by JR Valrey, The People’s Minister of Information
Cannabis and yoga are two things that historically come from Black cultures around the world, most notably ancient India, and have been ways that we, Black people, have been dealing with trauma on this human plane for millennia. There are cannabis receptors in the human brain and stomach, called the endo-cannabinoid system, which can be used to reduce pain in the body when cannabis is ingested.
The practice of Yoga demands concentration, breathwork and flexibility, all of which relieves stress and trauma in the body and mind of the participant. Both modalities of coping are combined in a class, led by the first Black certified ganja yoga teacher, Lady Namastizzle. Her journey to survive and thrive has led her to help other people in the Bay’s Black communities’ overcome what she was facing health wise and worse.
At this point Lady Namastizzle classes and workshops are pop-ups, with a retreat announcement coming soon. Until then, enjoy what this Bay Area renaissance woman of healing has to teach us about ourselves through her own life journey.
JR Valrey: When and how did you get into yoga?
Lady Namastizzle: My yoga journey began after finding out I had two breast cysts, with one the size of a golf ball. I was without any knowledge of what was happening to me or my body. After my first appointment, my friend was in yoga training and needed some logged training hours and wanted to be present for me. She had been trying to get me to yoga but this time was different and she knew I was broken and afraid. I needed a friend in her and in myself at the moment. We smoked, we moved together and I cried.
JR Valrey: When and how did you start studying the medicinal effects of marijuana?
Lady Namastizzle: Long before recreational usage I was a cannabis patient of Dr. Karamo Chilombo, Jhene Aiko’s father. He told me to only consume Indica due to my anxiety and depression.
I am the type of person who, you are not just going to tell me to do something and I do it. I needed to know why, and to do my own research, so I began to study cannabis and became more mindful of what and how I was consuming, years before I began yoga.
JR Valrey: What are some of the medicinal effects of marijuana?
Lady Namastizzle: The cannabis we consume is a feminine plant healing the divine feminine for thousands of years. Aiding with:
•Childbirth ( it was burned on charcoal and inhaled during labor).
•Breast Pain (used topical) and for chapped nipples for my breastfeeding moms.
•Yoni Steaming (yes) cleansing, clearing and aiding with trauma of the vaginal area.
•Eye Wash. Yes, in the Ebers Papyrus there is a recipe for eye wash using celery.
•CBD should be used as a multi mineral offering Antibacterial, Anti-inflammatory,Antiviral, do I need to continue?
JR Valrey: What made you want to mix the two in your classes?
Lady Namastizzle: With so many of our Black and Brown communities still visiting family members in jail for weed. I wanted to and needed to create a safe space for my people, our people, to come learn about the history of cannabis, the healing, to be a reflection and somewhere they could come to just be themselves; to share space and stories together as a community plant healing together.
JR Valrey: What made you decide to want to teach yoga? What has it done for your life?
Lady Namastizzle: Honestly I had no intention of teaching in the beginning, I did this just for me. The Yogi spaces didn’t reflect what I needed or who I was. So I decided to be what I needed for myself. Noticing in the Bay Area there are as many cannabis clubs as liquor stores now, while none of them was teaching about the overall wellness of the plant.
I found my path, my calling and became the first Black Certified Ganja Yoga Instructor in Northern California!
JR Valrey: How did you get your name and what does it mean?
Lady Namastizzle: One day I read an article about Russell Simmons yoga rituals and he was talking about Snoop. By using Snoop’s word play with came Namastizzle. But the connection for me was deeper than that. It’s a connection of Hip Hop, Cannabis & Yoga. Lady came from the desire for respect as a Black woman, to be addressed properly as a Lady of this culture. Lady Namastizzle was created.
JR Valrey: What do you ultimately want people to get out of your classes?
Lady Namastizzle: To know they were seen and valued, seeing their reflection, in the people, in the stories, and knowing that yoga and cannabis is in their DNA! When people leave a Ganja Yoga sesh with me, they leave with knowledge.
The very first thing they learn is how CBD counteracts THC or how to use peppercorns if you don’t have any CBD. Why, and how, breathwork increases the high. It’s a wellness session that comes with game.
JR Valrey: Why do you practice natural wellness instead of using pharmaceutical answers like pills?
Lady Namastizzle: While dealing with breast cysts Western doctors refused pain medication or any medication at all that could or would offer relief. I was fed up with the pharmaceutical system. Growing up with several food and medication allergies I realized I was harming myself trying to get better with pharmaceuticals.
I take one medication, have an allergic reaction and now require two more for the reaction. Black people are ignored and disregarded by the healthcare industry. I was done with them disregarding my pain, suffering and trauma. I put my healing in my ancestors hands and decided to learn the way of herbs and minerals.
JR Valrey: How could people keep up with your classes? How do people keep up with you online?
Lady Namastizzle: To learn more about classes, workshops and retreat information check out my website ladynamastizzle.com,
JR Valrey, journalist, author, filmmaker and founder of Black New World Media, is also the editor in chief of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. He teaches the Community Journalism class twice a week at the San Francisco Bay View newspaper office.