In general, we tend to think that the right hemisphere and the left hemisphere of the brain process information in different ways. Generally speaking, the left-brain is literal, linear, and methodical, it organizes and relates new information to what it already knows and assigns language. It processes in a sequential and logical order, while the right-brain is more artistic, creative, non-verbal, emotional, visual, and processes intuitively and holistically.
For the vast majority of us, the left side of the body is said to be ‘wired’ to the right side of the brain and thus the right side of the body is wired to the left side of the brain – the two sides communicating via the corpus collosum. An example of this communication: the right-brain sees a car, your left-brain will say, ‘that is my parent’s car.’ Most people seem to have a dominant side of the brain, which is not conclusive, but a matter of preference in terms of how they prefer to learn. Can you guess which side you are? Are you right-handed or left-handed?
According to Scientific America 70-95% of us are right-handed, not only in the United States, but in the World. Being right-handed could hypothesize that we are left-brain dominant. Does this mean that the human inhabitants of the world are typically learning, seeing, comprehending and communicating from a first and foremost logical and categorical point of view and not necessarily balanced with an artistic, emotional or intuitive point of view? Perhaps it does.
It may also mean that if we are left-brain dominate, we could have a hard time really ‘understanding the big picture’ or even the ‘picture’ at all. In the fast-paced lifestyle of the West, the narrative described by the left-brain is often a quick assignment – this assignment can very well stem from a place that is not one’s own, nor from one’s own intuition, but someone else’s opinion: the media, television, and so on and so forth. How much truth comes from these sources?
The jury is still out as to if we are born with this dominance or if it is attributed via our DNA or something learned through our experiences and external environment. Another interesting finding is that the right-brain seems to develop before the left-brain, so perhaps this could lead to conclusions to ‘how’ this preference is developed. It is also important to note that no one is necessarily entirely either left-brained or right-brained, but that it is quite common that we have a dominant side of the brain just like we have a dominant hand, foot and eye.
We notice when we practice yoga that there are typically different sensations in either side of the body – perhaps one side is tighter while the other more relaxed. Over time we can experience equanimity, a balancing of the body, and the mind. We create symmetry and we tend to become more open to new ‘definitions’, expressions and outlooks. Could it be because both sides of the brain are working more harmoniously together, one not dominating the other?
Some say that it is our left-brain dominancy that gives us the feeling of being separate from one another. It is the ‘I am’ and the clinging to the past, logic and definitions, while it is the right-brain that connects and attunes us to one another presently, intuitively and non-verbally.
We can all agree that brains are quite complex phenomena. We can always speculate, but to really experience our inner workings, we can invite ourselves to recognize and become aware of what is truly happening within ourselves in the present moment.
Image by me, Tanya Lee Markul.
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