Choosing a Better Hairstyle for Your Yoga Practice

In the fall of 2011, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin made headlines when she opined that one reason American women were not getting enough exercise was that they were afraid of messing up their hair. Well, we want to do our part to keep women healthy, so if fear of bad hair days has kept you from your yoga mat, here are our best suggestions for hairstyles that will take you from yoga class to the office without having to stop by the beauty parlor. 


The Low Ponytail

Mature woman doing yoga on mat
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If your hair is shoulder-length or longer, try a hairstyle that keeps your hair off your face (it's annoying) and neck (it's hot). It's also best if you can lie down on the back of your head flat on the mat and get back up again without having to stop and adjust your hair, which will interrupt the flow of the class and probably cause you to miss a pose or two.

For layered hair, try a wide fabric headband to pull your hair back from your face. Bobby pins and barrettes are also options, but they can poke your scalp uncomfortably when you stand on your head. If you have short or bobbed hair, the headband may be all you need. Adding a low ponytail or braid is one option for longer hair. This type of ponytail also offers a neat, professional look, so if you are heading to work after you practice, you can just tidy it up and be on your way.


The Pigtails

Mid-adult woman in yoga pose or tree pose
Nick Daly / Getty Images

Having two braids may remind you of your school days, but it is probably the single most practical hairstyle for yoga. It keeps your hair off your face and neck and allows you to stand on your head and lie on your back without having to redo your hair afterward. It's particularly good for fast-paced practices like Ashtanga (as evidenced by the inimitable Maty Ezraty), which have you moving quickly from prone to supine to seated to inverted postures without taking a break. If you need to go somewhere after class, just take out the braids and enjoy your wavy hair.


The Top Knot

YOGA Young woman practicing yoga and relaxing
sutiporn somnam / Getty Images

Take inspiration from the ballerina bun and opt for a top knot. This is the best style if the hair on the back of your neck drives you crazy. While this is probably the most fashionable option, it does present some problems when you go in for that mid-flow headstand. You're going to have to pause to undo your do so you can bring your crown flat on the floor. Make sure you're pretty quick with your bun skills so you can put your hair back up without interrupting your practice too much. On the plus side, you can take this messy up-do out for coffee after class without missing a beat.


The Man Bun

Man doing a yoga pose with a man bun
Michelle Haymoz Photography - yogascapes & human expressions / Getty Images

Of course, the only viable option for the long-haired man has to be the man bun. Stylish, practical, versatile, so hip it hurts (but only a little bit). Takes you from the shala to your fixie to your job making artisanal pickles without missing a beat. Yoga men, embrace the man bun.

Do Yoga With the Hairdo That Works for You

So don't let your hair stop you from establishing an exercise regime. The healthy glow you get from yoga will undoubtedly distract your co-workers from any mishaps on the top of your head anyway.

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