Yoga Hair

I’m back in Seattle, where it rains like it means it. I was actually impressed this morning at the volume of rain falling from above. First, there was the volume in terms of the sheer quantity of water hitting the roof. But I was even more impressed by the volume in terms of the deafening sound of it. So impressed, actually, that I couldn’t get back to sleep. Rain 1: Bay 0.

It’s not so much that I hate the rain, it’s that I can’t stand when it rains All. The. Time. Of course, it sort of does rain All. The. Time. I have cute rain wear and I like wearing rain boots, but all my favourite shoes are little leather ballet flats and have leather soles (yes, I know they are impractical for someone living in a temperate rainforest. Whatever.). So really, Rain; you’re messing with my footwear options. Enough. Enough now.

Okay, so that’s been dealt with. I’m in my favourite Starbucks. You know, the one with Beardy McBeardyson? He’s here and this time he’s sharing his table with some guy in a track suit (he must be so athletic). Turns out he’s quite chatty this morning (Chatty Keith is missing): I’ve overheard him discussing his credit (he’s hoping to get some soon) and his ability to produce attractive offspring. According to Beard Man, he makes beautiful babies. Well, all except his youngest daughter (his words, not mine—I’ve never seen her, after all), who (unfortunately, I take it) looks just like him. Nice one, Dad. Sheesh!

There’s also a dude in front of me who doesn’t wear underwear. This is not an educated guess, either. It’s based on empirical evidence; namely, that he’s not wearing a belt and while he sits on a stool by the window (as he is currently doing), I can see a rather impressive expanse of cheek and crack, with nary an underthing in sight. I feel like there’s no way he’s not aware of his predicament, either. There’s distinct draft that sneaks in each time the door opens, and this is a Starbucks, after all. In downtown Seattle. The door is opening a lot.

UPDATE: He just stood up and turned around and I’m pleased to note that he has those incredulous eyebrows, which I’d like to attribute to his discovery of his cheekiness (hahahaha), but in fact I think may be in response to the conversation he’s having with the dreadlocked pontificator who’s sharing the secrets of Nimh with him. Or so I assume. I mean, what else could they possibly be discussing, right? Yes, I am.

That’s my morning report. You’re welcome. On to our feature presentation: Yoga Hair.

As you know, I love yoga. Lurve it. I practice and teach Ashtanga. I also teach powerflow and yin/restorative classes, but that’s neither here nor there, nor the point of this post. And yet I keep in here, as though I’m not the boss of my keyboard and the backspace button. Fascinating.

Yoga is good for you. See? It's on a cake!

Yoga is good for you. See? It’s on a cake!


I took my first yoga class when I was 15, I believe, as a part of a summer ballet intensive. I took a hot yoga class when I was maybe 20 or 21 for an article I was writing for school (incidentally, I named the article “Some Like it Hot,” which my prof thought was a clever connection. At that time, I didn’t know where I’d heard that line and had no idea it was the title of a famous movie with an even-more-famous star. But I smiled and took the credit anyway.).

Anyway, that hot yoga class inspired me to find another yoga studio, and the rest, as they say, is history. I’ve been practicing Ashtanga yoga for probably about nine years or so, after dabbling about in various forms of Hatha flow. Ashtanga is good yoga for Type A people/dancers. It’s hard, it’s got a demanding schedule (1–1.5 hours, 6 days per week) and it’s super traditional. Why does it take so long to do each day? Here’s why: All these asanas, or postures, on both sides, with a vinyasa (like a mini sun salute) in between each side and each asana. I’m excited just writing that!

So, while yoga is extremely beneficial to body, mind, spirit and soul, I must admit that it’s hard on the hair. And here is why: Several postures have a damaging impact upon my follicles. Setu Bandhasana gives me dandruff, just at my front hairline. I think it’s from the pressure of gravity, and even worse, my entire body weight, mostly resting on my forehead. It’s hard to say, but my scalp just gives up.

Then there’s Supta Kurmasana, which is difficult for my body at the best of times (my scoliosis tips my pelvis to the right and makes hip openers hard). When I’m skootching (official word of yoga: Skootchasana) my feet in from Kurmasana, my feet often catch my wayward hair and then when I try to lift up, I yank out handfuls of hair (okay, maybe 10 hairs, but still. STILL.). I can hear it. It’s not a good sound, the sound of hair protesting being yanked out from the root. And then my practice is spent mourning the loss of all that hair that wasn’t ready to go yet. Because that’s where my mind should be going in a yoga practice. To vanity.

Well, that’s kind of it really. Just two postures. So much hair drama for so few asanas. I still do it, though, so clearly yoga is worth it. In case my hair drama was turning you off of trying out some classes, just remember that my hair is particularly wayward at the best of times, so of course it would misbehave in yoga. It feels all free and relaxed and does whatever it wants. But yoga: Do it. Just make sure your hair is well pulled back first.


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