Yoga: On the Left

Modern life can be hectic. We are constantly looking at straight lines. On the road, on the keyboard, on the screen, on the calendar. Right angles are everywhere: windows, doors, floors, straight, flat, level. Our days are ordered, sequential, following the clock rather than the arc of the sun. The natural world is curved, fluid, undulating, blazing with colour. The straight line straight line world keeps us operating primarily from our logical, unfeeling head, while our intuitive, creative heart seems to be quietly in the closet, drooling in a sort of anaesthetised torpor.

We can nurture and awaken our sleeping feminine and intuitive aspects if we emphasise the left side first in our yoga asana practice. Even if you never practice yoga, try beginning your exercises with your left side, or making your morning juice with your left hand, or consciously walking left foot first when you enter or exit a building.  A simple but catalytic action towards reclaiming a truly Feminine inner authority as women.

As contemporary people we are driven to activity rather than stillness. Use of the right side of the body is said to stimulate the left side of the brain, sometimes referred to as the more logical, structured thinking. The right hemisphere of the brain, (in overly simplistic terms), is predominantly responsible for our creative, artistic, intuitive thought processes, and can be stimulated through conscious use of the left side of the body.

When we begin our yoga asana practice with the left foot forward first, we activate the right hemisphere of the brain. According to many Native American traditions, our left side holds our connection to our feminine nature and maternal lineage, and our right side is our connection to our paternal lineage, and our masculine aspects. Left: yin, receptive, feminine; Right: active, linear, masculine.

Breath in the right nostril stimulates the left brain. And vice versa. The ancient yogic technique of Nadi Shodana Pranayama  (purification of the nervous system, alternate nostril breathing) balances the subtle energy channels of Ida and Pingala. Ida, representing the moon and the feminine begins at Muladhara, the base chakra, and ends at the left nostril. Pingala, representing the masculine energies of sun and heat, initiates at Muladhara and ends at the right nostril. This gentle and calming practice brings a sense of balance to the mind and body and only requires a few minutes daily. Seems too simple to be true, but try it and see! Plenty of instructions, just a google away! But it is always important to get instruction from a skilled yoga teacher.

Because Western culture is so left brain dominant in our approach to language and  thought process, as women we can benefit from putting our attention to the use of the left side of the body in our yoga practice to encourage our Shakti, our Feminine nature, and our intuition, on and off the mat.

(image from Plotinus One blogsite)

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1 Comment

Filed under Sacred Wise Woman, Yoga

One response to “Yoga: On the Left

  1. Pingback: Excerpt from the book: ”Moon, Moon”- by Anne Kent Rush – 9th House

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