By ‘bun’ – I refer to your hair. I always roll my hair into a tight bun, almost at the top of my head to keep the hair away from my sweaty face whilst practising Bikram’s postures (something like the image on the left). This is comfortable; stops my fringe from getting into my eyes; prevents hair from getting tangled into my sports bra or stuck to my neck…however, this practical hairstyle also stops you from getting the full benefits of the Rabbit Pose (Sasangasana)… Let me explain…
The purpose of the Rabbit Pose is to elongate the spine, vertebrate by vertebrate, almost making some people feel taller than they really are. Great for building a straighter posture, great for vertebrate re-alignment. Other medical benefits are said to include the alleviation of colds, sinus problems, and chronic tonsillitis… as well as being therapeutic for insomnia, diabetes and depression.
Though I have no expertise to validate (or refute) the aforementioned benefits, if we were to assume they were true, it would then be reasonable to also assume they would only be true if we completed the Rabbit Pose correctly.
On the right, we can see Bikram Choudhury completing the Rabbit Pose. Holding onto his heels, he has tucked his chin down to his chest, pulled on his heels, to bring his forehead precisely to his knees. He has lifted his hips up, simultaneously pulling his heels until his elbows are nearly straight.
When in a class, instructors will always say that you should never move your head or your neck whilst in this posture, as it can be damaging. However, it is important to establish the head-to-knee connection, and therefore, you must bring your knees slowly towards your forehead until they touch….then, you keep pulling at your heels.
Now – imagine Bikram on the right with a bun, tightly rolled at the top of his head. First, it’s not possible… you would need to shift your hair bun until it’s at least not between your head and the floor… Second, assuming you’ve taken the plunge, compromised achieving stillness and adjusted your bun, when you attempt to walk your knees towards your forehead and then lift your hips up, the bun at the back of your head will prevent you from elongating your spine. If you force through this, it will cause injury… if you ignore it, you’re doing the posture incorrectly, and therefore not gaining the full benefits. What to do??? Loosen your bun, allow some distance between the elastic band and your scalp, and avoid putting your bun at the top of your head. This way – you’ll be one step closer to feeling some of the great benefits of this posture.