Yoga November 2005

In India it is believed that the Ganges was released to the earth through Lord Shoiva’s tresses, and that hair symbolizes strength in men and beauty in women. For thousands of years,Ayurveda has offered natural approaches to hair care,designed in part to maximize thickness.These appraches also keep the head cool.For example,because internal heat is expelled through the top of the head, Ayurveda warns against applying hot water to the head because it weekens the hair roots and encourages encouraging emotional irritabilitiy and "hot-headed-ness." Higher levels of internal heat correspond to less hair,which is why pitta types tend to have thinner hair thankapha and vata types. ayurvedic beauty rituals for thr hair and scalp use cooling oils and other pitta-balancing herbs,fruits,nuts, and flowers that focus on removing heat,strengthening hair follicles, and promoting thickness.Asana,pranayama, an dabhyanga techniques also focus on releasing heat through the crown.

Basic inbalances in the doshas can lead to problems of the hair and scalp.Vata balances can cause dry ,brittle , or flyaway hair and dandruff.Pitta imbalances cause itchiness in the scalp or pemature greying an dhair loss. Kapha imbalances dull the hair and scalp with excess oil secretions,which sometimesresult in large flakes of oily dandruff.

Ayurvedic hair care is entle.Hair is not washed every day because daily cleansing strips the scalp of natural oils and encourages the sebaceous glands to produce excess oil.Instead of washing the hair often and then using multiple productsto restore shine and softness,hair is washed less frequently and is condditioned with oil prior to shampooing.

Begin your practice of Ayurvedic hair care by brushing your hair thoroughly every day.Wash it only once or twice a week.(This can be hard to get used to at first,but you’ll soon find that washing your hair less often rebalances the flow of natural oils to your scalp,making your hair shiny and well-conditioned.Then try this natural,tridoshic conditioner to keep your hair strong and beautiful.

Coconut and flower hair oil

Oiling is the most important part of Ayurvedic hair care. Not only does it beautify the hair and scalp,it helps to reduce heat from the head, thus promoting sleep and relaxation, improving memory,and increasing your all-around vitality, or ojas. Use this basic oil to condition your hair before shampooing,or,if you prefer,purchase traditional Ayurvedic oils that contain bhringraj,brahami,or amla.

    1/2 cup coconut oil
    2 tablespoon rose water
    1/2 cup mixed fresh flower petals hibiscus,marigold,rose,or jasmine

1.In a small saucepan,bring the oil to a boil. 2.Add the rose water and flowers,return to a boil,and cook for 3 minutes. 3.Remove fro the heat. 4.Let the flowers steep for one dar,then strain the oil through a coffee filter or a double layer of cheesecloth and store in an air tight ocntainer. To oil your hair,gently massage 4 to 5 tablespoons of the oil onto the crown of your head and into your scalp.Comb the oil out to the ends of the hair.Apply a turban made from a towel or plastic wrap so the oil really penetrates. Leave the oil on for at least 20 minutes,or overnight.When you shower again,wash and rinse your hair several times to remove the oil.

From the book:Inner Beauty by Reenita Malhotra Hora