Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa, DN-C, RH
Notice that many famous yogis seem to do special things with their hair? Grown long, shaved off, tied in a knot everyone seems to do something exceptional. That's no accident, because hair has a lot of energy. Just look at how much attention goes to caring for hair in modern life. It's likely the first place our eyes are drawn when we meet someone. Hair care products outnumber coffee flavors at Starbucks.
The hair reflects the internal condition of the body. Healthy hair comes from a healthy body. In yogic thought, the hair is the extension of the shushumna, the etheric spine. It acts as an energy antenna and prana regulator to consolidate the energy coming through the chakras.
It connects us energetically to the environment. Renunciate yogis shave it off to disconnect from the day-to-day world. Householder yogis grow it long, to capture energy, and keep them grounded and engaged in the life of the world.
Yogis who grow long hair often cover it with a turban to keep it clean and organized. Left to grow long, and covered by a porous cloth, hair will accumulate some natural scalp oil.
This oil, exposed to the filtered sunlight, is a major source of vitamin D for the body. A hair covering will also help disciplined yogis stay modest and make it easier to remember to remain graceful in social situations.
Hair is a tissue, so the body never stops producing it to replace lost strands. When it reaches the proper genetic length for you body, it will get no longer, but only replace individual hairs. Think about the hair on your arms isn't three feet long, now, is it?
Allowing the hair to reach its natural length will save energy for the body, which does not then have to keep creating hair, which is made from minerals and protein that could be conserved for other purposes.
Gathering that long hair at crown of the head keeps it contained and the energy concentrated, aligned with the chakras. Yogis and yoginis tie it in a " rishi knot", or " joora", that sits atop the anterior fontanel for men, or the posterior fontanel for women.
Feeling dull and worn-out? To refresh yourself, take your hair down and comb it out. Then quickly tie it back up in the head cover. Ahh- a new look on life!
If you use remedies to help your hair stay healthy, remember that the changes will happen in the base of the hair shaft, and that hair grows slowly. You may not see the results of your efforts for months! In the world of hairy things, patience pays. Yoga says that hair is damaged by heat.
Falling or prematurely graying hair is a sign of too much heat, or excess metabolic rate, in the head. To keep your hair healthy, avoid anything that promotes heat, inflammation, or extreme intensity and stress. Engage in cooling activities, such as moonlight walks by the lake, and eat cooling foods like cucumber, celery, spearmint and melon.
Ayurveda offers several herbs that help keep hair healthy. Bringraj (Eclipta alba) is a master tonic for the hair. Bringraj is an herb that cools the metabolism, so it offsets the heat problem. Use 2-3 grams per day in capsules.
Chinese medicine has a related remedy, Han Lian Cao (Eclipta prostrata), that also cools the body and treats premature graying of the hair. Use up to 5 grams per day as capsules or tea.
Amla fruit (Emblica officinalis) is a famous Ayurvedic herb, and one of the most useful medicines in the Indian pharmacopoeia. It is considered to be one of the strongest rejuvenatives. It is an exceptionally rich source of vitamin C. Amla is the frontline anti-inflammatory herb, and is used for a wide variety of inflammatory conditions. It is considered to be the prime general herb to treat premature gray hair. Amla is the basis for the famous Ayurvedic rejuvenative jam, " chyavanprash." As a long term, slow acting remedy for chronic inflammation, use 1-2 grams per day in capsules.
Known for centuries in Asia, brahmi (Centella asiatica) stimulates the growth of hair and nails, increases blood supply to the skin and increases protein growth (keratinization) in the skin and hair. Brew brahmi as a tea and drink 2-3 cups per day.
He shou wu root (Polygonum multiflorum), a Chinese tonic, is considered a superior medicine according to traditional Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine uses the root to treat premature aging, weakness, premature hair loss and graying and impotence. Brew a tea and take 2-3 cups per day.
Saw palmetto berry helps male pattern baldness. The biological process that contributes to saw palmetto's effect in prostate health is a key factor in male pattern baldness. The drug Propecia works through the same mechanism, so this is not surprising.
Many nutrients benefit hair health. Silica keeps the hair strong. It's common in food plants, or you can take it as a supplement. Use 3-4 grams of silicon dioxide daily. An assortment of minerals make up the hair tissue.
Usually a daily multimineral tablet will strengthen the hair. Mineral rich herbs include nettles, oat straw and horsetail. Use any or all of these as tea in as much quantity as you like- they are all like food. And protein is critical for strong, beautiful hair. Make sure you are getting enough.
Oiling the hair daily is a basic yoga lifestyle practice. Air tattva (vayu) is the nervous system, and, of course, resides in the brain, so vayu tends to collect in the head. Air is the main element that causes disturbed sleep. Controlling vayu will reduce that overactive mind that plagues us when we most want to slumber. At bedtime, apply a little oil to your scalp. Ayurveda suggests a drop of castor oil for this, but it's a little messy. Almond works well. The anterior fontanel is the best spot.
Oil is the main general remedy for controlling the air tattva. To keep your mind on track through the day, use cooling oils for daily scalp care, including coconut and ghee. Sesame and almond are also good general choices for keeping the scalp soft and moist.
Hair oils are usually made form cooling herbs. Use prepared Ayurvedic hair oil made from amla fruit, brahmi leaf or bringraj. Buttermilk head massage is a traditional treatment used to treat dry hair, dandruff and hair loss. We all want our days to be filled with energy and happiness.
Adding a little awareness to the daily routines, including hair care, can pay big dividends over a lifetime, and help bring us to a place of health and holiness.
Thus Jun 15, 2006 8:29 am Message Yahoo Group No. 225 of 4571
We call the time we spend on our maintenance, Sadhana. It is an essential part of life. If you do your Sadhana, your mind can take the pressure. It will guide you and groom you properly. ~ Yogi Bhajan
Men - Women Turban Tying