[repost from January 28, 2013]
This is the second time in my adult life that I let my hair grow down to the small of my back before I cut it to just below my shoulders. Unlike the last time, this cut felt long overdue, and when it finally happened, I was glad to be rid of it. Also unlike the last time, my hair was dry, thinner and fraught with split ends. My daughter noticed, and she demanded that I cut my hair.
Kundalini Yoga practitioners are encouraged to consider growing their hair to its natural full length. From a yogic perspective, hair is an amazing gift of nature that can actually help raise the Kundalini energy (creative life force), which increases vitality, intuition, and tranquility...The bones in the forehead are porous and function to transmit light to the pineal gland, which affects brain activity, as well as thyroid and sexual hormones. Cutting bangs which cover the forehead impedes this process.*
I read that historically, many societies did not cut their hair because hair was considered a part of who they were, and it was associated with personal freedom and power. Conquerors cut the hair of their new people as a representation of enslavement. When Genghis Khan conquered China, he considered the Chinese to be a very wise, intelligent people who would not allow themselves to be subjugated. He therefore required all women in the country to cut their hair and wear bangs, because he knew this would serve to keep them timid and more easily controlled.* With conquest, hair cutting became prevalent, and before long the connection to hair and power was lost, eventually submitting to fashion.
After I got my hair cut, a friend said, “you look more interview material now.” ...While I love my new do, his statement took me back to my corporate days. Corporate and Conquer sort of go together,... don’t they?
But let me tell you why my cut feels so good!
It feels clean. Like a purging into a clean slate. The hair I just cut off grew during what I experienced to be a most trying part of a stage in spiritual development that kundalini yoga calls Shakti Pad, which, for me, started about 3 years ago (2010), shortly after I completed my 1000 days of Sat & Sodarshan Kriya meditations (hmm..). Yogi Bhajan said that Shakti Pad comes at about 4 to 7 years after Saram Pad- the first stage of development when one is introduced to the path. This path, I entered in 2005. Saram Pad is the infant stage: you don’t know anything and you are drawn to it- like Mama. You follow what she says (the next step, or karam pad), and things work in your life!
A practitioner in Shakti Pad resembles the teenager, riddled with an invincibility complex in which you question Mom and start to believe that the laws of cause and effect don’t really apply to you. And who could blame? Many teens with their high metabolism can eat more candy than any 40 to 50 somethings could dream of, and it takes years for the sugar binge to take a recognizable toll. Similarly, in Shakti Pad, it took me a good two years to feel the cause and effects of my rebellion.
In Shakti pad, you are faced with nothing else but your ego. Integrity takes effort when ego takes over. While this stage can be “fun,” it takes a toll. And because I know how it feels to feel good when I am listening, this (eventually) felt bad by contrast. My body began to nag and I felt conflict, which in reality, was already there. The justifications just stopped working, and the nag became a drag.
I saw the printout of Shakti Pad in my hair. So I finally cut it off. I’m going through a purging now and back to basics. I don’t know if I will feel again the angelic nature in me that was a part of the infancy stage, because right now, I feel more like a spiritual warrior. But that’s okay. As delicious as Saram Pad was, now that I'm practicing another level of Surrender, I’m thinking I might like this even better.
Kundalini Yoga Quotes:
“I’d never felt anything like it; it was just an opening of energy and a feeling of such liberation.” -Marika Bethel, owner, Glowing House