that yoga high: eoin finn & his “intention joint”

Aug 29, 2012 by

Pulling on the “Intention Joint” – photo by Ali Kaukas, via Facebook.

What kind of newfangled mudra action is happening in one of Eoin Finn‘s yoga classes at Wanderlust Whistler? Yep, it’s exactly what it looks like.

After seeing this photo floating around Facebook, I had to message Finn, a well-known Vancouver Island-based yoga teacher and “blissologist,” and ask him just what is going on here. He graciously provided the whole story (and I edited it, slightly).

The Intention Joint idea came from a student in our Yoga Teacher Training (YTT), Sheena Ritchie, who now owns a yoga studio in Tel-Aviv.

One thing I really try to stress to people – besides great alignment – is how to weave moments of zen with levity in their classes. Authenticity is so key. I find that the more truly yourself you are while teaching yoga, the more you tap into that “mysterious x-factor” that really makes your classes powerful.  Obviously the lesson was taken to heart because Sheena started her final YTT class with an “Intention Joint.” In the after-class, peer critique that we gave as a group, it seemed a lot of people loved it and many were repulsed. I thought it was brilliant.

The classes I taught at Wanderlust were incredibly powerful in the sense that I just tapped into some stream where ideas and words became lucid as I was standing on the stage speaking. The previous day, in the “Pursuit of Happy Hips” class, I pondered the role of Grief. At the end of the class we discussed how much pain exists in the world. So many people are trying to avoid pain but I left the question open as to whether people really needed to numb themselves with drugs if they really knew the power of the love we tap into during yoga practice.

So in this class (“superflow” which is very zen and flowy at times and outrageously fun at others, with surfing and animal-like movements), during our opening centering meditation, I pulled the Intention Joint out of my unconscious teaching tools. It wasn’t pre-planned but just emerged. People rolled their positive affirmations into a joint, took “Wreck Beach Mudra” and held it in. Waves of laughter came out on the exhalation. Spirits were lighter and my theory was confirmed: we just need to give ourselves the space to create more lightness in the spirit to allow pain, worry and shame to dissipate. Drugs are not needed but only an excuse to let go and feel the enthusiasm for life that we feel as a child. We had a rocking practice where spirits were so high and truly channeled something beautiful.

I have to stress that this is something only Eoin Finn could get away with. What do you think – is the Intention Joint disrespectful towards the tradition of yoga or an act of joyful irreverence?

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80 Comments

  1. i am going to be completely honest- i think it’s ridiculously dumb. I’m pro-legalization, i have nothing against smoking weed (although I don’t smoke myself), but it’s just beyond the stereotype. ‘bliss-out surfer dudes’… it’s disappointing. i would feel absolutely like a complete hokey fake doing this in a yoga class.

    I’m gonna say- only in BC.

  2. Andrew

    One thing I will say about taking classes with Eoinn is that I left my stoic, hyper-serious yogi self at the door, in a good way. He forces you to do that. He definitely has the gift of bringing lightness, spontaneity and humour to classes in a way that few (if any) other teachers do… Hence why you would say he’s maybe the only one who could get away with it. But I think that lightness can be brought in many ways. So does this cross the line between breaking up egos and out-of-place humour? Your thoughts.

  3. Andrew

    This is the dumbest thing I have seen in awhile. Pretend smoking joints? Are there people out there who are actually trying to make yoga a laughing stock?

    Why not have intention wine bottles? Maybe cut lines of bliss with the razor blade of intention? Would people who have never smoked weed even be able to relate to this at all? Why does he capitalize the word “Grief”?

    Is this just some guy who loves smoking weed trying to combine his passions? If he was into classic cars would he be packing bliss in an Intention Mustang and pretending to go on an imaginary cross country trip of the heart? I am so baffled by this, can somebody explain to me how pretend joints have anything to do with practicing yoga at all? I would say that yogis are the new hippies, and in 20 years they will all sell out and get SUVs and middle management jobs, but judging by all the SUVs I see parked in front of yoga studios in my town (one with the license plate “YOGA”) I think we’re already there.

    • Jen

      Andrew, your response is genius, and brought me a lot of joy while reading it. You are absolutely right on all counts. I’ve got no issue with weed and teach yoga myself, and this ‘teaching’ rubs me the wrong way.

      Again, thank you for the humor you answered with, your truthful words are the best thing on this page.

    • Andrew, I second Jen’s compliments of your response. Very clever and to the point about just how ridiculous yoga culture has become.

      Like EcoYogini, I’m pro-legalization even though I gave up pot smoking many years ago. In fact, it was yoga and meditation that made me realize that pot smoking fogged up my consciousness, and it just didn’t feel good anymore, at least not as good as a clear mind.

      I’m all for yoga practitioners—and especially teachers—not taking themselves too seriously, but just seems silly, and as others have pointed out, forced and fake, and probably really uncomfortable for folks who have never smoked.

    • exactly my thoughts. interestingly, since I’ve never smoked a day in my life (weed or cigarettes, not because I’m against it- just never came up), this ‘intention’ based activity would have absolutely zero meaning for me.

      assuming everyone has smoked weed, and would understand his obviously personal connection to his version of zen-bliss and getting high is incredibly narcissistic and naive at the same time.

      • Supercerealyogipogi

        The best pose in yoga is the one where u reach your hand between your legs, bend over, and pull the stick out of your ass. I always feel less uptight after.

        • Kim

          Bahahahahaaa! Great comment ;) Eion is fun, his classes are fun. It would help if you have taken a class with him to understand his style. There is nothing premeditated or pretentious about him. Personally It brought a smile to my face.

        • wow….
          Yes I do have opinions about something I’ve never done. I’m allowed… since it is an illegal substance (technically speaking). I also don’t feel like I have to smoke or ‘try it once’ before I’m permitted to have an opinion.
          I don’t think smoking is a big deal, I just don’t see how it relates to ‘zen’ or ‘bliss’ and I would feel absolutely ridiculous doing something like this in a yoga class. I also do believe that although Eoin may be a great person, stepping outside of your own personal life experience box to recognize that perhaps not everyone will connect the dots between an illegal substance and zen when teaching a public class as a high profile yoga teacher isn’t such a bad idea.

        • Andrew

          That is an inappropriate comment to make. If you want to discuss why this is/is not a good idea, whether Eoin or whatever the hell his name is is awesome or a dink, go ahead. Saying something like “pull the stick out of your asana” is immature, inappropriate, and judgy. You’re not commenting on anything the poster you are replying to said, you are trying to make a judgement on their own attitude. Also you can’t spell, which sucks.

      • Ugly Beard

        Ecoyogini, you entered the first comments referencing both weed and marijuana. As someone who has never smoked you obviously have some strong opinions about how smoking should relate to life. You seem to be disconnected from people with your inexperience. Just because you are in high spirits doesn’t mean you want to get “high.” Eoin used a metaphor, and it sounds like it was quite effective for some people. This isn’t a huge deal.

        • Andrew

          Th point, which you obviously failed to grasp, is that some people (me) think that it is a stupid metaphor that does not apply to yoga. Go read my comment again, I’ll wait. See what I did with the intention mustang? That is called sarcasm. The reason for it being that cars, much like marijuana, has little if anything to do with yoga. Things that do have a lot to do with yoga would include 1) middle class white people, 2)narcissism, 3) pretending you are enlightened, then going home and watching two and a half men.

    • Court

      I definitely want to hop in the intention mustang! How awesome would it be if each time we drove our car we drove with an intention (other than just getting from A to B)? When people think yoga is just time on the mat that’s when we get the disconnect. Yoga practice does more than make you stretchy, it is meant to allow you to be mindful in your actions, starting with your thoughts (as that’s where action always originates). And while I may not fully connect with every metaphor, I am inspired when a teacher opens a part of themselves to share what lights them up inside. So if the road trip through the soul was suggested in class (and not a scripted crap version) I’d give it a go, why not? For me, yoga is a journey of unity of the mind, body, heart and soul, ultimately about connection to everything around us, that extends beyond our practice on the mat. So why shouldn’t our time on the mat remind us of the divinity all around us?

      And who knows, maybe that person with the big YOGA SUV has 5 kids that they take camping and adventuring down crappy roads, and maybe they don’t, but you can’t tell by looking at them, and you can’t judge a practice without stepping on the path.

  4. missy

    People’s lives have been ruined by drugs and pot. I don’t see anything funny about it. I am a light hearted fun yoga practitioner, I LAUGH and make jokes all the time, but find this un~funny and unnecessary. I like Eion Finn, but not this idea. I guess we all have good and bad ideas~ for me, this one is blah and not something I would encourage!

  5. I know i would feel like a complete fake doing this too since I don’t smoke. It just wouldn’t resonate with me. But maybe in this setting it did resonate? I don’t know I guess for a one time bug conference setting it might be ok but I sure hope it doesn’t become a norm! Of course I do try combine yoga with other maybe non yogic things so who am I to judge.

  6. Yoga gets me high every time I do it. It is a beautiful, natural high. I don’t think this would be appropriate in most yoga class settings, but for the venue and the teacher it sounds like the audience really responded to it, and I know I would have too!

  7. Andrea

    I smoke occasionally. I practice yoga regularly. I would never draw an association between the two. I get what he was trying to do with the over the top ‘creativity’ and humor but I find inappropriate and silly.

  8. That is completely goofy.

  9. If I hadn’t previously met and taken a class with Eion Finn, I’d think this was dumb – but having done so, I can see how it could work as he describes. After all, this is the guy who can convincingly get you enthused about “hammock enlightenment.” Maybe even in a parking lot. He exudes a distinctive West Coast Canadian charm, and I like it.

  10. Oh no. This is way too much for me. But then I am one of those Ashtanga fundamentalists…

  11. Karen

    Come on people…it seems like YOU are all taking yourselves a bit too serious! Wanderlust was all about laughter, strength, flow and feeling powerful & powerless all at the same time. Drugs have nothing to do with it and Eoin actually said in one of his classes “Why in the world would anyone need to get HIGH, when they could just do yoga?!”. This action was a fun & simple way to get people to breathe lightly and maybe feel silly just for a second. Just because we’re “adults” doesn’t mean we can’t be goofy, even in yoga class! RELAX already!

    • i have a sense of humour, and i can relax… i see what you’re saying.
      That said- pretending to smoke a joint when i have never smoked before in my life is absolutely ridiculous. It’s assuming that everyone will understand the connection of getting high and bliss. Regardless if he said ‘who needs to get high’- pretending to smoke a joint directly negates that statement and makes a firm connection that he interprets the feeling of getting high while smoking marijuana and his version of ‘bliss’.

      Good for him, but i have nothing to relate that too.

      this activity wouldn’t make me breathe lightly, i would feel uncomfortable and weird. As you don’t know me, you can’t really understand that i am completely capable of acting silly- most of job requires i play with preschool aged children on the floor all day. I know silly.

      This is just disappointing.

  12. Tanya

    Eoin‘s yoga retreats are amazing experiences, you take what you want from it! As for this picture and his practice I LOVE IT! It’s fun, exhilarating and a great work out! Good on ya Eoin!

  13. Beverly

    Woah, lighten up friends! I was there, and it was awesome. Eoin’s style is unique and people leave his classes happier and healthier, how could anything be wrong with that? Only is BC, ya!

  14. Ryan Esdohr

    You know the saying “You had to be there” that’s the beauty of a yoga class. I love to see people pushing boarders on their classes after all if you aren’t pissing someone off you aren’t making a difference because their isn’t an audience loving it on the other end. I haven’t taken one of his classes but I can appreciate the hammocks, fake joints, etc. I’ll take weird over boring anyday!

  15. Sandy

    I have had some of the most fun at Eion’s classes than any other yoga class. The ukee mudra or joint of intention is just about having fun and sharing our intentions with the group. I think more yoga teachers should learn to incorporate a little humour in their classes than just being serious, and it has nothing to do with smoking a real joint. When you are in the room with him that doesn’t even come to mind. The writer of this article has painted this picture in a way that is not the intention, when you are in his class it’s not about smoking a pretend joint at all. I think you should join his class and see for yourself before you judge something by a picture posted by a no name writer.

  16. Michelle

    Way to go, Eoin! Fantastic! I saw that pic and wished I was in that class! Kudos to Sheena for the inspiration too!
    I understand that some people may be unable to ‘relate’ or feel that the symbolism of the joint was disrespectful to yoga, but for me, no way (and I don’t use drugs ever). Eoin’s classes are definitely something to be experienced!

  17. Kim

    If you know Eoin’s teaching you will know that his #1 goal is to spread love. he inspires me to teach from a place of knowing exactly who I am and to do so without apology! we take ourselves entirely too seriously. if you don’t like it, don’t go to his class! easy……

  18. Lea Sutherland

    I am from Ottawa ( pretty conservative town) and have attended Eoin’s workshops here. I don’t smoke weed but I think Eoin is onto something – Getting people out of their comfort zones. I think most of us could use a little more of a shake up in our daily routines, especially in our yoga practice. I’m not used to high five-ing my neighbor with my feet, or jumping around the room like a frog, but who am I hurting with that?
    I don’t think Eoin would have been offended if someone decided to set their intention without rolling the imaginary joint – he was simply providing a creative metaphor for those who wanted it. Sometimes when we have a very strong reaction to something, its good to take a moment to explore where that feeling is coming from. Eoin has a unique approach to life and yoga and anything bringing lightness and laughter is welcome in my books!

  19. Keith

    All the naysayers in these comments were obviously not in Eoin’s class. I had never met Eoin before Wanderlust, but my wife and I ended up taking all 4 of Eoin’s classes @ Wanderlust because, quite frankly, he is a one of a kind, amazingly gifted, and OBVIOUSLY deeply committed teacher. If you want to armchair criticize anything he does, then I beg you first to go to one of his classes. If you don’t find that he teaches you something PROFOUND in that first class, then go ahead, nitpick to your ego’s content. And, thankfully, it’s NOT only in BC. Eoin’s leads classes and retreats all over the world, from BC to Baja to Bali. I hope he comes to your town too.

  20. Shanon

    I love Eoin.
    He breaks down walls and plays. One day you’ll be hugging a stranger, the next jumping like a frog, last weekend smoking your “intension joint” filled with affirmations.
    Hell yeah. I’m a sober yogi and have no problem with this idea. Suck in your peace, your intension/affirmations of love, happiness, whatever helps man.
    We stand w our hands in front of our heart singing mantras in languages we don’t understand, I think we can at least relate to the idea of inhaling or absorbing a positive intention.
    He’s not saying go out and smoke a joint.
    Its yoga, do it with a smile on your face, love in your heart and an intension for something positive in your soul. Spread the love.
    I love that Sheena inspired Eoin, what an honor because he is the bomb.
    Keep rocking Eoin, you are an inspiration, thank you for being on the planet and constantly shining your light on us.
    xo

  21. Crikey! Maybe a lot of you don’t feel you are, but you certainly come across as terribly uptight and overly serious. And those are people I wouldn’t feel comfortable taking a class from. I have not yet made yoga a part of my life, but I work on and with a lot of people who do. And when I do start, I want it to be with people who are able to laugh at themselves a little, and not self-conscious about how they and those around them look, cause trust me, I’m going to look awful. I happen to know Eoin a little and one of the things I appreciate about him is that he isn’t at all uptight or worried about what people think – and he has every right to be. He comes across as one who knows that he is simply the vessel, the conduit through which all of the benefits of yoga can pass. There’s no ego, which is why it doesn’t come across as contrived or fake. So what if people feel a little silly or out of their element. That’s life. Never hurts to push yourself outside your safe little yoga bubble from time to time. Seriously. Do you really think this hurt anything or anyone or puts yoga in a bad light in any significant way? Ironically its attitudes taken by some of the commenters that make the yoga “culture” seem ridiculous, not a guy goofing off with a bunch of people who appear to be enjoying themselves. Tremendously. A lot of feathers and not much chicken I’d say.

  22. darci

    I think every time we judge we place limits on our own possibility. It’s times like these where true yoga comes into practice… where is your truth when following through with your yammas and niyammas?

  23. I have participated in two of Eoin’s weekend long sessions, and I consider him my yoga teacher and friend. The point of these non-traditional methods, the funny non-sanskrit names, the dancing, hugging, and animal movements is to slowly peel away your inhibitions and self-judgement, and to allow you to practice in a childlike and relaxed way. Maybe each of these elements isn’t for all people, but likely isn’t yoga. We judge each other so much off the mat, we shouldn’t judge how we find peace on the mat.

  24. todaysbacon

    Lighten up. Eoin is the man. Quit worrying about what you look like in yoga classes, and how Eoin spells words. Ok, so one section of a class isn’t for you, and was taken the wrong way.. well, I don’t like it when other quality instructors integrate stinky hippy oils and lots of Oms, but that’s what makes yoga classes great… variety. Get your panties out of a bunch and take one of his classes, I guarantee you’ll see things differently.

    • Mary

      Was light-heartedly reading through these comments, but I have to take exception. “A bunch of OMs ” is a beautiful expression of some very ancient and sacred wisdom, and while humor is great and necessary in the world, if you can only smirk at the sacred, you are unlikely to ever experience it.

      • todaysbacon

        I apologize if I offended you. I totally respect the sacred aspects of yoga. It’s just that I usually practice “yoga” with other athletes and everyday people who only take yoga classes for the stretch benefits associated with the asanas. I totally agree that true yoga allows people to experience so much more, but the physical benefits are still worth attending. Please excuse my belligerency.

  25. Lou Grace

    Yoga should be what works for you, no pretense, no gimmicks just breath, stretch and meditation. It should bring you to a place of truth and you. I would struggle with this form of teaching but some people need this as a way into practicing yoga as a way to grow spiritually, it’s an initial step. Not for me but maybe for some.

  26. I’ve know Eoin for many years, hung out with him and had him share his knowledge in our trainings. Eoin definitely pushes the orthodox boundaries (or what we like to think they are, based on a Judeo-Christian backdrop to our upbringing). I think the point made here (I was not at the class, just inferring) is that Eoin is using a gesture usually done while getting intoxicated with drugs and turning it into an opportunity to become more aware. This is the basis of a lot of the Tantra practices, which were also condemned at the time. I do not think he is advocating the use of drugs, and knowing Eoin personally I’m quite sure his intentions were towards love and awareness.

  27. VQ2

    Boy, are people’s memories short:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwNHcR5eUPg

  28. Lightningirl

    WOW! Judgmental Yogis Unite or what!

    Y’all need to check yourselves because isn’t yoga supposed to be about openness, understanding and non-judgment, amongst other things of course?

    And for y’all claiming “I don’t do drugs”, do you drink ANY alcohol whatsoever? Do you take ANY forms of medication be it prescription or non-prescription (Aspirin?). Hello people, those are all “drugs” and they kill tens of thousands of people every year:

    39,701 deaths due to alcohol, excluding accidents and homicides, source: (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/alcohol.htm)

    In the US “100 people die from drug overdoses every day”, or 36,000 a year, and these drugs are coming from big pharma, source:
    http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/rxbrief/

    Marajuana on the other hand has zero related deaths, source:
    http://drugwarfacts.org/cms/?q=node/30

    I have personally known Eoin for the past 28 years and he is hands down one of the lightest, brightest spirits on this planet. He exudes love and kindness from every molecule in his body and that is just one of the reasons he has such an incredible following on a global level.

    “Before you start pointing fingers, make sure YOUR hands are clean.”
    -Bob Marley

  29. SandraB

    Love it!

    Sounds like my kind of class.

    I haven’t had the pleasure yet to attend one of his classes in person but I have been practicing to his DVD’s for many years now.

    Spread the Love

  30. CaliGoldenBliss

    1. The Love and Peace generated by Eoin and his students is stronger and more impactful on the spiritual/energetic level than the negativity produced by all the naysayers combined; whether you agree with our practice or not, we will still be here loving you and wishing you Happiness, Wellness, and Freedom.

    2. Whether you agree with cannabis use or have ever smoked before, you could still benefit from what’s essentially a playful, modified form of Pranayama…IF you were willing to quiet your mind of pointless, self-destructive judgment…

    3. For the record, cannabis has been used as a medicine in South Asia for 10,000 years. This isn’t some new-agey BC BS, this is a return to the roots of Yoga culture (pun intended).

    4. Let us NEVER forget: Yoga is much more than Asana practice. It is the cultivation of peace, stillness, and non-attachment, both on and off the mat. It’s easy to find fault and point fingers. It’s much more difficult to generate loving kindness in the face of something you don’t understand or agree with.

    Namaste <3

  31. BP

    Just let the yoga be yoga. Simple. It is so amazing as a practice, no need to add any more.
    Reminds me of a certain “blissed out” Anusara type class…and we all know what happened to that practice. Just sayin’.

  32. Tilak

    Eoin is being authentic, which is by far the most difficult yoga. If you’ve spent any time with him at all, you know his heart is in the right place. By being himself fully, those around him relax deeper into themselves, and it is creating THAT space, in my option, that should be every teacher’s purpose and intention.

  33. hmmm. i’d pretend to smoke one of those made-of-candy cigarettes that puff clouds of sugar when you blow in them. a terrible idea to market to kids, but also terribly FUN. ;)

  34. Greetings fellow earthlings,

    Sheena here, the creator of the “intention joint” or what we had originally dubbed “The Love Doob” after I busted it out for my YTT practicum with Eoin Finn in beautiful Ucluelet, BC last fall.

    I was terrified to teach my first ever yoga class, especially to a room full of educated peers and knowing that a teacher I admire and look up to would be taking notes and critiquing me. In the days leading up to that class, I panicked and hit a wall. I was frantically putting together ideas but nothing seemed like “me”. I was worried that if I tried to teach someone else’s class, I would come across as dull, fake or worse – that I’d forget my lines! I didn’t want it to be an act. I wanted it to flow from the heart.

    Then Eoin told us all that in yoga, “a third of the people will like your class, a third won’t like it and the rest won’t care.” He urged us to be ourselves because we can’t conceivably please everyone. We all trained to teach yoga because it brings us great joy in life. Approaching this profession from a place of joyful service is where the real magic happens and in order to do this, we must be authentic.

    Eoin reminded us that “It is better to stand naked than to wear someone else’s clothes.”

    These words set me free and I decided to just do what felt right, to teach what I knew. I’ve always embraced weirdness, questioned the norm and laughed at myself. Absurdity is a gift from the heavens, sent to make our mundane daily realities more fun. I wanted to bring this element to my class and shake it up a bit, to give people what they came for – something outside the box to expand their scope of experience and enliven their beings.

    I wanted to get them high.

    Yoga is a high and anyone who’s tried it can attest to that, but a little creativity never killed the cat. Instead of breathing the same old love and light, the same sparkly colors, the same intentions, the same way, I thought folks might enjoy smoking a big ole’ fattie. Of course I wouldn’t advocate the use of illegal substances, although I personally enjoy a tokey toke with the best of ‘em, much like many of you enjoy a glass of fine wine.

    The “intention joint” has nothing to do with smoking weed and everything to do with breathing and having a laugh so we can get on with it and get out of our own way. It’s also a great way to loosen up and connect with a room full of strangers before wagging your butts in the air, hoping nobody farts. Who cares if it makes sense? By the end, people feel more playful and light both in body and spirit – and they probably have the munchies too!

    You don’t have to break the law, grow dreads or be a stoner hippy to roll up some loving intentions and puff puff pass. All it takes is a sense of humor, some imagination and the ability to breathe.

    Peace, Love & Namaste

    - Sheena

  35. Ali

    Oh WOW this is amazing! ha Man it is so interesting and funny to see how people respond and how people perceive things in different ways.

    I took this picture. I love this picture!

    That class was so amazing because you were truly “in your thing”. Inside of it, letting it move you, letting your self flow. I think that is when I reach that place of real pure happiness when I am so in my flow of whatever it is I am doing. Not interrupted by what I think I should be doing or what I think something should look like, rather doing what “feel” right. Turning of my thought and following those other feelings that guide me, those scenes we too often turn off or don’t listen to close enough.. that is when I get truly high. I always tell my friends stop thinking for a minute and maybe you can feel it.

    Your energy Eion was seeping out into everyone in that class, I have never heard so many people say the most positive inspiring things about your class that day. Making everyone smile, making people feel something real, something ALIVE. AAAAAAAAhhhhhhhh let it OUT people!

    I love all the conversation about this photo. I didn’t even think for a second that I should not post this photo because it really was the highlight of my week… that climax that Eion was taking about. I remember just laughing so hard, laughing, laughing, crying,laughing feeling something so real during this class. All those layers just slipped away, and your left with something really good, something really pure. Well I guess you are left with what you came out with on your first day here on earth!

    I think so many people miss the point of yoga… OPEN your heart open your mind, be open to life happening. If you close that off and you form such strong opinions about things, not allowing your self to see the other side (because there is always another side) you are going to miss this whole adventure and never find that real peak. I have had this idea lately.. “Does everyone want to be truly happy” is that a universe feeling?.. I think so many people just have no idea how to even begin to get there. If someone asked me for help on how to get there, to find those blimps of that climax, I would tell them to go to Eion’s class. For sure.

    It is so nice to come arose those people in this world who can inspire just with their energy.

    Excited to keep reading these comments, it is all very interesting to me. humans

    Eoin Finn = Keepin’ it FRESH

    • This: “I remember just laughing so hard, laughing, laughing, crying,laughing feeling something so real during this class. All those layers just slipped away, and your left with something really good, something really pure. Well I guess you are left with what you came out with on your first day here on earth!” Beautifully put. As I read your words I can feel it in me… That feeling of your heart just bursting open and the joy and aching beauty of being alive, and the tears that pour out that are swollen with gratitude and some kind of grief that feels so similar to joy somehow… Any teacher that can take you to that state is a blessed channel, regardless of how ‘absurd’ his techniques may appear. I love the absurd for just this reason– it gets you out of your little box and connects you with the deepest joy, that childlike playfulness that we all long to express.
      Love love love.

  36. Matt Sims

    I am truly astounded (and disappointed) at the amount of judgment going on here.

    It’s easy to take a comment or action out of context and mock it or tear it apart. Too easy. It’s lofty attitudes like those that told us shaking our hips when we danced was undignified.

    To those not there – you don’t get it. To those never having practiced yoga with Eoin – you don’t get it.

    And that’s ok. I can only hope you have the chance to one day. But that would mean getting over yourself, which for a few here, will likely, and sadly, never happen.

  37. harschisch

    Sounds like you yogas are absolutly not in peace and don t feeling the love, funny… Setting up somekind of a mask with your yoga stuff but if it goes for real youre like anyone else, so furried and inaccepting, judging and bilding up walls between you and others. Kind of a shame, u should know better…

  38. “I am truly astounded (and disappointed) at the amount of judgment going on here.”

    right. and that includes the judgers who are judging the people whose opinions differ from their own…telling them to get the stick out of their ass, lighten up, lecturing them about being open-minded, etc etc etc.

    it’s all as an orchestration of the Divine Mother’s sense of humor…;)

    don’t Bogart that joint….

  39. Alistair Logan

    I always find it curious how judgemental people can be. I too have been guilty of saying “this is yoga. this isn’t”. Now, I realize how off base and widespread this kind of thinking is.

    Someone asked how could this be yoga. Well first touching thumb pad to finger tips will stimulate the nadis. Next, the held inhalation is purucha. The following exhaling deepened is rechacka. This pranayam will relax nerve endings, stimulate healing regeneration, focus the mind and stimulate the heart.

    So before judging…learn more about yoga traditions.

  40. Court

    Before the judgement train tries to railroad us all, let me just take a moment to say we’ve all been high before! At least in the sense Eoin was promoting. You know that moment you look into the eyes of someone you love, or watching kids shrieking through a sprinkler, or see the mass of the mountains looming up in front of you, or waves washing in and out on a beach, or whatever it is that makes you euphoric and blissful, that’s what he tries to tap you into and what he was promoting.

    It’s hard to experience the energy of a class when you aren’t there so it’s easy to misinterpret. And of course there are people whose lives have been destroyed by drugs, but perhaps the message here was the best high isn’t drugs, it’s living your life with positive intentions and from a place of love and compassion (even for those things you can’t understand or relate to).

    Sometimes it’s human nature to believe there is a set recipe for what is right and what is wrong, and sometimes we get trapped in our own ideas and that brings us into a space of judgement and stops us along our path. What is right for you today may not be right tomorrow, and the intention joint may have rocked Wanderlust but not a class room of kids.

    As a teacher it’s all about going outside the comfort zone to encourage growth and holding a space where people feel safe to try something different, something that your students can then decide if it works for them. But what Eoin does is encourage you to let go of preset ideals and embrace the moment, either you jive with it or you don’t. It’s just as important to learn what doesn’t resonate with us and if you’ve already decided that it doesn’t work for you, then Eoin isn’t going to come over, roll it for you and shove it in your face, he offers, you choose. And in that sense, being a yoga teacher is a misnomer, you don’t teach yoga, you hold a space and guide people through possibility, but ultimately your students choose their path, all you can offer up is your own experience and openness.

    So rock on Eoin! Keep tapping into that space of energy and teaching from your heart, because that’s legit, that’s real and your classes have always been totally bad ass for me.

    And for those hating on the intention joint, see if you can set aside your judgement, (not an easy task, nor is it ever mastered) then give it a try. If you don’t like it, you don’t use it, then I encourage you to find a teacher who makes you feel safe, yet challenged, supported yet free to make your own choices and someone who will give you the opportunity to step outside your norm. Because the only way we can grow is by reaching beyond own boundaries.

    “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

  41. FUCK! Where did the idea that yoga was free from ‘judgement?’ How does one learn viveka (discernment) if you do not form judgements?!

    When did “my ignorance is as worthy as your knowledge” become the yoga dicta?

    And though I admit to skimming the above comments, why is no one raising the question about the dissonance between what can only be seen as a celebration of intoxication (that after all is what a pot high is!) and what is generally seen as the central yoga value of mental clarity?

    And once again, there is NOTHING about being high on pot that in any way resembles the zen experience!

    • Court

      In my mind there is a difference between using your judgement and being judgemental. The latter does not involve being open minded and then forming an opinion. And it does take a high degree of mental clarity to properly execute the former. Freeing yourself from a judgemental mind to optimally use your judgement. That’s what I’m striving for.

    • Andrew

      Wow someone with a well thought out response and not a knee-jerk defense of some west coast yoga teacher. Good work!

    • Thank you, Frank Jude!

      I’m so tired of mainstream yoga practitioners accusing people of being judgy any time they raise questions about something a popular teacher does. Yoga does require that we discriminate between intentions and actions that bring about peace and happiness and those that cause harm. Mental clarity is essential for this. Pot smoking, while it can sometimes cause you to think about things a bit differently from your norm—which can be a good thing—generally creates mental fog. As Frank Jude says, there is nothing about smoking pot that in any way resembles the meditative experience. This is not a judgment; it is an understanding based on extensive experience with pot smoking back in the day, and 26 years of meditation practice.

      In response to comments to the effect of marijuana not being addictive, I beg to differ. Even if it isn’t physically addictive, it can definitely be psychologically addictive. I’ve seen several people who are very dear to me make a huge mess of their lives over their dependency on pot.

  42. Anne Marie

    I thought Eoin’s class was amazing! The ” intention joint” was the perfect way to say that we don’t need drugs to be happy, feel elevated and blissful!! 
    I feel the message he was trying to portray was anti-drug and pro-love. <3
    I am grateful that I was able to participate in this class, Eoin shared his knowledge and wisdom with us in ways that helped to expand our minds and practice.. in positive, fun, creative and playful ways! 
    I connected with my inner child and with those around me like I haven't before. He sparked new ways of expressing yourself in life and in practice. Why should we be confined to the "rectangle"?! 
    I will gladly package my intention joint and get "high" on life and love with my practice again :)

  43. Donna

    If I can look as blissed out as all those people smoking their intention joint then I think I’m gonna smoke one every day. No way it can’t be a good thing when everyone in this photo looks soooooooo happy :-) May the bliss be with you Eoin. D x

  44. dan

    Disrespectful? This doesn’t go against any of the yamas or niyamas. Maybe it is clinging to pleasure but that is for the individual to abandon no matter the teaching. The people I have met who smoke pot they do not smoke to get high but to escape. If the teaching is for escape and hedonism it will only increase ignorance. If it is about awareness and self-knowledge it will help remove ignorance and bring contentment.

  45. Tash

    I personally find nothing wrong with the intention joint and the beautiful photo actually made me smile when I initially saw on it facebook.

    I think it’s important to bring this all back into perspective. This looks to be a cute and unique way of expressing and meditating over one’s positive intentions- something that people find enriches their spirituality and yoga practice. So if it’s not harming anyone, then what’s the real problem here?

  46. Eric

    Smoking pot is one thing but I draw the line at smoking stupid like those in the photo are doing.

  47. Shaw

    I was in this class at wanderlust and I must say it was really something special. The “intention joint” was just an in the moment type of thing – not at all to disrespect any of the yoga culture. It was just a very fun way to lighten our spirits for the class. This was only one of the many memorable moments from that class.

  48. GGames

    Lighten up, no one was harmed here people:) I think this idea is just as good as any I’ve seen other yoga instructors come up with in making our positive intentions and thoughts resinate with us, if even just for a moment. If it’s not for you, no need to take part or be concerned about what it’s doing to the “yoga community.” All real yogis know, yoga is your OWN, and no one can take that from you. Rock on Eoin and all other yogis and yoginis everywhere! :)

  49. Thanks for the comments, everyone. I thought this might provide some context. This is the Pursuit of Happy Hips class on the Saturday from MyYogaOnline (http://www.myyogaonline.com/videos/yoga/pursuit-of-happy-hips Note: You can get a free month subscription here to watch it http://www.myyogaonline.com/m/wanderlust ) In the last few minutes of this class it ends with me saying “who needs drugs?” The Intention Joint at the Superflow class was on the next Sunday. We just kind of built on this theme.
    It is true with love, great music, nature, deep yoga you can create the world’s most sustainable and contagious high. Let’s spread it!

  50. Ren O'Connor

    People are taking this way too seriously. What Eoin means is that yoga will give you the bliss you seek and not an actual joint. Hence pretend joint, he’s not making a mockery of yoga or advocating smoking weed. Just being fun, that’s what he’s all about and yes if you ever experience his class, the energy is addictive :)

  51. Pretending to smoke weed in class…bleah! He should pass a real joint around.

  52. Amanda

    Marijuana has long been considered a medicinal and spiritual herb in India. Like marijuana, yoga has been used for medicinal and spiritual purposes for thousands of years. In India, along with smoking it some Yogis and “sadhus” (high-level yoga/marijuana/meditation experts) consume marijuana in a tasty, spicy drink called “bhang”.Check out the book “the crazy wisdom of Ganesh Baba”. Don’t buy into the whole “war against drugs” propaganda that has been feed to our nation for years. There is nothing wrong with smoking marijuana, but of course medicine, food & lifestyle should all be chosen based on what’s most balancing and benificial for the individual. We are all different.

  53. Amanda

    Oh and a life is never ruined by drugs… A life is never ruined… maybe not utilized to its full potential, but maybe they’ll get it their next go around. :) I know very “successful” happy people who do drugs and I know sober people who are not living to their full potential. People who have died because of diabetes and their sugar addiction, who are obese and extremely unhealthy due to their poor choices in diet and lifestyle, people who wither away living a joyless life due to their inability to let go of their hatred and judgment, people who burn themselves out with too little sleep and too much caffeine… My whole point is that it’s not the substances but the people who use them with poor judgment and dispite negative side affects they may experience which can be said about a numerous different substances along with diet and lifestyle choices.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Because They Got High: Yogis Roll and Smoke ‘Intention Joints’ at Yoga Festival - [...] at It’s All Yoga, Baby got the scoop and checked in with Finn to get the DL on the …
  2. A Joint with A Point: Why the “Intention Joint” is Completely Yogic in My Book. | elephant journal - [...] a big thanks to my friend Roseanne from Its All Yoga, Baby, because obviously she saw an image she needed …
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  4. Yogis Smoking The Intention Joint At Wonderlust In Whistler - […] Harvey  first wrote about the conversations and crticsism the photo has sparked in her blog It’s All Yoga Baby …

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