Why am I told "roll to your right side" after yoga?
I'm often asked why we roll to the right in yoga after we have finished shavasana (corpse pose).
In a nutshell your heart is on the left side of your body so you roll to your right to keep your heart open and free of pressure. Taking a pause on the right side of the body after shavasana allows your natural blood pressure to reach it's potential homeostasis (internal body temperature)*.
However, the philosophical explanation for this connects to our nadis (energy channels). It is said that we have 72,000 nadis in our bodies (not sure who counted them!). However, we have three main nadis that we refer to in yoga. Nadis are infinite networks of tubular organs or channels of energy that flow. The chakras (spinning wheels), of which we have 7 main chakras, are the epicenters of that energy flow (see picture below).
Sushumna - runs through the centre of the body from the root to the crown. Imagine a line running through the middle of the chakras above. This is your path to enlightenment and is ignited through ida and pingala via kundalini (coiled serpent at root).
Ida (cooling energy | colour white) - runs at the left side of the body controls our mental processes and is linked to our feminine personalty. Ida-like personalities have nurturing qualities but may lack ability to sustain any strong yoga practice.
Pingala (warmth energy | colour red) - runs at the right side of the body and controls our physical processes being linked to our male personality. Pingala-like personalities are creative but may lack ability to be spiritually aware.
The main focus of Hatha Yoga is to bring the ida and pingala into balance (Ha=Solar|Sun Tha=Lunar|Moon). To balance we can pause between asana practice and take note of breath and temperature and / or end our practice with Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breath).
During your practice, ask yourself if you are agitated or active? You'll need to consider pingala traits. Or, are you calm and receptive? Take a moment to consider ida traits. Once you've established how you "feel" this can help you to understand how to balance your postures and your breath during your practice.
So, the answer to the question isn't as simple as it may appear but I hope this does help to raise your awareness of why we continue to adhere to the ancient traditions and practices of yoga.
If you'd like to learn more about chakras and nadis I run several workshops that cover these and can be arranged to suit your interests with yoga practice included. From as little as 2 yogis up to 14 can be catered for if you are looking for something a little different to celebrate a birthday or special event (hen party). Drop me a line at email@example.com
* please note if pregnant you should turn to the left to increase the flow of blood and nutrients to the baby