Right vs. Left

I’ve recently had a friend/student ask why I instruct my students to turn over to lie on their right side before coming up from the final relaxation pose.

Good question!

Here are some ways of explaining it:

You lie on your right side for one basic reason:  Your heart is on your left side. When you roll to your right, your heart is above the organs on your right side – it’s less weight on the heart. It’s not that big a deal, but if you rolled to your left, the heart would have a bit more pressure on it after savasana.

And then another (much more technical) answer:

The concept of polarity, or balancing the opposites, is vital to both Yoga and Indian traditional life. The right side of the body is related to the solar/positive/masculine flows of energy that are manifest by the surya nadi, which is correlated to the termination of the pingala nadi (a major prana nadi which flows along the right side of the spine). The left side is related to the lunar/negative/feminine flows of energy that are manifest by the chandra nadi, which is said to be the termination of the ida nadi (along the left side of the spine).

We must also remember that even the term Hatha Yoga, which means “sun and moon,” has the right side placed before the left in its esoteric association of ha with the sun and tha with the moon (Hatha).

There are also some physical reasons for this:

If the goal is ‘action’ and one has ‘things’ to do after a practice, one rolls to the right side. It is generally recommended that one get up from bed by rolling to their right side, as it is energetically linked to ‘action’. If one is trying to remain calm, or preparing for bed, one should roll to the left side.

Rolling to the right side of the body is rolling away from the heart (less pressure and weight on the rested and open heart).

Pausing on the right side allows the students natural blood pressure to reach its potential homeostasis.

Resting on the right side allows the energy to be redirected in the present moment as needed and circulated appropriately.

And then this, my favourite, to the point answer:

An appropriate Savasana provides the room for the student’s nervous system to shift to a parasympathetic state. That is a state of ease – lower heart rate and blood pressure, stimulation of the digestive processes, lower body temperature, release of endorphins. For this reason it is imperative that students come out of Savasana gradually, slowly, with no hurry or jarring action. Additionally, rolling to the side and pressing the floor inhibits tension in the neck and lower back.

Namaste xx

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