I was recently posed the question, “Why do we roll to the right side after savasana?” (Savasana, or Shavasana, is translated as final resting pose and corpse pose. It is what you do at the end of class. If the teacher is good, they will have you rest 7 minutes or more.) I had a few inklings that it had something to do with the heart, but realized I had never been taught this particular theory. I decided to search around and see what I could find. Below are a few answers that I found enlightening.
Purna Yoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist’s reply:
There are several reasons to come out of the asana practice in the way you illustrate. First, it should be clarified that there is no “always”. For example it would not be appropriate for a pregnant woman to roll to the right. Instead she should roll to the left. So… it “depends”. An appropriate Savasana provides the room for the student’s nervous system to shift to a parasympathetic state. That is a sate 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. As to the right side over the left… This brings the heart on top, regulates the pulse, prevents compression in the heart, frees up the nadi (channel) associated with the left nostril, and it is the auspicious side to boot.
Anusara Teacher Desiree Rumbaugh’s reply:
The practice of rolling to the right has a symbolic as well as a physiological basis. In India, it is considered more auspicious to enter a holy place with the right foot, and in many parts of the world, we extend our right hand in greeting. The right side also represents the east; rolling toward the east, or the rising sun, symbolizes asking for blessings, grace, and bliss.
Physiologically, since your heart is on the left, when you roll to the right, it remains open and free of pressure. Rolling to the right also keeps the ida nadi (one of the main channels of prana, or the life force, which corresponds to cooling energy) active and helps keep your body in a state of calmness as you come into a sitting position.
Website- Yoga Everywhere’s reply:
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 it’s potential homeostasis. Resting on the right side allows the energy to be redirected in the present moment as needed and circulated appropriately.
It truly doesn’t matter which side you roll on to. I realized how some of my teachings were simply habit. My teacher is always very clear about why we do things, but in this case I guess we had never discussed it. No matter how you come out of savasana, just remember to come out slowly and not rush in to your daily life. As Max said, “No longer keep your yoga practice separate from your daily life. They are both the same.” Take the calm and quiet you find and carry it with you each day.