HAIR YOGA: Yes, It’s a Thing

Love+Medicine Hair Yoga

We all want to have better hair. Our hair reflects our health, genetics, age, hormone levels and priorities. I, unfortunately inherited my mom’s fine, wispy hair. I bring my stylist a picture of a killer hairstyle from a magazine – only to be told I need product. Lots of product. I have tossed hundreds of bottles of ‘product’ that I swore I would use after seeing how great my hair looked at the shop. In truth hair has never been a priority for me. I’ve heard it’s a Koplin trait but I hardly ever brush my hair. Or blow dry, or really do anything.

Some things get better with age, hair is not one of them.

Love+Medicine_HairFollicle

The hair follicle relies on oxygen in the bloodstream to grow hair. As I have emphasized in other Love+Medicine articles, adequate blood flow is vital in maintaining a healthy body. The goal is to increase blood flow to all of our body parts. As hair thins out, there is less blood flow, a reason to start this now and not to wait until there is hair loss!

In the late 60’s Richard Hittleman brought yoga to the masses through his wildly popular television show Yoga for Health. His approach to yoga is straight forward, easy to understand and non-pretentious. Each movement described in his books has a black and white photograph illustrating the posture. The model is in a simple leotard, her long hair pulled loosely back – the spitting image of Lulu from “To Sir, with Love

Hair Yoga is described as Scalp Exercise and no one describes the technique better than Hittleman himself:

Scalp Exercise
For the healthy appearance of your hair.

Sit in a cross-legged posture {can also be done standing upright}

Grasp hair firmly at the roots

Make the scalp move as much as possible, first forward, then backward by pulling vigorously

Perform rhythmically and not too quickly 25 times without pause. Relax.

At conclusion of movements scalp should tingle and feel “alive”

Love+Medicine Hair Yoga
Richard Hittleman’s 28 Day Exercise Plan, 1969, page 60

It is the one massage that you can actually do to yourself, and it feels good. You are the only one who knows the tension needed to stimulate without pulling. The muscles in the scalp also benefit from the attention.

Taking care of your scalp can help the mind. Don’t we all crave that scalp massage when our hair is shampooed? It decreases stress and tension that we hold in the crown. You may find yourself standing straighter and taller if you do this regularly. Even if you do not have hair, or very little of it, the deeper benefits of this scalp massage are there for you. There is anecdotal evidence that if we improve the circulation to the hair follicle, it will live longer.

As a student of yoga since the 70s it is mind-boggling to me that hair yoga is not regularly taught in yoga classes today.

I encourage you to try it daily. It takes literally seconds. It is said to eliminate the Bad Hair Day. Skip the product!

Let me know how it feels…

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2 comments

    1. Julie- People I know that do it swear by it. Makes a lot of sense anatomically and feels yummy! There’s something very meditative about it.

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