I had the pleasure of helping out Jennifer Miles of Cannakula as the experience made waves in Midtown Phoenix. At my former dispensary, we curated an awesome collection of wellness events in addition to our cannabis and CBD products. Our wellness center worked to connect patients with resources that could be used to better themselves along with their use of cannabis. Jennifer Miles hopes to lead that shift to help patients work towards conscious self-care, and awareness. She leads many of the events held at the Curaleaf Midtown Wellness Center, and teaches methods such as Hatha, Restorative, and Yin Yoga, as well as Yoga Nidra (guided sleep based meditation) to change people’s outlook on health. It is unique, in her working with vendors to introduce new options for medicating to patients at a great value, while also providing an opportunity that could shift their overall health for life.
Jennifer Miles | Yoga instructor | Cannakula
We had the opportunity to sit down at BE Coffee Food + Stuff on Roosevelt Row in Phoenix’s bustling arts district for a great conversation about her outlook on the changing views of cannabis, health, and self-care. We talked about the recent shift in local dispensaries working to provide similar wellness options to their patients, and how perception of a medical cannabis patient working to heal, is changing. Let’s get some information on what Cannakula with Jennifer is about, and what you can expect when you decide to try a class. She has an events page at cannakula.com , which includes dispensary yoga classes usually held at the Midtown Curaleaf Wellness Center. She also offers medicated wellness events at private venues in downtown Phoenix. Her events and classes focus on healing while providing the value of diverse new product options from Arizona vendors.
Jennifer Miles | Yoga instructor | Cannakula
How long have you been doing this and what sort of experience or training does it take?
Cannakula is only a year and a half old! While I have been practicing yoga for almost 20 years, I only recently started teaching yoga since 2017. I fully realized my passion for teaching at an early age as I taught Ballet, Pilates, Barre and Group Fitness classes for years. After sitting in Ayahuasca ceremony in 2017, I experienced a big shift in my spirituality and self-healing. This experience propelled me forward on my journey into the spiritual practice of yoga. I hold a 500 hour Registered Yoga Teacher training distinction and am constantly adding new methods to my craft. With 600 hours of advanced yoga training through SWIHA and SOY, I am certified in I AM Yoga Nidra™ and Yin, Yoga for Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS), Hatha Gong™ Prenatal and Restorative Yoga.
Savasana of course! Savasana is a Sanskrit term that translates to Corpse Pose. The pose generally comes at the end of every yoga class or in a meditative experience. It requires the practitioner to lie down on their backs on their yoga mat and be still, for an extended period of time. I feel that it is the most underestimated yoga pose because most people have a hard time dropping into a state of relaxation. We are a society that is bombarded by constant stimulation, which results in a short attention span. Lying down to be still and quiet, while lucid is downright scary for many people.
What was the hardest thing to learn?
In my training, it was probably learning to quiet my mind. Once I understood that breathing is the key, everything else just fell into place.
Jennifer Miles | Yoga instructor | Cannakula
How has this training and instructing help you to grow?
I love teaching because I can share what I have learned from my own experiences and studies. Teaching gives me the opportunity to shine the light of awareness through the darkness of oblivion. If I can inspire others to find their way through the darkness on their own self-healing and self-acceptance journey, then I have done my job. Being of service makes me truly happy.
So, what are some things that people who might be interested in your classes can do to prepare and better their mindset for learning at home?
I’m actually finishing up a blog entry on better sleep – setting up your space for sleep success. Start by preparing your sleep space, remember, energy flow is important. Removing stimuli and being able to let the mind rest is necessary. Once the space is set, soak your body or feet in a warm bath. I love Day One Organics and I use their CBD salt soak, which is amazing. After a soak, I move to my bedroom, with lights low and the bed turned down, ready for me to sleep after a couple of Restorative Yoga postures. Next, I’ll take an L position against the wall with my legs up the wall, back, hips and tailbone flat on the ground, so the blood recirculates and re-oxygenates through the heart as inversion will bring the body into relaxation. I hold the pose for 5 to 15 minutes.
Follow legs up the wall with 3-5 minutes in Child’s Pose (see photo). It is another great posture to practice, as the act of folding the body over, with a little pressure on the brow center is really beneficial to the relaxing of the nervous system.
The opportunity to sit and talk with Jen is amazing as she has the unique perspective of experience and ability. I feel a great comfort in discussing her practice, and have to further ask what her thoughts are on cannabis and the future of integrating better self-care habits. Having been a patient since 2012, she has also got some great insight on self-medicating with cannabis and how to better your life by using it as a medicine. I feel that with this insight and guidance through meditation, anyone has a chance to greatly heal if they choose to take that first step into her space. The difference between Jen and Cannakula in relation to other wellness programs is a deep desire to help patients heal through a health conscious shift in lifestyle.
Jennifer Miles | Yoga instructor | Cannakula
What are your thoughts on cannabis and medical marijuana?
I do feel it is important to educate people about respectful use of the plant in a healing way with ‘whole-istic’ health of the human being in mind. Cannabis isn’t for everyone and it is definitely common for people to over-medicate. The way one medicates has to shift to match the changes in their health. Feeling better, means less cannabis use; if cannabis use stays the same as when the individual was in distress, it then becomes an issue of removing oneself from the present and avoidance of deeper internal issues.
What is your experience with cannabis?
In my experience, cannabis and all of its properties impart immeasurable benefits in terms of pain relief and physical healing of my own body. Through the use of this plant, I discovered a profound effect on my mind and body during the physical practice of yoga, as I was able to access a deeper neuromuscular connection. I could also tap into creative flow when dancing, choreographing, and writing.
Do you have a favorite strain or product that people should check out?
I love Delta 8 THC cartridge from Item 9 Labs. This is a revolutionary product because it’s less psychoactive and more about body relief. I can use this product and get the digestive relief I need without feeling “high”. I am a Yogi; I want to stay present most of the time. Being “high” isn’t an option for me whilst in session with clients or teaching classes, as I have to hold space for others in a clear frame of mind. Using this product helps me get relief from THC that I need without removing me from the present moment.
Indica or Sativa? Hybrid?
Indica for bedtime or bodywork, or Sativa for active time. Hybrid for anytime!
What are your thoughts on CBD?
I think CBD is great. It provides some body and mind relief without feeling “high”. It is so beneficial for me and many of my clients who don’t always want to feel the effects of cannabis. For intense pain, digestive “ease”, and insomnia, my go to is THC.
“Cannakula is wellness experiences through the integration of hemp and cannabis plant medicine and the healing arts and sciences…”
What is a routine involving cannabis and training that you enjoy?
I really like to sesh and go for a hike or a swim. I enjoy working out outdoors, weather permitting. I also enjoy going to the gym or to Yoga, Pilates or Barre after smoking or micro-dosing an edible.
Do you see cannabis and wellness integrating more as better laws and widespread acceptance are more common?
I hope so! I would really like to see cannabis treated as a medicinal plant, used for total body wellness. I suspect that with further legalization of cannabis, it will push the industry towards a more recreational market.
What do you hope to see change in the future concerning people and their self-care and wellness?
Self-awareness! This is a huge part of self-care. It is very common for people to miss the signals that their body needs care because many people focus on external stimulation, or their mental noise is so loud, or they become desensitized from excessive self-medicating. Practicing self-awareness can prevent the snowball effect of dis-ease and illness. Also, it would be wonderful to see more folks embracing Eastern health practices such as Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine, Qigong, Yoga, Meditation and Vibration Healing.
What sort of events do you have coming up? Where can people meet you and try your classes?
Coming up, Hemp & Happiness Palm Springs, July 25-28 at The Saguaro Hotel with my retreat partner, Estevan Serrano, former Social Media Manager of Midtown Roots. The focus is CBD and wellbeing, which includes Yoga, Meditation, Mindfulness, Fitness, Nutrition, Mental Health and Pets. We want to support the LGBTQ community with an Educational and Experiential wellness event Palm Springs.”
Regular classes twice a month at Curaleaf Midtown, with the last Saturday of the month sponsored by Item 9 with a goodie bag that includes a Delta-8 Cartridge, a huge value! My home dispensary will always be at the Midtown Wellness Center as long as Curaleaf keeps running the program. I also have a Restorative Touch & Sound class every First Friday at SPACE Wellness Phoenix on 16th st and Thomas with my friend Kayt Pearl, myofascial release therapist and intuitive touch expert. We combine these touch techniques with gentle Restorative Yoga, CBD, essential oils and sound healing by candlelight. It’s quite a luxurious experience. I’ve recently become a part of the Walter Productions family as an event curator. They have a new warehouse in Phoenix where Cannakula we will have more monthly classes coming.
At the moment, only 2 weekly classes but will be adding more in the near future. Monday afternoons are at Walter Art Gallery in Scottsdale. Thursday Night Nidra is at SPACE Wellness. Both classes are restorative in nature, include gong vibration therapy, and guided sleep based meditation, which benefit the mental, physical, and energetic bodies – a way to wipe the lens clean. For more details on any of these events, visit Cannakula.com and sign up for the email list for updates on what’s coming up.
As we wrap up the interview, I start to look inward to better understand my habits and how they will affect me over time. A lifestyle shift can be daunting, but bettering yourself through that shift could be everything you need to get better, to your body and to yourself. In speaking with Jen, it becomes clear almost right away that her focus is improving the lives of those around her, and teaching those tools to shift your lifestyle into a new place through healing. I look forward to taking a class with her, and I would encourage anyone to do the same. As we finish our talk, Jen and I connect on several points of interest on a wide range of topics and interests, her knowledge is invaluable especially when applied to advice on well-being, or being well. I ask her about the small stuff, and what brings her the little joys I enjoy, and wonder about others.
Joints or Blunts?
Joints over blunts any day!
Museums or Food Trucks?
Museums for sure, I like to learn. Give me knowledge to soak in and visual stimulation of a museum and I am a happy gal!
Yes! I like to micro-dose edibles. I don’t want to be too high so micro-dosing is great for me before a physical practice like hiking, working out, a Vinyasa style Yoga practice or dancing. When I am in intense physical pain, edibles are the most effective way to relieve my symptoms.
True Romance is one of my all-time favorites. Great cast and rocking’ love story. It’s a classic.
What music are you listening to?
I listen to a lot of different types of music. It varies from ambient sounds to spiritual, yoga playlists to DJ sets. I love classical, opera and the blues as well as West African music and 60’s Rocksteady Reggae. I still love music from my youth in the 80’s and 90’s. It’s probably easier to list what I don’t like…Country music. Hahaha.
Any favorite restaurants or bars to recommend?
Yes!! I absolutely love Glai Baan. Delicious Northern Thai food with an excellent cocktail program, in a quaint, homey-feeling family owned spot near 24th St and Osborn. Pa’La, Claudio Urciuoli’s place around the corner from Glai Baan is also amazing. It’s simple and no frills, but the wood fired seafood or tapas are outstanding. I have to give a shout out to Conceptually Social’s concepts, The Dressing Room, The Larry, and Be Coffee – Kyu Utsunomiya and Troy Watkins know how to create atmosphere, yummy food, and great service.
I don’t really drink that much so going to a bar isn’t that common for me anymore, I do however love to dance. My favorite club is also in DTPHX, Bar Smith, and a staple in the house music community for 12+ years. House music on the rooftop, under the stars makes this one of my favorite places to boogie.