Tradition Tuesday: Why Do We Roll to the Right After Sivasana?

After a yoga practice- regardless of its duration- it’s customary to rest in sivasana or “corpse pose.” This supine posture is paramount to any practice, sealing in the effects of each asana, providing meaningful meditation time, and allowing the body to rest and rejuvenate. Following the pose and just before concluding class, students are typically asked to roll to their right sides, in the fetal position, before rising up to a seated posture.

But, why the right side?

Simple. Your heart is located on the left side of your chest; therefore, rolling to the right keeps your heart slightly more elevated for slightly longer. It’s believed to be the most gradual, subtle transition out of your yoga practice. I often tell my students to think of this movement as “taking the yoga with them” before they go.

You don’t abruptly end a yoga class and dive back into the chaos of your life, do you? Ideally, you bring the restfulness and reflection with you. In other words, the yoga never stops.

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  • Holly

    So glad you mentioned this! Every now and then I'll take a class and the teacher will tell the students to roll to either side. I suspected it was more than just a Type A power yogi instinct that was telling me to go to the right. Rolling to the right helps keep that sense of lightness with me, right to the very end of class–and beyond.

  • Eco Yogini

    I've actually been told that it has to do with the "male" right energy after an active class.
    After we practiced Moon salutations one class the instructor asked us to roll to our left-"feminine" energy.

    This explanation makes more scientific sense, the previous made sense to me on a more spiritual basis (although I don't agree with sides having different male-female energies).

  • Anonymous

    There was a class I took ones where the teacher said to turn right for more of a relaxed energy, or left for more upbeat energy. I turned left because if was a Satarday and I was going out later. Not sure if there was a big difference, but of course either way I always feel more energetic after a yoga class. Just wondering if that was correct info.

  • linabeau

    We're cosmic muffins! On Tuesday, July 7th, after a yoga class (in Texas) wherein the teacher said to roll to whichever side suited you, I was explaining to a friend that it should not be considered such a whimsy transition, but rather a spiritual transition with real purpose. And here you were blogging about it. Imagine that!