Hair Stories: Eddie Stern

With a passion for furthering understanding, education and access to yoga, Eddie Stern engages in a multidisciplinary approach in his teaching of yoga. Studying philosophy, Sanskrit, technology and science in addition to his love for music and art, which plays a role in his instruction, Eddie found a balance between the creativity of punk rock and the practice of yoga – through hair.

“Most people think that being a punk rocker involves being as grungy and unkempt as possible, but that could not be further from the truth. Punk rock was all about aesthetics and a philosophy of self-expression through releasing anger, rage, and addressing injustice through music and fashion. We would spend hours doing our hair, make-up, and clothing to get it all just right.

My hair was just about my greatest attachment. After my punk rock days faded to yoga days, I continued to grow my hair long. My identity was super wrapped up in it.

In 1992 during an extended stay in South India studying yoga, I thought to myself; I need to free myself from this attachment to my hair. I was trying to be spiritual and thought that I was clinging to external ideas of beauty. So I went to the barbershop in downtown Mysore and had them shave my head. As soon as the last strand of hair came off, my posture changed, my brain felt lighter and I felt released. It was amazing… until the next morning.

I got up early as usual and as I squatted down on the Indian toilet, I put my hands on my head forgetting that I had shaved it, and thought to myself, “oh my God, what have I done? This will take forever to grow back!” But I never grew it back. Do I miss it? I do. Am I glad I still shave my head to this day? I am. When I shaved off that long braid though, I did keep it and I gave it to my father on his 50th birthday. He thought that was hysterical. He kept it in a box I brought him from the Taj Mahal. When I turned 50, 25 years later, he gave it back to me. I thought that was a feat of patience; he had probably been planning that for 25 years. So, I still have my hair.

Visit Eddie Stern’s website and Instagram page.
Download YOGA365 for ‎daily yoga practice with Eddie Stern.

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