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April 27, 2015
Namaskar Deborah and Priyah,
You are both correct, but the reason for rolling right in a yoga class is much deeper than most people realize.
I had seen this thread, but never put my two cents in because I was taught by Swami Krishnananda, Pauljee and many other esteemeded yoga teachers to roll to the right. Here is why: The practice of rolling to the right at the end of stage by stage relaxation has a spiritual, physical and physiological value.
In India, it is considered wise to enter a holy place with the right foot. Many religions and cultures favor the right side because of beliefs in good fortune. In Asia many people of different origins pray, bow, or kneel to the East and the rising Sun. We perform Surya Namaskar for all of these reasons - toward the rising sun.
Watch a Roman Catholic make the sign of the cross. It is always with the right hand. So an Eastern custom has traveled west, but many forget that Christianity was a Middle Eastern religion first.
Also, we extend our right hand in greeting. We often eat with our right hand. "When any one of you intends to eat, he should eat with his right hand." [Sahih Muslim: Volume 3, Book 23, Number 5010] The right side also represents the east and the rising sun. Rolling toward the east, represents our request asking for grace, blessings and bliss.
Your heart is on the left side, when you roll to the right, it remains open and free from excessive pressure. Rolling to our right side also keeps the ida nadi * of the subtle body active and helps keep our physical body in a state of tranquility as you rise slowly to a seated position.
* Ida Nadi is one of the main energy channels running on the left side of the spine from the mooladhara (base) chakra to the ajna chakra in the head.
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