Aside from self-expression and beauty, the hair in many traditions and cultures around the world has been revered as a source of power. Kundalini Yoga honors and encourages specific practices around haircare. Although these are by no means required, you may be interested in experimenting to see how they can enhance your experience of Kundalini Yoga.
Traditionally, Kundalini yogis and teachers cover the crown of the head, as do many cultures across the globe. Head coverings help to contain energy and to focus the meditative intent at the Third Eye (Ajna Chakra) while a person is practicing yoga or doing work that requires concentration or clarity of thought. They literally help “keep your head together.”
The turban especially, with its 5-7 layers of cloth, brings support and stability to the constant cranial movement of the many bones of the skull that occur naturally. It is useful for holding energy in and for creating a meditative focus. In addition, the turban provides a nice cranial adjustment. Some teachers wear a turban or head covering for these yogic reasons alone.
Yogic tradition says that the hair absorbs energy from the sun and introduces it into the body system. Growing the hair and caring for it increases and assists the downward energy flow from the Crown Chakra. Kundalini energy is activated in the navel center and moves upward in response to the solar energy intake. This balancing free flow of energy is a factor in overall health. Keeping the hair long extends that solar power and keeps Kundalini energy moving throughout the body.
There is a reason why body hair grows in areas where major glands are situated. The delicate lymph, located in the neck, armpit and groin areas, is a clear example of the hair’s protective role.
The hair is also vital to the pituitary gland and the entire endocrine system, including the ovaries. Hair, hormones, and the electromagnetic functioning of the body are all interconnected.
Think of a cat’s whiskers, which are vital sensory and communication tools. Leg and underarm hair, even the eyebrows, serve a purpose and are said to be like antennae that can pick up subtle energy signals and brighten the aura’s radiance.
It is suggested that yogis wear a top knot on their head while practicing. The hair draws energy from the sun when coiled into a rishi knot. For men, the knot is traditionally positioned at the anterior fontanel (think of a baby’s soft spot). Women traditionally wear the knot at the posterior fontanel, closer to the crown. You are welcome to experiment with tying your hair in different positions and observe how it affects your energy.
Tying the hair up in a knot draws pranic energy down into the spine. The downward force of the energy signals the rise of Kundalini energy for balance.
In the Kundalini Yoga tradition, it is said that shaving body hair adversely affects the magnetic field and sympathetic nervous system. Removing leg hair is believed to alter the lower spine’s electromagnetic field. However, it is always up to you to do what feels best for your body.
Wearing a beard can help protect the pranic nerve at the center of a man’s chin—the moon center. It is said the reason women don’t normally grow beards is that their nervous systems are naturally in relationship with the lunar energy and do not need this protection.
Exposing your hair to sunshine, at least once a week, supports the intake of phosphorus and vitamin D. These vital elements contribute to bone and organ health, and nourish the body in a number of ways.
Combing the hair with wood has benefits on both a practical and energetic level. The wooden comb gently detangles the hair and prevents breakage at the end of the shaft. It helps to distribute natural oils, as well as stabilize the energetic field. A firm, natural bristle brush can also be used.
Combing also stimulates the scalp and aids circulation. For an energy boost, comb the hair upward. To soothe and calm the system, comb downward.
The ability to grow the hair to its full length is seen as a gift from Nature for energy management. Long hair is considered the Crowning Glory – something to be treasured, respected and cared for.
It is suggested to wash the hair every 72 hours to remove scalp secretions that can irritate the nervous system, especially in women. Before showering, vigorously massage almond oil into the hair and scalp. Wrap it with a thick towel and let sit for an hour, then wash your hair as usual. Massaging the scalp with yogurt is another treatment you can use. Leave it on for a half hour, then rinse.
After washing your hair, let it air dry naturally – in the sun, if possible. Avoid combing the hair when wet – it stretches the shaft and causes breakage.
Although it might seem counterintuitive, regularly oiling the scalp and hair helps keep it healthy for the long run. Almond oil mixed with sandalwood is recommended.