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The Lotus and the Bud
Cannabis, Consciousness, and Yoga Practice
Table of Contents
About The Book
An in-depth guide to blending the practice of yoga with cannabis
• Examines the physical, mental, spiritual, and energetic effects of cannabis and yoga, including their effects on the nervous system and chakras
• Explains how yoga practice offers a way to tune the human nervous system and how, through the endocannabinoid system, cannabis harmonizes a multitude of functions, from respiration to pain control, in ways that enhance yoga
• Offers an illustrated sequence of cannabis-yoga asanas (postures) developed to awaken kundalini, open energy channels, accelerate healing, and unlock access to unbounded states of consciousness
In India, both yoga and cannabis are considered gifts from the Hindu god Shiva. They are seen as twin currents of wisdom and enlightenment, allies for healing and consciousness expansion. As ethnobotanist and yogi Chris Kilham explains, when wisely and thoughtfully combined, cannabis and yoga offer profound benefits for body, mind, and spirit. Kilham examines the history and lore of both cannabis and yoga, with a special focus on the role of cannabis in Indian and Himalayan yoga traditions where it has been used for thousands of years. He investigates cannabis and yoga’s effects on the chakras and energy body and how they assist in opening energy channels and awakening kundalini energy. He explains how yoga practice offers a way to tune the human nervous system and how, through the endocannabinoid system, cannabis harmonizes a multitude of functions, from respiration to pain control, in ways that enhance yoga. He looks at the effects of both THC and CBD as well as the different methods of consuming cannabis, with advice on selecting the right method for your yoga practice.
In addition to instructions for breathwork and cannabis meditation practices, Kilham offers an illustrated guide to his own system of cannabis yoga, a sequence of asanas (postures) developed to arouse the kundalini, open up energy channels throughout your body, and unlock access to unbounded states of consciousness. Sharing his experiences combining yoga and cannabis around the world, the author shows that the fusion of cannabis and yoga dissolves the boundaries of the mind, accelerates healing, and imparts a greater understanding of the intrinsic unity of all things.
In your cannabis-infused yoga practice, focusing on the chakras as described in the following section helps you to perceive, amplify, and become absorbed in energy. This absorption suspends our sense of individual self, opens all the energy channels full throttle, and enables you to go very deeply into the full realization and fundamental essence of life as living incarnate beings, spirit in flesh. Cannabis adds an immersive sense of expansion to yoga practice. Expansion at its best conveys greater self-awareness, refined experience of energy, and a natural inclination for broader and healthier behavioral and mental choices.
Kundalini is the primary life force within us, the essential evolutionary force, a sliver of the Absolute dwelling within the human body. Kundalini is sometimes referred to as the serpent power, portrayed as a snake coiled at the base of the spine. But kundalini is not a mystical snake; it is the cosmic energy current that enlivens, vivifies, and motivates the body and mind. As yoga is a current of wisdom running through human history, kundalini is that cosmic current within us.
Kundalini is a force within that activates the chakras; it is typically first felt at the base of the spine, in the first chakra. Of the many forms of yoga practice, kundalini yoga specifically focuses on the arousal and steady raising of the kundalini shakti (energy) from the base chakra, muladhara, to the crown chakra, sahasrara. This is not only a practice of asana, breathing, concentration, and more, but a practice of specific intent. Intent sets a direction and focus for practice. Intent is also a potent precipitating factor in awakening the kundalini force. As the kundalini dwells within, it can be contacted and felt. You can concentrate on that energy, and through practice increase its flow.
This is where the practice of yoga comes in. The asanas, breathing, and concentration methods of yoga strengthen the energy channels of the human energy system and prepare the body and mind for enhanced kundalini flow. Meditation promotes greater kundalini activity, increasing the intensity of this force. As the body and energy channels are prepared through yoga practice, more energy gets moving.
For the most part, the awakening of kundalini occurs gradually, producing an increase in energy and mental alertness. As you practice yoga, the energetic channels convey energy more smoothly, and the kundalini flow becomes more noticeable. At times you may experience energetic currents pulsing through the spine. Or you may simply feel an ever-increasing lightness and a clarity accompanied by amplified vitality. But kundalini can also surge up the spinal channel in a more concentrated and dramatic flash of energy. This surge may be accompanied by bright visuals and strong physical sensations. On rare occasions this force may feel overwhelming. In all instances, when kundalini is felt, it is an opportunity to dive deeply within through concentration and meditation, to put your attention to the energy moving within you, and to allow that energy to increase as a result of that concentration.
As I described in the first chapter when I recounted my early experience with Babaji, the kundalini force may shoot up the spine, accompanied by a sensation of heat and occasionally by vivid colors as well. This can provoke a great sense of joy, expansion, and equanimity. When this occurs, it provides powerful fuel for meditation, enabling the yogi to make more of the situation than just a fleeting experience. Through deep concentration and meditation, you may be able to mentally tap into the kundalini power in a way that will promote a clear mind, vivid alertness, and an overall bright sense of all life. Though most kundalini experiences are short-lived, sometimes they can go on for a long time. At one point in my practice I experienced a six-week period of significantly heightened kundalini activity and an overall feeling of energy, joy, and ecstasy.
Cannabis is a curious ally in the pursuit of kundalini arousal. I have a few times experienced full-blown kundalini awakening, with the almost unbearably intense geyser of spinal energy, lights, color, bliss, the whole cosmic package, assisted by potent cannabis. Some of these experiences have gone on for a bit too long, not just momentary flashes but deep dives that lasted for hours. This has always been in the form of edibles. It is hard to infuse enough through smoking to get to the full psychedelic brink the way you can with edibles. But caveat emptor. Many people find a concentration of edible cannabis overwhelming. Be careful. Remember this great truth: You can always have more, but you can never have less. When edible cannabis is combined with yoga, then it is entirely possible to awaken the kundalini and experience it directly.
But kundalini arousal is not a free ride, and some discomforts can arise. In his book The Kundalini Experience, Dr. Lee Sannella says that “The kundalini process, like deep meditation, stirs up the sediments of the unconscious and confronts a person with just those psychic materials he or she wishes to inspect least of all.” Much like psychedelics, kundalini arousal can bring to light some of the less pleasant aspects of your own self. If you find yourself encountering difficult ideas, thoughts, feelings, allow these phenomena to arise and move on. It is not possible to undergo a true awakening of kundalini without encountering fears, distortions, perversions, and deeply buried mental convolutions that are buried deep in the psyche. Everybody has mental and emotional material to get rid of, and when kundalini energy increases, you will confront your own.
The extent to which kundalini awakens within a person is mostly due to intentional yogic effort. You will find that if you practice the methods offered later on, and infuse intentionally and with a clear mind and open heart, that the kundalini shakti will flow more strongly within you as you go, awakening you to a new, brilliant world of awareness and joy.
- Publisher: Park Street Press (January 12, 2021)
- Length: 192 pages
- ISBN13: 9781620559406
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Raves and Reviews
“Wise, reverent, and enlightening, The Lotus and the Bud expresses the joy, peace, and deep satisfaction that await those who commit wholeheartedly to the practice of cannabis-infused yoga.”--
– Foreword Magazine
“It is high time someone wrote a book acknowledging the sacred relationship between cannabis and yoga. This is that book! Chris is one of the coolest people I know and one of the most sincere with his practice of both yoga and cannabis. In the yogic tradition Shiva, the maha (great) yogi, uses the sacred plant in his meditations to accelerate awareness and healing. Chris’s book details both the history of the cannabis plant and the role of it in yogic practices in a clear, relatable way. The Lotus and the Bud is a relevant, enjoyable read for those who are curious about cannabis consciousness and yoga practice. A must-read!”
– Nicki Doane, internationally recognized yoga teacher
“Chris Kilham’s masterfully crafted book is a must for anyone interested in the deep mysteries of yoga and cannabis. His thorough explanations about the long lineage of yoga and cannabis are enveloped in delightful anecdotes that both seduce and inform the reader. His easy demeanor is buttressed by a wealth of knowledge and investigative narrative. A beautiful read for those who seek to discover their inner world between the breaths and the puffs.”
– The Dank Duchess, hashish storyteller and maker
“Chris Kilham is a gentle, grateful, romantic, gigantic genius. His heart loves sharing the comforting knowledge gained in touring planet Earth and the Universe while naturally practicing yoga. His experiences and enthusiasm are welcome joys to all spirited souls who know about existing in a state of bliss. Get yourself cozy, hold on to your hat, and enjoy flying beside Chris’s psychonautic mind with his newest, most delightful book focused on always living in enlightenment: The Lotus and the Bud.”
– Laurence Cherniak, author of The Great Books of Hashish, vols. 1-3
“In this book Kilham has applied his abundant wit and wisdom toward multi-disciplinary applications of complementary techniques in pursuit of enlightenment, self-actualization, and a better and more fulfilling life. While few of us will attain nirvana in our current incarnations, I have no doubt that this book will provide worthy paths toward that effort.”
– Ethan Russo, M.D., founder and CEO of CReDO Science
“Kilham skillfully weaves his personal stories with the history and science of both yoga and cannabis into an instructive resource that pushes our conventional understanding of mind-body medicine. With his doses of heartwarmingly healthy irreverence, Kilham nudges us toward a practice that respects this Earth and our direct experiences with Spirit. This book serves as a great resource for anyone who wishes to rediscover this ancient and profoundly healing combination.”
– Selma Holden, M.D., M.P.H., Cosmic Sister
“The Lotus and the Bud captivated my interest on page one and held me enthralled throughout. This is a remarkable treasure trove of lived wisdom and expert guidance on the great benefits of skillfully combining yoga and cannabis. Chris Kilham is ideally placed to deliver this gift to us--with 50 years of yogic practice, a deep understanding of the power and potential of cannabis, and the fluid eloquence of a natural-born teacher and storyteller. A thoroughly agreeable and engrossing read.”
– Stephen Gray, author and editor of Cannabis and Spirituality
“Like other great explorers through the ages, Chris Kilham takes us into uncharted territory with this eye-opening, soul-searching book. This book interweaves fascinating personal tales with his preternatural knowledge of cannabis, yoga, and the twining of the two. Ethnobotanist, spirit seeker, long-time yogi, world traveler, and visionary, Kilham leads us on an epic journey that we never want to end. Eagerly awaiting a sequel!”
– Rona Berg, best-selling author of Beauty: The New Basics
“Kilham expresses a unique vision of human energetics that is both stimulating and informative. This work establishes a new paradigm in the field and includes investigation of ancient methods and modern research accessible to a beginner or experienced yogi. For more than half a century, Chris has used his own body and life as a laboratory to explore ways in which the wisdom of the East blends with the science of the West. The end result is a tremendous amount of practical information that can result in greater health, vitality, and well-being for those willing to follow his lead in their own experimentation.”
– Roshi Al Fusho Rapaport, founder of Open Mind Zen International
“These two psychic lubricants needed to be brought together under a single roof, and Kilham has done us a favor in doing so. This book contains wisdom based on experience--if you have an interest in either yoga or cannabis, you will gain from reading it. And if you are interested in both subjects, you’ll want to have it on your shelves.”
– Jeremy Narby, author of The Cosmic Serpent
“With over 54 years of experience with bud, I never exhaled--at least not until I learned how from this book. What a relief! Thanks, Chris, for the permission and for showing me the way!”
– Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council
“Every so often, you come across a book that bridges the crossroads between mind and body--The Lotus and the Bud serves this path well. While the true essence of yoga is to consciously connect to our inner self to attain ultimate fulfillment, I understand and appreciate Kilham’s eloquent attempt to link this with the most important botanical on the planet--cannabis. Knowing that cannabis feeds our body’s endocannabinoid system that serves as the modulator of inner physiological consciousness, this book brings yoga and cannabis together for both physiological and psychological health. A must-read!”
– Carl Germano, C.N.S., C.D.N., certified clinical nutritionist and author of Road to Ananda
"I found The Lotus and the Bud as a surprisingly comprehensive dive into the beautiful and beneficial relationship between ganja and yoga. Kilham brings a bounty of learning to the table, using both academic research and life experience to convey the wisdom found in the marriage between the lotus and the bud. Although it will take time and dedication to unlock the full splendor of Siva’s gifts, the journey sounds well-worth the effort."
– Zak Kotlow, Musing Mystical Zak Kotlow, Musing Mystical
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