There you are in your yoga class, leaning forward in a wide legged bend when suddenly it happens. A huge fart. So loud the whole class is aware, and you aren’t sure whether to pretend it wasn’t you or fess up.
Personally, I think it’s healthy to be open about our bodily functions. We compliment babies on their ability to let their wind out. Trapped wind is excruciating, and (as Shrek says) is “better out than in”.
One element of yoga is the fact we are moving our body in a way that massages our internal organs, we spend so much time hunched over tablets and computer screens pushing our body into a small space – in yoga we stretch, open up and twist our body, massaging and stretching our abdominal tract. Flatulence is caused by a buildup of gas that gets stuck in the digestive tract – so when we stretch and move our body we are encouraging our body to expel the gas. Those abdominal twists we do are great for massaging our abdominal organs.
My students with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) tell me that their yoga practice helps alleviate their symptoms. IBS is a gastrointestinal tract disorder – symptoms include abdominal discomfort (even pain), bloating, and abnormal bowel movements. It can have a huge impact on quality of life, not just because of the symptoms but also because for many sufferers the only way they can manage the condition is by restricting their diet. If your life was affected in this way, imagine how great it would be to use your yoga practice to manage this condition.
In thinking about farting, let's not forget there's actually a pose called Wind Relieving Pose – where we lay on our backs and hug our knees into our chests. I have to admit, I am not certain I would be so enthusiastic about students farting if they all decided to fart in this pose as I’m usually right in the line of fire!
So, my key message to you is not to worry if you do fart in class, as a yoga teacher I love it when someone farts in class for two reasons. Firstly, because it means I know the yoga is helping with abdominal health but also because it opens up conversation to, what for many, is a taboo subject. I am not saying I force people to admit they have farted or talk about it, if they are clearly embarrassed, but I feel it helps us accept that farting is something we all do.
So, the next time you are in a yoga class and you feel the approach of a fart, don’t stress about it. We’ve all been there, and your Yoga teacher will appreciate the compliment!
Author: Sally Pearce (sallyjaneyoga)