We yoga teachers have adages, almost like old wives tales, axioms we have repeated so often and for so long that we’ve forgotten why we say them. Rolling to your right to come out of savasana is one of these. Why do we do it? Students ask this all the time. From a medical perspective, it may actually be more calming to roll to the left instead.
In the week before beginning a month-long yoga teacher training, I like to reread old manuals and pick chapters of my favorite yoga texts before bed; it inspires and gets me primed for a month of intensive yoga study. In my reading today, I came this a classic and simple question about the how and why of emerging from deep relaxation. The following is from Anatomy of Hatha Yoga by H. David Coulter.
Rolling to the left to come out of savasana is especially important for people with low blood pressure, but even if that’s not you, rolling to the left is the most gentle way to emerge from a state of deep relaxation. The vena cava, situated on the right side of your heart, brings blood flowing into your right atrium. If you have low blood pressure and get up by rolling to the right, you may not get enough blood to your heart and from there, not enough to supply your brain. You’ll know this is happening if you feel faint or dizzy.
Coming up to the left makes just enough of a difference in venous return to keep cardiac output balanced. This ensures your brain stays well-hydrated and happy.
Thanks for stopping by The Salty Dog, and hope to see you at Pavones Yoga Center at some point in the near future.
H. David Coulter, Anatomy of Hatha Yoga (Body and Breath, PA. 2001). p 548