Yoga, Healing & Bankruptcy: 3 Reasons Why California Should Vote "Yes" on Prop. 19
I was contacted a few weeks ago by a new yoga studio asking if I would consider being involved in their upcoming teacher training program. I was interested. Considering that the studio owners were people who took a teacher training many years ago (in which I taught a segment), I thought it was cute that they wanted me to come in for an "interview."

I arrived for this "interview" and sat down facing them in their office.

"Yeah Dave, thanks so much for coming in," the female studio owner said with a warm smile.

"Hey this is great what you guys are doing, I'm happy for you," I replied.

"So this interview is more just to see if we could make this work with you Yeah Dave," the male studio owner continued.

When people call me Yeah Dave, I can only assume they are familiar with my lighthearted, festive approach to life.

"We just have one request Yeah Dave," the female owner followed up.

"Yeah Dave," said the husband, "We're gonna need you to take a drug test."

I felt such an intense reaction as if my head spun around 8000 degrees.

"What the *&(@?!" were the words that slipped out of my mouth. "Are you &*$#ing kidding me? A drug test? What the hell is wrong with you guys?"

I do not like to cuss and felt terribly for my unyogic slip of the tongue. But asking a yoga teacher to take a drug test is like asking... a bird to walk... or a baby to stop crying…or a airline employee for something (anything) free.

Let's get one thing straight. I am NOT a druggie by any stretch of the imagination. I can't smoke pot because it makes me neurotic. The reason I reacted so strongly is because drug tests have no place in the yoga industry.

People choose to be in the yoga industry to avoid things like drug tests.

Following are 3 reasons why yoga teachers should not be drug tested, and better yet, why proponents of marijuana have something to hang their coat (or bong) on.

1. Marijuana boosts brain cell formation: Professor Xia Zhang and some of his colleagues at Saskatchewan University decided to test a synthetic form of THC. They gave rats HIGH DOSES of the THC-like compound twice a day, everyday for a period of ten days to get a good idea of THC’s effects on brain cells. It turns out, this synthetic THC-like compound actually INCREASED the rate of brain cell formation in the hippocampus by 40%.

2. Better than Alcohol and Worse than Bankruptcy:
A study by the Clinical Neuroscience Society (ENCS) shows that alcohol has a stronger effect on teen brain development than marijuana. Being that it's not as dangerous as a legal substance (alcohol), why not legalize marijuana, especially if it can earn nearly bankrupt states much needed tax dollars? By legalizing marijuana and taxing it, the state of California could bring in an estimated $1.4 billion a year.

3. Sacred Tradition: A Sadhu monk in India in January, 2003, Ras Iyah Ben Makahna, won a partial victory in the US 9th Circuit Court after he argued that he used cannabis as a sacrament. Makahna is a Rastafarian -- a religion in which smoking pot is sacred. The same goes with the Sadhus (see photo), wandering holy men in India who dedicate their existence to living "out of their minds." Sadhus smoke charrus (hash) regularly to help them reach enlightenment. And for good reason. According to the Sadhus, the infamous Hindu God Shiva is generally pictured meditating alone in the Himalayas, his eyes half closed from the effects of his hash habit.

In conclusion, there certainly are many reasons to oppose the legalization of marijuana. But given the above-mentioned, aren't there better things to fight and oppose than something that can be religiously sacred, beneficial to the economy, and healing to those with dire pain? And last but not least, let the yoga teachers live in peace.

To download 5 funny moments that go on behind the scenes in the life of a yoga teacher, visit my website

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About the Author
Since 2004, David Romanelli has been traveling the world sharing his Yoga Chocolate, Yoga Wine, and Yoga for Foodies experiences. The purists have been known to challenge his blending of ancient tradition with modern tastes, sounds, and passions. But those who prefer their yoga coated in chocolate, seasoned with humor, and lavished with Marley have enjoyed his workshops and debut book Yeah Dave's Guide to Livin' the Moment: Getting to Ecstasy through Wine, Chocolate, and Your Ipod Playlist. David was recently featured in The New York Times and last year his book reached #1 on the Self-Help Bestseller List. David was a co-founder of At One Yoga in Scottsdale, AZ. Check out his website at