This one is for all of the bros who are also yogis…Brogis!
Ah, the beard. That strange growth of hair from a man’s face. That thing that works as a handy crumb catcher and makes the drinking of milkshakes near impossible sans straw. What is this folliculous phenomenon? And what does Kundalini Yoga have to say about keeping it uncut? I will do my best to answer that.
Let’s avoid the yogic point of view for a minute and look at historical context. Across cultures and religions and spiritual practices, beards have been held in high regard. In ancient Egypt, queens would wear fake chin beards made of precious metals as a sign of nobility. Shaving did not even exist in the Roman empire until nearly five centuries into its existence. Generally, in many cultures, a beard was a symbol of masculinity and virility. There has even been some empirical evidence that suggests beard growth accelerates in anticipation of sexual activity! But that’s very difficult to substantiate.
Some yogis in India, namely sadhus, do not cut their hair. Philosophically, the sadhu is taking the position of renouncing worldly attachment. By growing their hair, they rebuke the concept of altering their physical appearance in accordance with fashions or rituals. The difference between the kundalini yogi and the sadhu is that the kundalini yogi lives in the world. The sadhu leaves it for the forest. In effect, we as kundalini yogis are accepting an even higher challenge.
So why would we keep our beards in this day and age? Why, aside from symbolic reasons and renunciation, would a beard be important? What is the yogic technology behind it?
The answer partly lies in the energetic difference between men and women. Women’s energy is represented in the waxing and waning of the moon as it corresponds to their menstrual cycle. This waxing and waning often corresponds to the natural waxing and waning of a woman’s moods and attitudes. Men relate to the energy of the sun. They do not have a menstrual cycle. Without the constant ebb and flow of hormonal change, men do not have the same changes in mood and attitude that women do have.
So where does the beard come in? The chin is a moon center that corresponds to emotional activity because of the location of the trigeminal nerve. The man’s beard is a buffer between his emotional self and the world around him. The woman doesn’t need that. She is fine with her emotional self interacting with the world around her. Guruka Singh gives a great explanation in this video.
So, my brogis, treat your chin hair well. Wear it with pride. Be a man among men. We are yogis. Let’s forget trends and fashions and stop relating to our egos and insecurities. Let’s just be! Why must we alter ourselves to fit some mold. Why do we chase youth? Embrace your wisdom. Let’s act and look our age!