Yoga with cannabis? Take our word for it. It is a transformational healing experience. You will feel renewed, rejuvenated, and inspired. In this episode, Catherine Kontos welcomes Eliza Maroney, also known as “The Cannabis Yogi,” and the cofounder of Lucky Box Club. The Lucky Box Club is the #1 cannabis subscription box company in California. In this episode, Eliza shares with Catherine how her yoga with cannabis classes encourage her students to slow down. To listen to their bodies and let go of everything else. Do you want to experience this transformational healing yourself? Check out this episode.
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Enhancing Yoga With Cannabis With Eliza Maroney – The Cannabis Yogi
We have a special guest with us. Her name is Eliza Maroney, who was named one of Sacramento’s Top 5 Women To Watch as well as one of Green Markets Report’s Top 100 Women in Cannabis. She Cofounded Lucky Box Club, a cannabis subscription service delivering custom curated boxes. She is a YogaWorks certified yoga teacher. She is also a Cofounder and Executive Producer of Healing With The Cannabis Yogi Reality Docuseries to be released in 2022. She is the Founder of Fire Path Yoga, an alignment-based musical enhanced cannabis-infused yoga dance and meditation experience.
Her annual retreat called The Convergence Retreats is focused on masterminded collaboration that brings together acclaimed healers of various modalities. If that’s not enough, this amazing woman is also recognized by Forbes, POPSUGAR, Uncover LA, Playboy, Entrepreneur, and the Sacramento News & Review. Welcome, Eliza.
I had big goals. I wanted to be someone who’s impacting the world.
It doesn’t stop there. I have a feeling the list is going to grow.
It’s funny when you write a bio because you are like, “What do you want to tell them?” I’m like, “I want to tell them everything because there is so much to share.” It has been a journey. That’s all I can say.
You have to, why not? You accomplished all these things and you are accomplishing them because these are things that are continuing. It’s not something in the past. You continue to grow and share it all.
Thank you for having me. I’m excited about this.
Tell us a little bit about what got you started in this interesting career. What brought you there? From what I understand, you were in other domains, not necessarily this. All of a sudden, we have this lady called The Cannabis Yogi in front of me, which is a very cute name.
It all started in my childhood because I am a musician. I’m a professionally trained musician. I grew up singing with the San Francisco Opera, the San Francisco Girls Chorus and music have always played a big part in my life. As I went through high school and college, I was a full-time musician by the time I was in my twenties. It was fascinating to see the impact that music can make on people’s lives. Later, fast forward a few years, I met my husband and business partner. He worked in the cannabis industry.
It was interesting to learn about plant medicine. My life was transformed by it. I am very open about the fact that I have struggled in the past with depression, anxiety, addiction, many things that people look now like, “Really, you?” I’m annoyingly happy most of the time but it’s a combination of me learning about plant medicine. Weed became my world and I was wanting to spread the gospel. At some point, I wanted to begin to infuse my yoga practices with this.
As I became a yoga instructor, I started inviting friends over for what I call Bend & Blaze. We would come together, enjoy plant medicine and then do yoga. It’s such a transformational experience. It’s something that people slow down. They can listen to their body more and let go of everything else that came before that moment. They would leave feeling renewed, refreshed, rejuvenated and inspired. That grew into something greater. The classes grew, more people would come, the press started to show up and that’s where the term The Cannabis Yogi came from.
I credit Christina Cassen, who’s the writer for them or one of their writers who wrote this beautiful article about her first Bend & Blaze class. She kept on referring to me as TCY, The Cannabis Yogi and it stuck. I loved it and it represents all the things that I hope to be in the world, which is someone who is a Yogi, dedicated to a wellness practice. Also as a nod to the cannabis world and plant medicine in general and what I believe and know that it can do for people. In time, I started the retreats and it has grown. It has been an exciting and very natural progression. Nothing has been forced.
Tell me a day or a session of your classes. What do they look like? What do people experience?
My classes are a vinyasa and yin hybrid class. For people who don’t do yoga, that means that we are moving very slowly. We are moving with our breath. Inhale will take you one way and exhale will take you somewhere else. The yin aspect means that we are holding these poses for extended amounts of time. Sometimes we will get into a forward fold and you are bent over. Maybe your arms are crossed or they are hanging toward the ground and we might be there for 1 or 2 minutes. Some poses will hold up to three minutes and it’s in holding that and in your breath that you can feel change happen inside of your body.
The classes open with either some dynamic movement like some shaking, other exercises or dancing a little bit, and then we get into our flow, and that is the yoga aspect. Toward the end, once everyone is down into Shavasana, which is that Corpse Pose, where everyone it’s like their final rest, some teachers call it. I do sound baths as I do as a short sound healing. You will see me with bowls, gongs, tuning forks, and most importantly, with my voice. I sing to them at the end of every class and do chants or mantras.
Listen to your body more and let go of everything else.
I will close, sometimes like that or maybe we will also get into meditation. The experience is 90 minutes and the class is 60 minutes. The big part of the experience is arriving and being able to consume cannabis first and be in a supported, safe space to experience that. To go in, get on your mat and you take that experience in word, and focus on your own body and spirit.
Can you give us an example of a mantra you are singing?
I’m going to chime one of the bowls and I will sing one of them for you.
This is a treat. Thank you.
“I am life. I am life. I am life. I am life.”
I know the bowls bring you to a deeper level of meditation as well, plus listening to your voice, I can imagine that people are being relieved.
Hearing that vibration and the resonance of it all, it’s transcendental. It can take you to different places, find the answers you have been looking for and heal. The sound aspect is the most important part of my classes. People think that they are coming for the yoga and most of my faithful yogis, they all admit, and proudly say that they are there for the ten-minute meditation and sound healing at the end.
Did you ever get introduced to the retreats by invitation by people inviting you? Is that something that people could do with you? They invite you to their retreats so they can experience that.
I have been a guest at numerous retreats and it’s something that I love to do. I think that’s the ethos of The Convergence Retreats. The point of life is to keep learning. It’s always to be chasing after new knowledge, piece and inspiration. I love and am honored to participate in different retreats often.
The Convergence Retreats, you founded and started that. What was it that made you decide to take this route with your business?
I was ready to host something a little bit bigger than a yoga class and that would allow people to go even deeper. There is only so much you can do in a class, even a day or a half-day workshop but when you invite people and ask them to join you for two or more nights, it forces them to let go of that default world and touch base with themselves. First and foremost, it came from a desire for deeper healing and transformation.
The second aspect was that I have so many teachers and healers that I know of, that I want to tap into their magic and I want others to tap into their magic, too. By creating a platform, a space, and a meeting place for the healers, we get to heal each other but also we get to expose many other people to those different modalities and tools.
How many days are your retreats? Is that 2 or 3 days?
My retreat that’s going to be in Mexico is going to be nights, and then we have another retreat that’s going to be in Northern California in May 2022. That is going to be three nights. It’s Friday through Monday.
When is Mexico and when is the next one?
I will have to say Mexico is sold out. It’s going to be the last week of January 2022. The Pescadero Retreat in California is going to be also the last weekend of May 2022. It’s Memorial Day weekend and I’m excited about that because I announced it. Early bird is on. If anyone is interested, they should check it out, and grab a ticket because it will sell out. I’m excited about it.
When people first come, I assume not everybody knows everybody. What is it that you do to break the ice with these people and make them feel very comfortable with each other?
It depends on the size of the group. Having a retreat with 10 people is different from having a retreat with 40 people. It depends on that but we always will start with an opening circle. It doesn’t matter how many people there are. We are going to sit down together in a circle. We are going to breathe, meditate, say a brief introduction of ourselves, whether it’s their name and where they are from or go a little bit deeper into your name and why you are here in one sentence.
We have agreements that I ask that everyone honor. Setting the space and the tone of the opening ceremony is very important. We ask people to honor anonymity, only speak from their own perspective, not to interrupt ever, participate in conversations and be vulnerable. There’s a list of agreements that I open up with that gets people to drop in, understand, and realize that they are now part of something bigger and get more intimate than they anticipated.
The goal of your retreat is what exactly? How are they supposed to leave with what?
They are going to leave inspired and empowered to take better care of themselves with new tricks, tools and healing modalities.
You said there are different facilitators. What facilitators do you bring in and what do they do with your retreat goers?
Every facilitator teaches a workshop or a class. The Convergence Retreats are almost mini-wellness festivals in the way that we have morning programming, we have daily yoga, and then we have 2 to 4 workshops throughout the day that are optional. The one thing that’s not optional is the morning practice together but the other classes will be on qi gong, yoga and meditation. There will be sound baths, tantra teachers, energetic healers, Reiki masters and Ayurvedic herbalists. They all come up with their TED Talk or their class that they want to teach. It lets people connect with them and gives everyone this opportunity to learn something new and hopefully, receive a little bit of healing in that.
It does sound like a mini-festival because you do have the option of taking the class or not, which lets people go at their pace. Where did you find all these people? Is it because they connected with you or you are like, “I’m holding my first retreat. Who wants to join me?” How did you start? How did you find all your facilitators and your clients? When people are starting, they were like, “Am I going to fill my retreat?” You have this idea of bringing all these facilitators in there. Was that maybe one of your techniques is to fill up your retreats by having everybody there?
There are two sides to this. There are the people that you know that you have to teach because they are already one of your teachers. I started like that. I tapped into my own local resources. People that I have also intimately studied with because I’m not a huge fan of inviting anyone. I don’t google Reiki master and invite the first person. To me, I’m curating an experience and it needs to be authentic. The first Convergence was the only people that I knew, worked with, studied with, etc.
Curate an authentic experience.
The 2nd and 3rd Convergences have been a little more widespread because once you have your trusted healers and they see what you are building, they have people they want to recommend, that are their teachers. I have gone as far as to invite the teachers of my teachers that they highly recommend. I do due diligence. I check what they are putting out in the world, what is their social media, what is their messaging, and also how accessible are their teachings to my students. To someone who maybe isn’t super heady and living a crazy yoga lifestyle. We want this to be accessible to everyone.
You said something very important in your statement there which is, “It has to be authentic. They have to have similar values to you.” It has to be a genuine connection between you and that person that is coming or you are hiring them, it’s a partnership or whatever it may be. It makes a huge difference because it’s not only for your clients but for you as well, your peace of mind.
It’s not you are inviting them because they are popular or they have thousands of followers. You are inviting them because you genuinely believe in their product and service. I think it creates harmony between you and them as well, and that resonates with your retreat goers or whoever is there with you and that’s very important. People don’t realize that it eliminates so many issues mentally and even in a business as well. Thank you for pointing that out.
This Mexico retreat, I’m co-facilitating with two other women and it’s the first time that I have brought in women that are partnering with me on an event like this. It was interesting early on when they said, “What’s your refund policy? What if they are not happy? What if someone needs to cancel last minute?” I was like, “I have never had someone ask for a refund and that’s who I’m attracting.”
First of all, people trust my ability to curate an experience. That’s one thing that I’m most known for. I host multiple events. I do lots of things within the cannabis and wellness space. I’m constantly curating experiences and I have high standards for that. Second, people don’t ask for refunds because the types of people that I am inviting and bringing into my world are generous. They are also giving to others. I have had two people ever say, “I can’t make it but I would like to gift my spot to someone else. Are you okay with that?” That’s beautiful. It’s a testament to what we are creating here, for sure.
Have you ever had a situation where something should happen, not necessarily with your guests but maybe even with a chef that doesn’t show up or activity goes sour somehow?
We have never had a sour activity. We have had only one facilitator that got lost and didn’t make it. I think they gave up. They turned around and went home. It wasn’t a problem. We were remote, I will say that but it was fine. When there is no programming going on, there are still things to do. My husband is a painter and he always sets up what’s called the Puff Puff Paint Stations. It’s a smoking section with coloring books and things for people to paint with him and easels. Like, “We will go smoke and hang out. We are all eating edible. I will go paint or color some coloring books and hang out with everyone else.” We typically have a few vendors that are available that people can check out their products or their services. There are massages add-ons. You can have massage therapy or other Ayurvedic therapies. There’s not a lack of opportunities or offerings at any point in time.
What about legal aspects because you are dealing with cannabis? Not everywhere in the states and in the world allows this. Canada is legal and I’m in Canada. I’m wondering, does that limit you in any way or do you work with what you have?
I will say the California retreats are fine. You have to be over 21. We are not selling anything on-site. It’s not like you are there and you are buying weed throughout the weekend. People can come on their own or they can legally, and compliantly get a delivery from my company, Lucky Box Club, which is a licensed delivery service.
What’s next for you? What are your projects? Is there anything you want to share?
I’m excited about Convergence in Pescadero. I am bubbling with excitement because I locked in the venue. I’m deep in planning that and I’m ready to find a new round of teachers who want to participate and meet new participants and attendees because COVID did a number on all of us in creating such a disconnect. I am fully embracing this next retreat and I hope that it serves as inspiration for everyone.
It’s going to be even more special than ever because of the disconnect. People are craving to connect again so badly. How can people connect with you? Where can they find you?
You can find me on Instagram. I’m listed as @TheCannabisYogi. You can also learn about The Convergence Retreat at ConvergenceRetreat.com and if you are interested in California, you can check out LuckyBoxClub.com if you want to support a woman-owned cannabis delivery service.
Thank you so much for being here. I wish you luck with all your retreats and everything that you do. Everything sounds wonderful.
It’s such an honor and I hope that we get to connect one day in person.
When you said Mexico, I was like, “I’m going to be there as soon. It’s only in January 2022.”
Those sell out so quickly because everyone wants a nice big vacation.
Thanks again for being here and good luck with all your beautiful ventures. I wish you well. Hopefully, we do meet soon. Take care.
- Lucky Box Club
- The Convergence Retreats
- Article – Leafy Magazine
- The Pescadero Retreat
- @TheCannabisYogi – Instagram
About Eliza Maroney
A San Francisco native, Eliza grew up in the tech booms of the late 90s. A fierce woman of color & serial entrepreneur, her personal experience with the benefits of cannabis led her to become an advocate, educator, and entrepreneur. Named one of Sacramento’s Top 5 Women To Watch as well as one of Green Market Report’s Top 100+ Women in Cannabis, her passion for wellness & community-building touches all who work closely with her (or follow her feed!).
In 2015, Maroney co-founded Lucky Box Club (a cannabis subscription service delivering custom curated boxes) to share her knowledge and passion for wellness and cannabis through the curation of premium and craft cannabis products. A YogaWorks certified yoga teacher, professional musician, and samba dancer, Eliza is also the founder of Fire Path Yoga, an alignment-based, musically-enhanced, cannabis-infused yoga, dance, and meditation experience.
A classically trained musician, Eliza offers ethereal chanting, singing, and sound healing, accompanied by cannabis education and movement. Recognized by Forbes, PopSugar, Uncover LA, PlayBoy, Entrepreneur, and the Sacramento News & Review, Eliza continues to work to spread the message of holistic and healthy cannabis use with pop-up workshops, weekly classes & annual events coined The Convergence Retreats with a focus on masterminded collaboration that bring together acclaimed healers of various modalities.
Eliza also has numerous professional music and speaking credits, including speaking on topics ranging from marketing to health and wellness as well as performing Latin, soul, funk, and R&B music across the world. She is also a co-founder and executive producer of “Healing With The Cannabis Yogi” reality docu-series to be released in 2022.