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Can Yoga Prevent Hair Loss?

author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.
Can Yoga Prevent Hair Loss?
Yoga can reduce the stress that leads to hair loss. Photo Credit Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Hair loss happens for a number of natural reasons, including genetics, nutritional deficiencies and hormonal changes. You may also find you're shedding due to stress or the wrong hairstyle. Yoga can't change your hormones or your hairstyle, and it can't reverse balding or directly alter the way you eat. However, yoga can help calm your nerves and increase blood flow to your scalp.

There's no guarantee yoga will work, but if you've ruled out medical reasons for hair loss, it's worth a try.

Stress-Related Hair Loss

You normally lose between 50 and 100 hairs per day. If you've got fistfuls coming out, though, or seemingly far more than 100 strands per day, it's cause for concern. Iron deficiency is often to blame in women who are losing their hair for seemingly inexplicable reasons.

Also, if you've recently experienced a serious trauma — such as a major accident, serious surgery or extreme illness — you are vulnerable to hair loss. It's normal to feel like you're losing a lot of hair in the post-natal period, too. You actually lose less hair than usual when you're pregnant; after the baby is born and your hormones reset, you lose that hair.

Large clumps of hair on your brush is a cause for concern.
Large clumps of hair on your brush is a cause for concern. Photo Credit AndreyPopov/iStock/Getty Images

Read More: The 12 Best Foods for Healthy Hair

Severe stress can be another reason for your thinning scalp. A death in the family, financial hardship or other extraordinary life events expedite your hair cycle. Instead of spending 2 to 6 years in the anagen (growing) and catagen (resting) phases, your hair jumps right to the telogen, or shedding, phase. This shift isn't immediate; it usually occurs between six and 12 weeks after the stressful event affects you. Chronic stress can make hair loss a lingering problem.

Yoga and Stress

Yoga and meditation can help you learn how to better deal with stress, so you and your scalp aren't as negatively affected. A study published in Health Psychology Review in 2015 indicated that a regular yoga practice teaches you self-compassion and physically reduces your cortisol production, so you feel calmer and more in control. Just one 90-minute session weekly for 10 weeks demonstrated stress-reducing effects on 44 university faculty, staff and graduate students in a study published in the International Journal of Yoga Therapy in 2015.

Inversions are said to improve circulation to the scalp.
Inversions are said to improve circulation to the scalp. Photo Credit Viktor_Gladkov/iStock/Getty Images

Poses to Practice

Certain yoga poses increase circulation to your head and thus to your hair follicles. No scientific studies prove that this helps retain the hair on your head, or makes it grow, but it certainly can't hurt to try. Poses that are particularly helpful include those that turn you upside down, such as Downward-Facing Dog and Headstand. Simply standing in a Forward Fold, with your feet together or wide apart, also directs blood flow to the head.

Read More: Hair Loss and a Vegan Diet

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