Yoga for Lefties: Are Lefties Left Out In Yoga?

Yoga for leftiesAre you are left handed? What’s your experience of attending yoga classes as a leftie and why does everything yoga seem to favour the right? Let’s explore yoga for lefties.

“Roll over to your right hand side” the Yoga Teacher instructs at the end of Savasana.

“Place your right hand on top of your left in Dyana Mudra” this is a hand position used in meditation that can feel quite odd if you’re left handed and it is clearly instructed that you can’t just swap it to feel more comfortable.

95% of the time all of the sequences seem to start with the right side, step your right leg forward into Warrior II.

Then it gets super complicated when you add in some of the Pranayama (breathing exercises) such as Nadi Shodana (alternate nostril breathing) which have complicated hand positions.

So why is this? And how can you adapt your yoga practice to feel more natural as leftie? There are some good reasons why yoga practices emphasises the right, then there is myth, legend & laziness.

~ LUNAR/SOLAR: The left side represents the lunar / moon energy which is soothing and calming and the right side represents the solar / sun energy which is energising and activating. If you want to honour this in your yoga practice, begin your stimulating morning yoga practice with your right side and in a tranquil evening practice start with the left side. This is one of the reasons given for rolling to the right side after Savasana, to awaken the energy after the deep relaxation.

~ FEMININE / MASCULINE: The left side represents the feminine energy. It is the subtle, intuitive, feeling side and should be cared for, and not overused to prevent it from losing this subtly. The right side represents the masculine energy and is used more for function, action and everyday transactions.

~ HEMISPHERES OF THE BRAIN: Many of the Pranayama exercises (breathing exercises) have an effect on balancing the hemispheres of the brain. Surya Bhedana (solar breath), you inhale through the right nostril and exhale through the left using your right hand to block and release the nostrils. If, as a left hander, you just swapped this you’d have a very different experience and would actually being doing the sleeping, calming breath. You could swap your hands over and use your left hand to block off the nostrils but you’d then need to swap over all of the instructions as well. If you have a clear understanding of these pranayama practices you can do this but for a complete beginner it would be confusing.

~ A RIGHT HANDED WORLD: Being a leftie is a minority group, 90% of the world of right handed, so it’s highly likely that your yoga teacher is right handed and just hasn’t considered what your experience is like. So tell your teacher that your left handed and that’s is more comfortable for you to modify certain things. After all yoga is about connecting with and honouring your body, working with it not against it.


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