Should you always do the asanas on the right side first?

 wrong posture

You May Have Developed Some Wrong Habits

Your body likes to move in the direction of the least resistance, or the way it becomes accustomed to. You walk, sit, stand, bend, and carry things in a habitual way, which may be the wrong way, such as, using one side of your body more, or differently than the other. Using your body in that particular way may feel easier and more comfortable at first but, over time, that may lead to aches and pains in various parts of the body because of the imbalances that you may develop. 

 When doing asanas also, your body wants to move in the direction of least resistance. 
For example, when doing a side bend, if you are able to bend more and easily to the right side, your body would always want to bend to the right side first, and would want to stay there longer.  If you are  stiffer on the left side, when you bend to the left side, you would feel  resistance. It won’t feel good, and you would come out of the posture very quickly.  You would also put more effort and spend more of your energy on the right side, leaving less for the felt side.

Another example; if your right leg is stronger than the left, your body would want to do one-legged pose, such as the tree pose, always on the right leg first and stay there longer, making the stronger leg more strong, and the weaker leg would remain weak.

So, if you continue your asana practice this way, the imbalance in the body can become significant enough to cause aches and pains in  the body.  Many yoga students who have been practicing asana for many years wonder why they still experience constant aches and pains. This is one of the reasons. 

To restore the balance, you will need to pay more attention to the weaker or stiffer parts of your body, and train yourself to use the body in a balanced manner. 

Right Side May Not Always Be Right!

Traditionally, the asanas are done first on the right side for two reasons.

  1. The subtle energy channels, and the flow of prana on the right side are associated with the solar energy which is active and positive and, so, by doing the asana first on the right side you are supposedly activating that energy first to create more interest and enthusiasm in the asana practice.
    However, the same effect can be generated by keeping the mind relaxed, and maintaining an attitude of honour toward the asana practice. 
  2. A scientific reason, introduced recently, for doing the asana first on the right side is that by compressing on the right side of the abdominal cavity first helps move the feces in the descending colon toward the transverse colon, and eventually out. It may be true partially, but can also be argued. The overall practice of  asanas improves the blood circulation and all other functions of the body, but I don’t think it makes much difference whether you do the asana on the right side or the left side first, especially when you are doing an asana only once, and holding it only for 15-20 seconds.
    There are several  pranayams and kriyas such as Kapalbhati , Agnisara,  and Shankh Prakshalan etc which involve constant contractions of abs, and cardio-like rapid and repetitive movements, that are helpful in stimulating bowel movement. However, that is only a minor and secondary benefit of practicing pranayamas. There are many more. 

 How to Decide Which Way To Do An Asana First?

Before doing an asana, take a pause to observe which way the body wants to move first. If the feeling is neutral, then do the asana on the right side first. But if you can feel that the body wants to move to one particular side, say the right side, then just do the opposite. If you are doing a side bend, do the left side first, then the right, and again bend to the left. With this practice you will improve your flexibility on the left side also, and restore the balance in the body, provided that you do the asanas properly.
Once the balance is restored, then you can go back to the traditional way of doing the asana, starting on the right side first, but paying equal attention to both sides.
Apply the same method to the twists, and forward and backward bends.

Doing asanas with an attitude of restoring and maintaining balance in the body is more important than doing the asana on the right side first.

Become More Aware and Take Responsibility

Become more aware of how you use your body. Do you always carry groceries with the same hand? Do you carry your shoulder bag always on the same shoulder? Do you stand tilted to one side, and always to the same side?  When sitting, do you lean back for a long time, do you put more weight on one side, always the same side? 

Make the needed corrections. Break the wrong habits. Become more active. Be persistent. Take responsibility for your well-being. You will be amazed how quickly the body starts to feel so much better.

 From yogic point of view, remember, in order to know yourself you must take care of yourself properly. ❤ ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have any yoga questions?

Yoga means so many different things to different people and, therefore, their questions  also vary. 

During my courses many students ask many questions, and the answers to some of these questions sometimes open the doors to beautiful knowledge which seems to be beneficial to all course-participants. 

I would like to compile some of your questions and my answers in a booklet.

Regardless of which path you follow, I request you to send me your questions that you may have regarding any aspect of yoga including:

Asana
Pranayama
Meditation
Philosophy
Spirituality
Scriptures
Path
Personal Practice
Personal Struggle or Success, etc. 

Your name and any other personal information shall  be kept confidential, unless you consent to making it public, in which case I will be happy to include your name with your question(s) in the booklet. 

Also, if you have an inspiring personal story related to your yoga journey, which you would like to share with others, please send it to me. I may include some of the stories in this booklet.

Please share this post with other yogis you may know. 

Please write to : krishanji@artofliving.org

❤Thank you🙏

Remembering My Mother…and a promise!

FamilyPortrait-resized

 

Always Remembering Her

I miss my mother’s company and her unconditional love very much. Around her, I always felt loved and protected. When I think of her, I see an image of love , a form which I can almost  touch. She has left me with a wonder ‘how could she love so unconditionaly!’

I also loved and respected her very much, but there were times when we would get into arguments, and I would be rude to her, which now I wish I wasn’t. It’s the only regret I have in my life, and the yogic wisdom in this case doesn’t help me much.
But every time that happened, a good thing came out of it. During those times, my wife Bharti, and our children Amol and Priya would be extra nice to her. Bharti would cook some special food which my mother liked, and would even feed her with her own hands, like feeding a baby. Amol & Priya would pay extra attention to her and entertain her in different ways, which she liked very much. But in the midst of all that, and in spite of my being rude to her, she would still be concerned about me, and she would whisper and ask them if I was okay and if I had eaten. Her whisper was very loud.  

Don’t Leave Me…

My mother was  a devotee. After my father passed away, I remember her being sad for a very long time. She would sleep a lot and eat very little. However, she would still go to satsang, and sing spiritual songs at home. One day when I came home from school, I heard her sing in the bedroom, the bedroom door was closed. When I opened the door, I saw her singing with the tears rolling down her eyes. I asked her why she was crying? Wiping her face, she said, “I don’t know what happens to me sometimes, the devotion and sadness take over me and I can’t stop crying.” Then she became even more emotional and began to cry louder, and said,” When this happens to me, I feel like leaving everything and running away.”  That scared me. I had just lost my father. I also cried loudly and said to her” Mother, don’t leave me.” She hugged me tightly and said, “No, I will never leave you. I can’t.”

Deja Vu

Just like my mother, I also like writing and singing spiritual songs. I am not a good singer,  but in a closed room I can can sit with my harmonium and sing for hours. In my journey, there was a time when the devotion had completely overtaken me. I  would look forward  to being alone and sing devotional songs. One day it was a flex-day off for me, and just me and my mother were at home. Most of the morning I had been singing in our prayer room with the door closed. In devotion, my eyes had welled up with tears. There was a phone call for me but I hadn’t heard it. My mother had answered the phone and to give me the phone she opened the door and saw me singing and crying. Looking at me, with the phone in her hand , she just stood there. I also, with tears in my eyes, just kept looking at her. That was a very powerful flashback and deja vu moment. Then without saying or asking anything she left. But I replied her silently,” When this happens to me, I feel like leaving everything and running away, but I will never leave you. I can’t.”

A Promise!

I have so many precious memories of my private moments with her that she is always alive in my heart. Whenever I am in need of comforting moments, I just think of her. Her love is the sacred mantra that comforts me and puts me in a deep state of rest.
In my wishful imagination, sometimes I hear her say to me,” I will be your mother again, I promise!” And I say to her.” I will never be rude to you again, I promise!” 🙏 ❤ 🙏