Thursday, December 31, 2015

Hair attunement

We arrive at yoga from the office, from home, amid errands or before afternoon appointments, and wait, facing forward in mountain pose, as the instructor C attunes us for our session in vinyasa.

"I thought I'd start this morning by talking briefly about something happening with me lately," C begins, "or, more accurately, with my hair. I've always really loved my long hair. There's something about the feeling of it brushing against my bare upper arms. It makes me feel great. I count on it as I go through my days.

"But now my hair has started to get brittle and break off. It's been devastating -- I've experienced a good deal of grief over it. My hair doesn't brush against my arms the way it used to. I've stopped feeling good about myself. So I've been thinking about that, about how one thing like that can have such a powerful effect on our self esteem. And then it occurred to me. I could turn this around. Why not get hair extensions? I made an appointment, and I'm really excited about it. Even thinking about hair extensions has brightened my outlook." C shrugs. "I'll let you know how it goes next time. Now. Inhale deeply and raise your arms ..."

Curious, I looked into it further. There are over six different methods, using real or synthetic hair (browse for "types of hair extensions" and you'll get the complete rundown). Given our societal hair obsessions, the craze for extensions seems an inevitable next step.

The next week, C's hair does look longer and more lush.

"So, how's it going with the hair extensions?" I ask her after class.

"Wow, you remembered that? I love them, although they're uncomfortable at night," C replies.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, I got the tape extensions. They poke into my scalp."


C bows her head toward me and pries apart the roots of her hair to show me little bits of tape affixed close to her scalp. "It's worth it, though," she adds. "I feel so much better."