Mrs. Nice Guy

A Conversation With Dee Dussault By: Chronic Travels


With a degree in Sexuality Studies from York University in Toronto, training in relationship counseling, and a 500-hour certification to teach tantra yoga, Dee Dussault has made it her life’s work to guide others on their journey toward true bliss and self awareness. Dee was the first yoga teacher to publicly teach cannabis-enhanced classes outside of India. She began teaching in 2009 at her studio in Toronto, until 2012 when she moved to San Francisco, where her ganja yoga and couples yoga classes have taken off. If you’re in the San Fran area, or if you would like to work with Dee long distance, you can reach her through her web site to schedule. If you’re a woman involved in the cannabis industry Dee will be holding a class on July 1st that will be free for you! She encourages her students to find health through movement, meditation and a deeper connection with the people and natural environment around them. From my experience with the cannabis community, this is something that a lot us “stoners” are trying to do all the time.

Mrs. Nice Guy and I attended Ganja Yoga at Ascend Dispensary here in Portland a few weeks ago, and you can read about that experience here. I highly recommend Dee’s classes to anyone looking to find some relaxation, meditation, pain management, or stress relief. Cannabis is an excellent tool in so many ways, and one of them is to aid us in slowing down, and taking time to engage more deeply with what is happening in the present. This might mean relaxing more deeply into a stretch, connecting more deeply with your partner (or yourself) in those intimate moments, or just sitting in the grass and thinking about your life in a new way. After the class I had about a million questions for Dee, and I was able to catch up with her after her trip to the Northwest was over to find out a little more about ganja yoga, and the other work she does.

This interview has been edited.

Chronic Travels: Have your students told you of any specific strains they like to use before coming to yoga class?

Dee: I do hear a lot of conversation before class about different strains, and everyone has their personal preferences. A lot of people talk about going for a hybrid, so they can get some of the alertness and energetics of the Sativa, but they want the body buzz of an Indica as well. One strain I’ve heard mentioned quite a bit is Godfather OG. People are always talking about their favorite strains and I think part of the community aspect of the class is gathering and talking about those, and different products that are available.

CT: You mentioned that vaping is your recommended method of consumption, but have you had students mention other ways that work best for them, such as a certain type of edible?

D: I’ve had people bring in their whole dab rig, and speak very passionately about solvents and concentrates as the most effective method to get the pure product. Other people will bring in capsules, tinctures, or topicals. It’s fun! Like I mentioned before, everyone has their different products and preferences, but they still like to experiment and the information sharing really is part of the community.

CT: Have your views on cannabis changed over the years since you began incorporating it into your classes, or have you always been an advocate?

D: I’ve always been an advocate. In high school and stuff very few people in my generation knew about the health benefits, and there was hardly any science out there on it back then, but there was certainly an influx in the 1960s and 70s of literature on the benefits of going into altered states, with people like Timothy Leary. From that perspective, it already seemed like a really useful spiritual tool, but then as the medicinal benefits have started to become more apparent, it seemed obvious that whether it’s from a physical or a spiritual perspective that it would be a useful tool.

CT: Some people have to restructure the ways they’re brought up to think about sexuality and their bodies in order to accept themselves more fully, and to be comfortable enough for something like naked yoga, or consuming cannabis and potentially entering an altered state. Were the ways you were taught to view sexuality and your body a natural extension into the work you’re doing now, or did you go through a transformative period?

D: I think I’ve always, even at a younger age, had a precocious interest in sexuality. I think I was fifteen or sixteen when I bought The Joy of Sex at a yard sale. I saw all this freedom and playfulness, with hairy armpits and toe sucking, and even before I had sex of my own I was interested in this sort of “hippie” view of sexuality and the body, and pleasure. So, I would say for the most part it was always there in me. I grew up in a really sexually open home, my mom talked to me about sex so it was all very natural. I was pursuing a masters in sexuality before I went through my yoga teacher training instead, but I was entering grad school to study sexuality, so it’s always been something that felt very natural and easy. My perspective already started pretty wide, and I’m sure it’s continuing to widen as I teach more, and learn more, but it did start from a pretty open place already.

CT: Both sex and cannabis use are topics that women are not very vocal about in everyday life or the media, so I’m wondering what kinds of reactions you get from people when you explain your work to them. Do you get different reactions from men than from women?

D: One observation I’ve had is that in a conventional yoga class that either I’m teaching or attending, the amount of men present in the yoga environment is growing, which is great, but it’s still definitely less than half. In the more fitness oriented power classes you’ll see more men, but for the most part it’s definitely more women. But in Ganja Yoga, you actually see about fifty to sixty percent men, so about equal or if anything slightly more men. That’s interesting to me, because I think men have had more permission to openly consume cannabis. It doesn’t seem to go against their gender identities, so I think it’s cool that they’re able to use cannabis to explore yoga. Something that there’s more and more approval for males to be doing, but I think there’s still a lot of intimidation.

In terms of cannabis, I’ve never had a response to what I’m doing based on my gender, but I’ve had yogis express concern about the potential limitations of supplementing a yoga practice with cannabis. These are things like “you might get dependent on it and then you won’t do your practice without it,” or “you won’t reach those meditative states of consciousness without it.” Other criticisms might be about putting a toxin into your body, but I don’t think cannabis is a toxin, so I don’t really engage with that particular criticism. In terms of my gender, I don’t think that it’s ever really affected my responses. I don’t think I would be any more or less successful if I were a man. If anything, I think people like that I’m bridging that more masculine world of cannabis and the more feminine world of yoga and making each more accessible to both genders.

CT: What are some of the common reasons that couples give for coming to your sexual awakening and couples yoga classes?

D: Things like deepening intimacy, getting out of a rut in their sex lives, and making sex a sacred and spiritual experience.

CT: Do you ever have clients tell you about specific cannabis strains, or products that they use to enhance their sex lives? For example, I know there’s a cannabis feminine lubricant called Foria that’s available only in California and Colorado.

D: I sometimes teach a sexual awakening yoga class, which is a yoga class specifically designed to get people turned on. It’s a lot of hip openers, some sexy breathing and moaning, and I’ve had students who use those feminine lubricants. According to my students, it seems like edibles are a big aphrodisiac, maybe because they tend to give more of a body high than smoking does. So, definitely people are getting turned on to the idea of cannabis as an aphrodisiac, and Foria does seem to be the biggest thing that I’m hearing people mention. They have some really great marketing, with a lot of sexy, sort of psychedelic pictures of women in nature. It’s a fun looking cannabis product, and I’m definitely interested in the role of women in cannabis, either as the consumer or as the head of companies. I like what they’re up to.

CT: Have you ever been to India to practice yoga, or is that something you would like to do?

D: I’ve been to India three times, on personal trips. I did go to some yoga temples, but I didn’t spend a lot of time studying yoga there.

CT: Did you notice a different approach to doing yoga there, or was there anything about your experience doing yoga there that you thought was interesting?

D: I definitely had conversations with Indian yogis there, and overall I would say the modern Indian, of the small sample size that I spoke to, is not super into cannabis. It’s really only socially acceptable one holiday a year in the spring, called Holi. When I told my Indian in-laws that I was teaching cannabis enhanced yoga classes, even though they understand that Shiva is the guru of both yoga and cannabis and they understand the spiritual history, there still seemed to be some resistance there. If you’re not a priest, or just for western people to be using it, there were some people that I spoke with who were unsure if that’s a good idea.

CT: So would you say that in India they look at using cannabis more as a ceremonial thing to do?

D: Yeah, if you’re a priest or a brahma then that’s more fine, it’s part of the history so it makes sense. I don’t think they were educated about the medicinal benefits either, so it’s hard to feel supportive of a recreational use if they don’t know of the medical benefits. Also, prohibition and propaganda have made their way to every country so there’s still a lot of negative associations with cannabis there as well.

I want to give Dee a big “namaste” for coming to Portland to offer her class, for speaking with me, and for her continued work to spread joy and encourage all people to live a more active, healthy, and thoughtful lifestyle. To find out what she has coming up in the future, you can follow Dee through her website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

The post A Conversation With Dee Dussault By: Chronic Travels appeared first on Mrs. Nice Guy.