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Today I’m responding to a comment from Nick on the pavanamuktasana post.

bikram eagle

“Hi Paul…. I wanted to ask your advice. Like most people I have a more dominate and more flexible side of the body – the right side in my case. This is evident in Eagle – I can easier tuck my right toes around my left calf, but not vice-versa. Also, in Toe Stand, I can go deeper into the posture when my right foot is against my left thigh. The other side is more awkward.
In whatever posture I am in, I try to work each side to the maximum I can go – but should I hold off a little on my dominant right side to allow the left to ‘catch up’ making my left and right more even?”

First, thanks for reading & commenting Nick. I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog and learning from it 🙂

As you say, most people have a dominant side of the body. It’s natural. Each of us has a unique body with its own symmetry, alignment, flexibility and strength. One of the key objectives and benefits of yoga is to bring balance to the body and mind. In fact, “hatha” translates as “sun” and “moon” — representing the opposing/balancing, yin/yang energies of the universe.

The quest for balance and harmony is a journey, however, as you’ve noted Nick, one side of your body is able to do things right now that the other can’t. Rather than backing off on your dominant side, I suggest you continue to give full effort in each posture, on each side. With time and patience your weaker side will grow stronger and more flexible. This might happen so gradually you don’t notice it at first, which is why it is important to maintain a consistent level of effort. Our bodies are capable of very subtle adjustments. By consciously holding back you run a risk of creating new imbalances. If you practice regularly and with mindfulness you will notice improvements over time.

The goal is not perfection, but unity. Nobody’s body is going to be 100% symmetrical but through yoga you can mitigate any negative effects of your natural imbalance and achieve your best strength and flexibility.

Questions? Comments? Please join the discussion in the comments section!