant. It was a scene of beauty to watch everyone light up and smoke their complimentary HERB prerolls openly and freely. Finally, no more scurrying out of the building and sneaking off to the corner of the block to take a puff. No more self-consciousness over smelling like cannabis. This was something I could get used to.
Before Jessy guided the class into yoga poses, HERB Delivery's founder, Bobby, gave a presentation about clean-green cannabis, terpenes, and cannabis activism. He talked about the time we are in, the months leading up to legalized recreational cannabis. Terpenes, the chemical compound that makes cannabis smell amazing, and the importance of organic cannabis were main topics. The cannabis industry is maturing and consumers are demanding more information about the plant they are putting into their bodies.
What impacted me the most about Bobby's presentation was when he spoke about stoner visibility as activism. It's a political statement to smoke weed openly without shame. As a person of color, this was a statement that profoundly resonated with me.
People of color were most negatively impacted by the War on Drugs, and the repercussions of it are still rippling throughout our society. Blacks are still more likely to get arrested for carrying cannabis even though whites smoke similar amounts as blacks. Consuming cannabis with pride while maintaining a successful and honorable lifestyle combats all those crazy notions that stoners are nothing but lazy, corrupt, and hedonistic members of society.
Topicals Can Also Be Enhanced with Cannabis
As if HERB prerolls, Gypsy bath bombs, and Dr. Alles wasn't enough, I made sure to grab a few CBD-infused essential oils too. I put a couple drops of Blue Ridge Hemp Co's oil on my wrists then rubbed it into my neck. I carry a lot of pain in my neck from long hours in front of the computer. I could feel the tension melt away quickly, and the smell of the delicious terpenes relaxed me.
Cannabis-enhanced topicals are a game changer. I knew instantly that the cool menthol of topicals mixed with cannabinoids was my new go-to. I would be revisiting these after the post-yoga muscle aches set in.
This was by far the most diverse group of people I've ever seen in a yoga class. It put me at ease instantly. Seeing different bodies in the studio gave me a sense that there is a space for everybody in our community.
We started at a slow and gentle pace. Jessy has a soft and soothing voice that lulled me to a state of deep relaxation. As I moved through the poses, I fell into a deep trance.
Jessy played dreamy music during the workshop. For the most part, there were no lyrics, which can distract me and send me spiraling down a fit of negative emotions. If there were lyrics, then they were light and almost inaudible such as "I'm Sorry featuring Shiloh" by Swell. The playlist, with its minimal and repetitive bass, sent me into meditation.
The poses gradually became a little more challenging, but I felt more confident than usual. Maybe it was the cannabis muting my self-doubt and elevating me with a calmer disposition. Jessy's serene voice and expert guidance definitely had something to do with it. The hands-on adjustments Jessy provided were intuitive and on point. I left the yoga workshop feeling like a new person, more mindful, and more at peace.
Black Light Slow Buti Yoga
At the previous event, I moved through the yoga class next to a woman I would soon know was Karen Resulto. Karen was the guest yoga instructor for Local High Society's Black Light Slow Buti Yoga event. Buti merges yoga, tribal dance, and heart-rate-raising movements to create a sense of empowerment in yogis.
Buti, pronounced "booty," yoga is unlike any yoga I've done before. This Local High Society workshop was a different vibe entirely. It promised to awaken my primal energy and get me in touch with my femininity. I had no idea I was about to gyrate my hips.
Before the yoga portion of the event, all the attendees had a chance to paint themselves with neon glow-in-the-dark paint and check out all the vendors. There was a second yoga studio open just for the vendors for this event. It was nice to watch the event grow from only a couple vendors in the lobby to a whole studio full of vendors. Lowell Herb Co., High End Desserts, and Crave Skincare were a few of my favorite vendors to show up.
The music Karen chose was influenced by hip hop and R&B with tracks like TroyBoi's "Afterhours featuring Diplo & Nina Sky" and "Jungle Lady" by Lion Babe. It was a refreshing change from the music I normally associate with yoga. In alignment with the playlist, the movement was more fast-paced than the first Local High Society workshop.
What I'm about to share with you is definitely something I've never done outside of my days as a dancer at a strip club. We did some freestyle dancing and downward dog booty shaking during our Buti workshop. In those moments it felt more like a party than a yoga class.
I laughed so hard that my belly shook while we collectively shook our hips. Never have I experienced so much joy in a yoga studio. I hope Local High Society does another Buti event in the future.
Jessy also holds a yoga event on a rooftop in Downtown Los Angeles. This is the smallest and most intimate Local High Society workshop. About 8 to 10 people maximum can comfortably attend this event. Before the workshop began, the attendees sat in a circle, partook in cannabis flower and edibles, and discussed what its like to be a stoner in a society that still maligns us.
L.E.D. candles lined the yoga practice space. The wood patio was adorned with succulents, which complimented the high rises and dimly lit stars above. You could hear the sounds of the city as the sun set into the horizon. The sound of planes flying overhead reminded me that we were not alone. But if I shut my eyes and meditated, then I'd forget that noise pollution ever drowned out my thoughts.
Though the movement of the rooftop yoga workshop was the slowest of all the Local High Society workshops I had attended before, it was the most mentally challenging. I wasn't exaggerating when I said you could hear all the sounds of the city: drive-by laughter, the humming of large city machinery, music blasting from cars, sirens of police cars and ambulances. Despite all of the noise, I could tune it out with meditation. It's a so-necessary skill in this chaotic modern world.
Follow @LocalHighSociety on Instagram for more updates on cannabis-enhanced yoga workshops, including Jessy's Cannabis Enhanced Tea Ceremony and Yoga at Silk and Jade in Downtown Glendale.