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I didn't lose my hair, I found my blank canvas.

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Melisa’s story

Posted 27.09.16 | by Rebecca Dawe

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Managing hair loss is different for us all. Melisa, a yoga teacher, from London shares her take on how yoga helps her to cope emotionally:

A Source of Strength…

My hair used to be thick, strong and healthy, whereas (having suffered from androgenetic alopecia for over a decade) it is now as fine as powder, and its roots are weak and fragile.  This makes me feel vulnerable and weak myself; but yoga helps to restore that sense of empowerment by grounding me, and strengthening my muscles.

 

A Source of Comfort…

Without the warm blanket which used to cover my head, I feel exposed.  Yoga helps reintroduce that nurturing sense of warmth by calming my nerves.

 

A Source of Creativity…

I used to have such fun with my hair, styling it in numerous different ways.  I no longer have that freedom of choice, but vinyasa flow yoga feels playful, creative and at times joyful.  It is fun to invent flow sequences to teach to my pupils, as well as practise them myself.

 

A Source of Youthfulness…

I may now have the hair of an elderly lady, but when I practise yoga I feel strong, supple and youthful once more, and I am reminded I am still only in my thirties!  Regular practice should help me retain this feeling of youthfulness, even when I actually reach the “elderly” age bracket!

 

Help Disassociate oneself from any Negative Emotions and Sensations; and to Enjoy the Here and Now…

My hair used to be a source of great pride and enjoyment, and I would love hearing hairdressers’ compliments about how thick and silky it was.  (Over the past few years the only people I have allowed to even touch my hair have been doctors.)  It seems especially cruel, therefore, that I have been burdened with androgenetic alopecia.  However, life is simply not fair; and yoga helps me to accept this fact.

Yoga is excellent for dealing with bereavement and loss, as it helps you enjoy what the present has to offer.  I miss my hair terribly, and I cannot help reminding myself of the way it used to be.  Yoga encourages you to accept the present for what it is; and to not ruminate over the past or to fear the future.  Added to this, yoga can help you observe and accept the way your body and psychological state may change from one day to the next, especially if you’re engaged in exactly the same yoga practice.

As a result of my alopecia, I suffer a fair bit of physical discomfort.  For example, whenever I happen to scratch my head nowadays, my finger-nails make direct contact with my scalp because of the absence of protective hair; and this sensation is so unpleasant it sends shivers down my spine.  Yoga, however, encourages you to observe any unpleasant physical sensations without attaching negative emotions to them.  It is not easy to achieve this, but at any rate this is one of the goals of yoga!

Essentially when I practise yoga, I feel more at peace with myself, and at one with the world around me – including the past, present and future.

Get in touch with Melisa Thomas here. 

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