Essential Yoga Studio owner Francesca ter Poorten and cannabis educator Sarah-Jane “SJ” Nelson are launching cannabis yoga classes in Fernie. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

Cannabis yoga a budding trend in Fernie

Yoga studio, cannabis educator team up to offer Fernie’s first cannabis yoga classes from May 17

A Fernie yoga studio and cannabis educator hope to weed out bad energy by offering the mountain town’s first cannabis yoga classes.

Starting Friday, May 17, local yogis can let the magic of Mary Jane enhance their practice at Essential Yoga Studio.

Owner Francesca ter Poorten has partnered with cannabis educator Sarah-Jane “SJ” Nelson to offer the unique experience, which they describe as a crossroads for these two journeys, combining pot with mellow yoga poses and music.

They hope to give yoga and cannabis-lovers the chance to connect and learn from each other, while creating a supportive environment for the cannabis curious.

“I’m super excited to be working together and to bring this to the community,” said ter Poorten.

“SJ and I attended a yoga and cannabis retreat this past weekend and we really enjoyed the experience. We wanted to bring what we experienced back to Fernie. If you’re new to yoga or cannabis, we’re here for you, to answer your questions. It’s just all about community and fun.”

“I’m really grateful to be working with Francesca,” added Nelson.

“She’s just an incredible yoga teacher that has played a significant role in my health and wellness. I believe that we’re all building a toolkit of what we reach for – life can be really stressful – and she’s in my toolkit.”

For ter Poorten, the weekend’s retreat was her first time combining cannabis and yoga.

“It felt really nice and really relaxing to be in this kind of group energy. Of course, everyone is having their own unique experience but to just be in a room full of people who are in the same vibe, same connection, it’s a very unique experience,” she said.

Essential Yoga Studio will host three cannabis yoga classes this weekend, with the first taking place on Friday, May 17 at 7:30 p.m.

Participants are encouraged to walk or bike to the studio. Nelson will be on hand to offer advice.

She is a non-practicing registered nurse and registered cannabis patient, with a health condition that qualifies her for access to the medical cannabis system.

“Cannabis came back into my life in 2016 when I took the course at Kwantlen Polytechnic University,” said Nelson.

“It was a collaboration of my interest for my own health reasons and also with my background in nursing, I was very interested to learn more about the medicinal benefits of it.”

Nelson now offers cannabis education through her business, Sakari Consultancy, and is co-founder of Stick & Stone, a recreational cannabis retail store proposed for Fernie.

LOOK BACK: Former Fernie councillor co-launches cannabis company

With her extensive knowledge of the plant, Nelson is a member of the Strainprint community, a platform where people can find information and ask questions about cannabis.

Strainprint also has a free mobile app to help medical cannabis users to track their intake and learn which strains, and dosages work best for them.

“Because there’s hundreds of strains and it all affects us differently, it’s really important to keep track of what works for you,” said Nelson.

Cannabis yoga classes will take place at Essential Yoga on at least a weekly basis depending on interest, with plans for a retreat in November.

Nelson will also host an information night, where she will discuss the different ways people can use cannabis and showcase products from Stick & Stone.

“I’ll see where people are at with the knowledge that they have of cannabis and our endocannabinoid system, as well as dive into the chemistry of the plant and talk about the terpenes, which are the essential oils of all plants and the cannabis plant has many terpenes within it,” she said.

ter Poorten said the response so far has been fantastic.

She believes cannabis yoga has huge tourism potential.

“I’ve gotten a ton of messages on Instagram about it, like ‘wow this is amazing, I want to come to Fernie right now and take this class’,” she said.

“It’s a big draw from other areas and I think that has implications for the tourism industry in Fernie. For us to be able to offer something like this, people will travel to take these classes.”

For more information or to book a class, visit Essentialyogastudio.com.

Three cannabis retail stores proposed for Fernie

Easy access to recreational cannabis could be another drawcard for visitors, with three retail stores currently proposed for Fernie.

The City of Fernie has received notice of three cannabis retail licence applications from the Province. The applicants are: Stick & Stone at 891 7th Ave, Starbuds at 1161A 7th Ave and Weeds Gift and Glass at Unit 3 561 Highway 3.

In March, the City issued public notices for Stick & Stone and Starbuds, appealing for input from residents in the area. Weeds Gift and Glass is a more recent referral.

Under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act, all such applications are subject to approval from council before the Province will consider issuing a licence.

LOOK BACK: City of Fernie adopts retail cannabis policy

Manager of Planning Patrick Sorfleet said the City has not received word from the Province that any of the applications has passed its fit and proper test, which must happen before council will consider it.

It has been a long wait for Nelson and her Stick & Stone co-founder Dennis Schafer, who submitted their application in October.

LOOK BACK: Delays leave Fernie cannabis clinics high and dry

“They have reassured us that it is under review and if they have any concerns they will contact us,” said Nelson.

“It’s a fit and proper process. Once they’ve reviewed our criminal screening and our financial screening they’re going to contact the City. The City has been very proactive and has gone out to solicit the 50-metre radius around the shop, so that they’re ready to respond when they do hear from the Province… The City has been really supportive.”

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Nelson is co-founder of Stick & Stone, a retail store proposed for Fernie, and hopes to educate people on the uses and benefits of cannabis. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

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