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Hair loss, hair thinning, or hair fall is a universal and highly frustrating problem. Most people have suffered from hair loss at some point in their lives. There are also those who struggle with slow hair growth combined with hair loss, which can give rise to premature balding.
Several factors are known to contribute to hair loss, including underlying diseases, hormonal imbalance, certain medications, chemical treatments, malnutrition, aging, and genetics.
Different treatments are specifically designed to address these causes, including topical therapy, oral supplements, nonsurgical modalities, and surgical restoration of hair.
One surprising contemporary addition to these treatments that can help control hair fall is yoga. Read on to find out how it works.
What Does Science Say?
Yoga enthusiasts believe that yoga can help curb hair loss or speed up the rate of hair growth. However, no clinical trials have been conducted to support this fact. Modern medicine does not subscribe to the notion that yoga can help treat hair loss, but some indirect links have been found between practicing yoga and reduced hair loss.
Stress is known to obstruct hair growth and trigger hair fall by modulating the cytokine balance (1) and immune system in a way that negatively affects the hair growth cycle. Cytokines are molecules that cause inflammation in the body and can thereby hamper the function of hair follicles.
Additionally, some yoga poses promote blood circulation to the head, but only temporarily, and also improve gut function. (6) All these factors can indirectly make your hair strong and healthy and grow faster.
So, even though yoga cannot single-handedly cure hair loss or accelerate hair growth, it can be used as an adjunct to your main treatment. Plus, the fact that it is completely safe and good for your overall health makes it definitely worth a try.
However, it’s important to reiterate that there isn’t enough scientific evidence that yoga will actually make any difference to the rate of hair loss or speed of hair growth.
Yoga Asanas for Improved Hair Growth
The following are some yoga asanas that you can try to manage problems related to hair growth: (7)
1. Sirsasana (headstand)
- Kneel down and rest your forearms on the ground, keeping your elbows shoulder-width apart and interlocking your fingers.
- Place the top of your head on the ground, cupping it with your clasped hands for support.
- Take a breath and gradually lift your knees off the ground.
- Come on your toes with your heels in the air, and move your feet closer to your elbows. Your body should look like an inverted V.
- Tighten your shoulder blades and push them toward your tailbone to stretch out the front of your torso.
- With an exhale, gently kick both your feet in the air with or without bending your knees.
- Slowly try to balance your body and make your legs perpendicular to the ground, keeping them close together.
- Once your body stabilizes, stay in this pose for a few seconds.
- To come out of the pose, release your breath and bring both your feet down to the ground simultaneously.
2. Uttasana (standing forward bend)
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart at the top of the yoga mat. Place more weight in the balls of your feet
- Bring your hands and arms above your head with the palms facing each other.
- Lengthen up, and slowly fold forward bringing your arms to your sides.
- Keep your head lifted and shoulder blades back and down while you touch your fingertips to the floor (if possible).
- Hold this position for up to 2 minutes while deep breathing.
- Exhale and then slowly rise on an inhale.
3. Adho mukha svanasana (downward-facing dog)
- Start by crouching on all fours to assume a tabletop position.
- Breathe out and slowly elevate your hips while straightening your elbows and knees so that your body looks like an inverted V. Your hands should fall right below your shoulders, your feet should be below your hips, your ears should touch the inner side of your arms, and your toes should point outward.
- Push your palms into the ground and stretch out your neck.
- Turn your gaze to your navel.
- Maintain this pose for a few seconds.
- Release the pose by bending your knees, and return to the starting position.
4. Pavanmukthasana (wind-reliving pose)
- Lie flat on your back.
- With a deep inhale, bring your right knee to your chest and clasp it in your hands.
- Push your forehead toward the right knee while releasing your breath.
- Hold this pose for a few seconds, breathing in and out gently.
- Draw in a breath and slowly drop your head back to the floor.
- Breathe out and place your right leg back on the floor.
- Repeat this exercise with the other leg and then with both legs.
5. Vajrasana (diamond pose)
- Start in a kneeling position, placing your buttocks on your heels while keeping your feet joined together and your toes pointing out behind you.
- Make sure your head, neck, and spine fall in a straight line.
- Put your hands on your thighs with your palms facing upward.
- Stay in this pose for a few seconds, taking deep breaths.
- Exhale and relax.
- Unfold your legs and stretch them out straight in front of you.
6. Ustrasana (camel pose)
- Kneel, keeping your thighs vertical and attached to each other. However, you can spread them apart a bit if it makes you feel more comfortable.
- Gradually reach for your heels while slowly pushing your torso as far back as possible without straining. In doing so, push your pelvis forward but keep your thighs erect.
- Drop your head back and relax into the pose, unclenching your muscles. Make sure that your body weight falls equally on all your limbs and your arms anchor your shoulders to maintain the curve of your back.
- Hold this pose for as long as you comfortably can.
- To come out of the pose, let go of your heels one by one and slowly return your upper body to the starting position.
- Relax and take deep breaths.
7. Prasarita padottanasana (wide-legged standing forward bend)
- Spread your legs hip-width apart with your toes pointing forward.
- Bend forward from your hip joints.
- Place your palms on the ground and, if you can comfortably manage it, your head as well.
- Stay in this position for a few seconds, breathing deeply.
- With an inhale, slowly bring your torso back up without bending your spine.
- Once you are standing straight, place your hands on your hips and relax.
- Repeat several times.
8. Sasangasana (rabbit bend)
- Kneel with your hips on your heels, the tops of your feet placed flat on the ground, and the big toes touching each other.
- Hold your heels with respective hands.
- Bring your forehead down to touch the knees while resting the crown of your head on the ground.
- Tightly grasp your heels, draw in a deep breath, and gradually raise your hips toward the ceiling. Roll onto the top of your head and push your forehead as close to the knees as possible.
- Stay in this position for 4–8 deep breaths.
- Slowly release your breath while lowering your hips to the heels and bringing your forehead back to the floor.
Other Yoga Poses You Can Try
The following poses may also be beneficial for hair growth:
- Balasana (child’s pose)
- Matsyasana (fish pose)
- Balayam yoga mudra
- Sarvangasana (shoulder stand)
- Kapalbhati pranayama
- Bhastrika pranayama
- Bhujangasana (cobra pose)
- Bitilasana (cow pose)
Yoga is a great stress buster, which makes it great for your skin and general health. And there is reason to believe that it may also help in combatting hair loss and speeding up hair growth. Although the hair-related benefits of yoga still need to be substantiated by proper research, they are still worth exploring.
Plus, the fact that yoga is totally safe, easy, and costs nothing should further encourage you to give it a try. The idea is to use it along with your doctor-recommended hair treatment. Also, don’t forget to back it up with a proper hair regimen, a nutritious, well-balanced diet, and an overall healthy lifestyle.