Lockdown hair

Victoria Jackson sheds her long lockdown locks and discovers a few yogic lessons on the way to the salon

Remember the lockdown home haircuts? The men struggling to maintain a fashionable cut and women managing their roots as their favourite colour slowly grew out? While my husband learned how to trim and do a ‘fade’ on himself (very nicely too, I might say!), I took the easy option and just grew mine longer and longer.

But I had to go to the hairdresser in the end. I just got fed up with feeling as though I was wearing a hairy scarf around my neck, the amount of time it took to wash and dry, and how heavy long hair felt. My braid was so thick my husband joked that it was actually supporting my weight as I leaned forward into crow pose!

It wasn’t just lockdown that kept me away from the salon. I’d actually been trying to get my hair long enough to make another donation to a charity which makes wigs for little girls who have lost their hair. It seemed like the least I could do, to offer some of my hair to someone in need.

Before I come across sounding smug and self-righteous, I’ll give full disclosure that the first time I did this, I cried. I felt really selfish but long hair was clearly more part of my identity than I had realised and it was hard to get used to my new look.

Second time around I was ready. So ready, in fact, that I couldn’t resist a bit of yoga teaching (or preaching!) in the hairdresser’s chair. I gave a mini-lecture to my stylist about aparigraha, the concept of ‘nongrasping’, not holding onto things we don’t need. I didn’t really need to keep my hair so long, especially not when someone else could benefit from it. She listened politely before presenting me with an envelope full of little bunches of hair and then styling the rest very nicely.

Since my visit to the hairdresser I’ve been trying to apply this idea of aparigraha to asana practice too. “Take what you need, leave what you don’t,” I advised my students as I taught poses in ‘layers’.

Aparigraha can free us up from grasping towards a final dramatic shape or pushing ourselves too far. Instead, it invites us to pause and be where we need to be, stopping at the ‘layer’ that is enough for us. Letting go like this can be really liberating.

And best of all my crow pose suddenly feels better than ever — I’m flying high without the heavy braid!

Victoria Jackson is a vinyasa yoga teacher living and teaching in Oxford. Visit: or follow her on Instagram @victoriajacksonyoga

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