I get a lot of “I would love to come to yoga, but __________”. The blank is usually filled with the news that they are too busy, they are not flexible enough or they cannot afford it right now. But once in a while, someone will get really honest and admit that they would like to practice yoga with us at the studio, but they are afraid they will pass gas during class. Yep, the good ole exhale from the other end that everyone who has practiced yoga has experienced.
All the bending, twisting and flowing in yoga helps to wring out the internal organs like a sponge, releasing toxins and, of course, gas. Anyone who has ever been bloated from trapped gas knows that letting one rip allows relief and is definitely good for the body. But most of us are still not over the embarrassment of the finger pointing from the time we cut the cheese in the middle of a fourth grade math lesson, so we try our best to avoid further distress in that department.
My yogi friends and I have had many funny conversations about the times we have broken wind in class, so just know that if you do let one go, we are not secretly laughing at you, we are secretly laughing with you.
Now let me put your all of your worries to bed on this one. No one in a yoga class will ever acknowledge that someone dropped a bomb and it is also very hard to tell who the feller is anyway. There is more than one reason we use reed diffusers, essential oil burners and aromatherapy sprays in our classes. A good yoga teacher is aware of her students and the conditions in the room at all times and if there is an SBD filling up the air, she will come around and clear the space by spraying a lovely lavender or peppermint oil mixture .
To help you avoid an abundance of flatulence during your practice, it is best to come to class on an empty stomach. It is also helpful to remember to engage your Mula Bandha, which means that you energetically lock your root by lifting and tightening your pelvic floor muscles, as in a Kegel Exercise. For those of you who are not familiar with Kegel’s, it is the same feeling of contracting to stop or prevent the flow of urine.
If you do let one slide, you do not need to say “excuse me” or apologize in any way. If fact, you should just come back into the moment and let any worry or judgment about it go. It’s a great lesson in acceptance and humility and a reminder that we are all ONE, and we all create a little back door breeze from time to time.