Hey Alopecians! I'm currently off having a baby (yay!). So, apologies for not replying to your comments. I'll be back in a month or so.

All About my Yoga for Hair Loss Course

meditation-for-hair-loss

Intro: How yoga helps my hair loss

Although I’ve been a yoga teacher for two years, the practice has been a big part of my life since I shaved my head in 2013. Because it was through yoga that I learned to find acceptance in my new look, starting the very next week! Read more about that journey in my post on Medium but in short, the solo backpacking trip I went on, the day after The Big Shave, changed the way I think of myself.

And I have yoga to thank for it. Because once I started to feel more grounded and calm, my anxiety pretty much dissipated and I was able slow down and breathe through even the most challenging situations. And as I became stronger and more energized, in my body
and mind, I found the confidence to publicly share my alopecia and later, to set up this very website: Lady Alopecia. 

Ever since, I’ve realized that my passion isn’t just sharing info about alopecia and how to treat it – but to offer mindfulness techniques that’ll help people handle hair loss.

Emma's 'not a doctor' disclaimer

Hi there, I’m an alopecian, I’m not a doctor! Any advice I give is based on my own research and personal experiences. This site is however reader-supported. When you buy through external links, I may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more here.

Lady-Alopecia-Meditating

Why I created Yoga for Alopecia

Last year, I received more emails and comments to Lady Alopecia than ever before. Many of the messages were from people who’d never experienced hair loss before – not surprising, considering the research that’s coming out about COVID-19 and hair loss.

The messages I got throughout 2020 shared common themes. People were feeling overly stressed due to family or financial worries. Or they’d experienced a traumatic event a few months before. Or they’d been eating unhealthily during lockdown and were feeling ‘in a rut’. Most of them were panicked, frustrated, and scared. 

They asked me for treatments I’d recommend – although many of them were already on topical steroid creams or steroid injections. I shared my opinion: that these treatments might offer a ‘quick fix’ but they can have harmful side effects and anyway, they’re not a long-term solution. 

What these people needed was to focus on ways to reduce ongoing chronic stress and inflammation in the body – that’s the only way around hair loss. Especially to stop it coming back.

So how could they reduce stress and inflammation? Well, often through the foods they’re eating, or not eating enough of. But most often by bringing some mindfulness into their lives: through yoga, simple breathing techniques, and meditation.

That’s when I realized...what worked for me could work for others!

It was a lightbulb moment. People ask me all the time how I can be confident in my alopecia when they feel so angry, scared and upset. I tell them, it took a long time but it was yoga and meditation that got me to that place of acceptance. Even of gratitude – I now enjoy what makes me different!

So in the second half of 2020, I began to design a 4-week course with the key things I’ve learned along my journey as an alopecian, and more recently as a yoga and meditation teacher. 

In the rest of this post, I’ll explain exactly what we did on that course, which ran from November – December 2020. How it helped the participants and the teacher!! And what you can expect from future courses, if you’d like to join me. 🙂

Yoga for Hair Loss: 2020 Course Recap

After an intro chat via Zoom, where I got to meet the two ladies doing the course – one in Ireland and another in the US – I was excited to begin. The welcome chat in itself was so therapeutic; we shared our experiences with alopecia, the frustration it has brought us and the challenges we’ve faced.

Both ladies were new to alopecia – having gotten it for the first time that year – and were new to yoga, too. They’d heard yoga might be good for helping them deal with stress and anxiety…and it seemed my course had perfect timing!

Before we officially began Week 1, I shared a link to “The Happy Hub” – their exclusive platform for all course content, including guided meditations, pranayama exercises and bonus yoga sequences. Their ‘Mindfulness Toolkit’ would include a new ‘habit releaser’ and ‘writing prompt’ each week, too.

Once they had access to the hub, I unlocked Week 1’s content on Sunday, so they could begin with the content first thing on Monday.

Week 1: Overview & Learnings

morning flow

Under the theme of “Come Home to Yourself”, I included a body scan meditation to help both women connect again with their bodies. A big part of having alopecia means we’re often disconnected from our bodies, or angry at them for ‘failing’ us in some way. The purpose of this week was to feel into sensations in the body – whether that involved tension or calm, stress or relaxation – without judgement.

I also encouraged them to listen to my ‘full yogic breath’ audio exercise every day and for both ladies, this was a revelation. The power of breathing properly and deeply, focusing only on long inhales and exhales for 10 minutes, can be quite transformative. We finished up the week with our first live yoga class together on Saturday – a very gentle Hatha class that was all about slow, mindful movements to get the body moving without stress or strain.

As we chatted after the live class, both women expressed how much they’d gotten out of it, and how excited they were for the rest of the course. I uploaded a recording of the live class to The Happy Hub so they could do it during the week, plus a bonus morning yoga sequence where I demonstrated how to do sun salutations safely.

Psst...Wanna give your head a hug?

Week 2: Overview & Learnings

Our theme for the week was “Embrace the Inner Critic”. We all have that voice telling us we’re not good enough, that we’re somehow ‘less’ than others. Particularly if you’ve got alopecia, which can do all kinds of damage to your self-esteem and confidence, it’s important to pay attention to this voice.

Of course, sometimes that little voice is trying to protect us, and it can be a good thing. So this week the focus was on tuning into the inner critic (rather than ignoring it) and acknowledging what lessons it might have to share.

The ladies were instructed to do my pre-recorded ‘self-love and compassion’ meditation each day alongside a ‘breath awareness’ one, plus a specific pranayama to calm down the nervous system. Their habit releaser encouraged them to make small changes into their usual routines – seeing how something as simple as sitting in a different chair might affect their mind. Our live class was more energizing in Week 2, with a Vinyasa Flow that both ladies loved!

They mentioned how much stronger and more positive they were feeling already, and how helpful the pranayamas were for boosting their mood each day.

Week 3: Overview & Learnings

Halfway through the course already, it was time for some deeper work. Our theme was ‘Heal From Within’ and I incorporated the super-energizing Wim Hof Breathing Method, plus a powerful visualization meditation, into their ‘Mindfulness Toolkit’ for the week.

We learned about prana – our lifeforce energy, also known as chi or qi – plus the things in our life that a) give us more energy or b) drain us of energy. Week 3 showed how, with a little intuition and insight, we can bring more of what’s good for us into our lives and cut out some of the bad. Allowing us to heal, from inside out, as our bodies are designed to do.

For our live class, I introduced the ladies to my favourite kind of yoga: yin yoga. It’s a slower, relaxing form of yoga that’s incredible for releasing muscular tension, helping with injuries but especially for soothing the mind and aiding sleep. It was a truly special class, one we all enjoyed a lot!

The secondary theme of ‘Step into the Noise’ showed both women how to handle internal and external stress factors in their life. Because we can’t always control what happens to us – like hair loss, or a global pandemic – but we can control how we react. We can affect our physical and mental health in a big way, simply by knowing how to deal with stress and by using some practical methods, like Wim Hof breathing and yin yoga, to reduce inflammation and bring that chronic stress down.

Yin photo

Week 4: Overview & Learnings

For our final week, we stopped looking inwards and started looking outwards – to all the positive aspects of our lives and how we can contribute to bigger and better things! The theme was ‘Feel the Love’ and we used mindfulness tools like a gratitude practice, metta meditation, plus the very powerful ‘skull-shining breath’ to radiate positivity for whatever lies ahead.

Our main focus was on joy – how to find it in the smallest of things, how to spread it towards others, how to live more joyful lives. The ‘breath of joy’, which we did in our live class, was a big hit with both women! That class was a ‘yang and yin’ style session: half energetic flow and half calming yin. 

It was a wonderful end to the course and as I talked with the ladies for our final ‘wrap up chat’, they tearfully shared their gratitude for all they’d learned in just 4 weeks.

I was in tears, myself: we had bonded so much in this short space of time, brought together by our condition and now getting to share in a practice that’s so close to my heart. I said a wobbly goodbye to them both, hopeful we’d all keep in touch. Fortunately, we have! 😉

Aftercare: When the course finished

I continue to teach one of the ladies for private online classes each week – and it’s wonderful to see how yoga and meditation continues to help her in this alopecia journey! Both ladies are keen to do another Yoga for Alopecia course…and I’m looking forward to creating Part 2. 😉

For now, I’m just so happy I followed my intuition and taught this course. I wasn’t sure if there’d be interest in a specialized course around yoga for hair loss…and I know that building anything new will take time. 

But even those two reactions proved to me just how valuable it can be. How much it can change people’s lives for the better! And how wonderful it is for me, as a yoga teacher and alopecian, to help other alopecians find their way.

What my students said...

I loved this course. Emma is such a fantastic instructor, I learned so much and just really enjoyed being guided by her. The content was good and easy to navigate and understand and also very timely for what I’ve been personally going through. 

– Michelle T, California

A complete novice to Yoga, it has been an amazing journey – both physically and spiritually.  Emma is a wonderful teacher, knowledgeable and generous in her help and information. The course itself is so beautifully put together. The benefits of yoga and connecting with others in the same position has been empowering and enlightening. I’m stronger going out of December than going in!

 – Patricia O’Malley, Dublin / London

Next Course: At Your Own Pace!

If you missed the last one, hopefully this overview has answered any questions about what a Yoga for Hair Loss course might involve. I’m about to have a baby, so I’m not available for live sessions right now – but you can still do this course at a time that suits you!

Are you:

  • Feeling stressed, anxious, frustrated about your alopecia?
  • Angry at your body, or disconnected from it altogether?
  • Prone to redness of the scalp, irritation or itching…a sure sign of inflammation?
  • Suffering with digestive issues, mood swings, headaches?
  • Constantly tearful about your hair loss and don’t know what to do?
  • Hoping to feel better again, in your body and your mind?

 

Then this is the course for you!

Learn to Heal Yourself, From Inside Out

I’ve seen how yoga can benefit those with alopecia. It transformed the ladies who joined my last course. And it most certainly helped me – in fact, it continues to help me, every day!

If you want to join the course, still with a live consultation but with pre-recorded classes, you can get 25% off the usual price. Yay!

If you have any further questions, drop me an email, check out the course page for more details or save your spot below.

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Yoga for Alopecia

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