Yoga's Health Benefits For Your Hair
Guest Blog By Valka Yoga
Longing for long, flowing locks? Yoga might just be the final piece of the puzzle you’re looking for. Sure, a good hair care routine and balanced diet play major roles in the health of our hair, but did you know that practicing yoga can also boost your hair health? Not only this but it is also said to aid in reducing hair loss and thinning, as well as helping with premature graying and encouraging regrowth.
It’s no secret that a regular yoga practice does wonders for both the mind and body. However, you may be wondering how on earth something like yoga could possibly boost the appearance of your beloved hair. Well, there are actually numerous things that factor into this.
Firstly, yoga improves circulation and blood flow throughout the entire body. Fresh, flowing blood is exactly what your hair needs to become long and healthy.
Practicing yoga also cleanses the organs and helps to purify the entire body from the inside out. A healthy body equals healthy hair!
Incorporating a regular yoga practice into your routine can aid in hair health by reducing cortisol and stress levels within the body. Yoga is a known stress and anxiety reliever, activating the parasympathetic nervous system; its calming effects allow the body to function optimally. When the body is stressed, the immune system is lowered which has the potential to cause hair loss and none of us want that!
With that being said, although all yoga is great for the hair, some poses will go that extra mile in stimulating the scalp, encouraging the hair to thicken and grow.
Sirsasana or better known in English as headstand stimulates the crown region of the head. This sends a rush of oxygen to the cells, giving your luscious locks a whole new lease of life.
- A great way to enter head stand is by beginning in dolphin pose.
- Elbows should be about a forearms width apart.
- Lower your head gently to the ground and clasp your hands around the back of your head.
- Press all of your weight into your forearms and lift from the shoulders. It’s important not to put all of your weight on your head. (Imagine your goal is to be able to slide a piece of paper between your head and the ground).
- Next, walk your feet in closer towards you until your hips are as close to over your shoulders as possible. This may be your full expression of headstand.
- To go further, engage the core as you lift one leg up towards the sky, allowing the other leg to follow.
- Breath deeply for 5-10 breaths wherever you are able to find stillness.
Rabbit pose also known as sasangasana is another great scalp stimulating inversion. The legs remain firmly on the ground in this pose making it much more accessible than a headstand yet still giving the same great effects. Rabbit pose has many benefits including relieving stress, strengthening the immune system, increasing blood flow and improving circulation.
- Begin by coming to a comfortable child’s pose.
- Reach back to grasp hold of your heels as you begin to draw your forehead towards your knees.
- While keeping hold of your heels, start to raise your hips towards the sky, forming an arch with the torso.
- Be sure to maintain a soft contact with the crown of your head on the floor, still drawing forehead to knees.
- Remain still in rabbit pose for 5-10 breaths or for as long as feels comfortable.
Prasarita Padottanasana, meaning wide leg forward fold is another amazing pose for the hair as it causes the blood to rush to the head whilst also being a more relaxing and restorative posture. It helps soothe the nervous system, allowing the mind to quieten and body to soften. Not only is it great for the hair but it’s also a great way to lengthen the hamstrings.
- To perform a wide leg forward fold, start by stepping your feet wide apart, keeping the edges of your feet parallel.
- Place your hands on your hips and take a deep inhalation, creating length in the spine, reaching the crown of your head up towards the ceiling.
- On an exhale, begin to hinge forward from your hips whilst maintaining the length created in your spine.
- Once you find your depth, bring the hands to rest on the floor or on yoga blocks.
- Shift your weight slightly into the balls of your feet, keeping your hips aligned above your ankles.
- Allow your gaze to soften.
- Rest in your fold for around one minute, lengthening on each inhale and folding slightly deeper on every exhale.
Camel pose or Ustrasana in Sanskrit is a backbending pose which opens up the throat and respiratory tract beautifully. This allows for deeper breathing, meaning the body is better oxygenated and therefore, able to work and function more efficiently.
- To explore camel pose, begin on your knees with hips placed directly over the knees, legs should be parallel to one another
- Place your hands on your lower back.
- Take an inhale as you tuck your tailbone under while also drawing your shoulder blades back and together, pushing your sternum up and out allowing your rib cage to expand.
- Draw your elbows together behind you as you focus on deepening your breath and creating as much length as possible through your spine.
- If this is comfortable, your hands may lower towards your feet.
- Upon finding your fullest expression of ustrasana, hold for around one minute.
Matsyasana or Fish pose as it is more commonly known is a hormone balancing pose. It boasts many of the same benefits as camel pose, with the added bonus of lengthening the abdomen, which helps to improve digestion, meaning the body functions closer to its optimal level.
- Begin by lying flat on your back.
- Come up onto your elbows, pressing forearms flat into the ground with upper arms perpendicular to the floor.
- Keep your forearms firmly in place as you puff up your chest, rolling your shoulder blades back and together (it should feel like you’re creating a backbend).
- Next, tilt your head back and begin to slowly lower the crown of your head onto the mat.
- Keep puffing out your chest with shoulder blades squeezing tightly together.
- Engage through your legs and feet. This is an active pose.
- As you do so, keep rooting through your forearms to ensure there is no strain or pressure on the head and neck.
Kapalabhati breathing is a breathwork technique which translates to skull illuminating. What a great visualisation for beautiful hair! Also known as breath of fire, It purifies, rejuvenates and invigorates the mind and body whilst improving digestion and increasing blood circulation. It is done by performing passive inhalations followed by forceful exhalations. Kampalahati breathing is one of the classic purification practices in yoga and boasts amazing stress reducing effects on the body, leaving you feeling incredibly refreshed and energised. Give it a go!
- To start, find a comfortable seated position.
- Take a few moments to bring awareness to your natural breath cycle and begin to slow it down so the inhales and exhales are roughly the same length.
- Breathing through your nose, take a deep inhale and exhale completely.
- Inhale again, this time only half way.
- Exhale forcefully whilst actively drawing your abdomen in.
- Inhale naturally.
- Continue for around 30-40 consecutive breaths, gradually increasing this with time and practice.
- To finish a round of kapalabhati breathing, exhale fully. At the end of the exhale, retain your breath for as long as is comfortable.
- Inhale deeply and retain your breath again.
- Exhale and return to normal breathing.
- Repeat for as many rounds as you desire.
- Kapalabhati breathing can be a fairly rigorous practice so it is advised to begin slowly as you get used to it, gradually increasing pace and duration with practice.
Another great pose for the hair is taking a simple child’s pose. Child’s pose or Balasana in Sanskrit is one of yoga's most important postures. Known as a resting pose, it allows both the mind and body to soften and relax. Taking deep cleansing belly breaths in this pose calms the nervous system, creating a relaxing environment within the body. This calm state encourages not only the hair to become thick and luscious but also helps maintain a healthy body and mind in all ways.
- To find a child’s pose, come onto your hands and knees.
- Have the tops of your feet on the floor with big toes touching.
- Separate your knees and begin to walk your hands out in front of you, lowering your belly towards the mat as you do so.
- Once you reach your depth. gently place your forehead on the mat. If this isn’t possible for your body, rest your forehead on a block instead.
- Keep your hips lowered towards your heels and allow your breathing to soften as you sink deeper into the pose.
- Arms can either remain stretched out in front of you or you can reach back for the heels. There are many different ways to position the arms in child’s pose but these are the most commonly practiced.
- Bring awareness to each part of the body, relaxing each area further as you do so.
- Hold child’s pose for any amount of time that feels beneficial to you.
So, with that being said, what are you waiting for? Roll out your mats and get practising!
This article was written by yoga enthusiast Amy on behalf of Valka Yoga. Amy has always had a passion for all things health related. As a practising Yoga instructor and Reiki energy healer, Amy is fascinated with learning, researching and writing about how to live a healthy, happy, natural lifestyle. Valka Yoga sell beautiful, ethically sourced yoga mats as well as lots of helpful yoga accessories. Check them out today!