Left handers

I love this quote, I wished I knew who said it. I actually thought I had made it up until I googled it and found a thousand memes with it – still a great quote!

So happy (belated) National Left Handers Day to all you lefties out there!

This week’s class was for you – all about the balance between right and left, because that’s one of the benefits of yoga, right? Working out the kinks in your dominant side and creating more balance in the body?

For sure!

But then why do most yoga classes lead with the right? Think about it? Why are we always told to lead with a right lunge, warrior or step the right foot back first? And roll onto our right hand side after Savasana?

Is it because all yoga teachers are naturally right handed and therefore go with what makes more sense to them? (If that’s the case they really should be trying to get out of that habit and lead with the left more, or at least that’s just my humble opinion… and also probably why I never know my left from my right. Whoops!)

No, it’s actually down to (from what I can see) a few other things: Science, tradition and spirituality.

  • The right side is the male dominant side

What a surprise it always thinks it knows best then! (JOKE, I love you guys, but generally speaking your wife is always right, despite you thinking you are – I speak from experience, just ask my mother in law (hi Keri) haha!) Anyway because of this, the right side is therefore connected to the active ‘doing’ side of your impulses, whereas the left is connected to the passive feminine aspects of your nature. So instinctively the right wants to lead.

  • There’s tradition

In India traditionally gifts were offered in the right hand, you greet people with your right hand, eat with your right hand and use your left hand for the bathroom. No shock then that a practice which is steeped in Hindu meaning also using its tradition and ritual.

  • Then there’s the science

When twisting to the right we work in connection with the clockwise movement of the vital organs of the body (think digestive system etc), so this may feel like a natural instinct to go right first. After Savasana we always turn to lie on our right hand side because our heart is on our left, so we can pump bloody around the body better from this position but also we leave our heart raised, open and free of pressure.

So there’s a few reasons, granted. But not necessarily one that says it has to be done.

Personally I find balance is a key aspect here.

If you always lead one way, that means one way always gets more of a demo, an explanation and the benefit of going first (so it’s never rushed for time at the end of the class if you run out). To me that means that whatever side you lead with has the potential to hold the poses for longer, get more attention, and more time, thus defeating the object of balance.

So how wrong is it to lead a class from the left sometimes? And what might happen spiritually and emotionally if we did?

Isn’t it through chaos that we find balance? It is in my world!

Y’all should know by now I like mixing it up and challenging convention, even (dare I say it) ancient yogic ones in this case. So I don’t feel there’s any harm in leading from the left from time to time, especially when the left side is female dominant, a side that encourages passion, creativity and encouragement, and isn’t it about time that the feminine side ruled?

Food for thought indeed.

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