Flatulence, passing gas, tooting, farting. “It” happens to all of us. And, if you attend yoga class regularly it is sure to happen to you during class at some point. In fact, most individuals pass gas between 10-20 times a day. In a one hour practice, there is at least a 50% chance that you will fart during class. You can also be assured that you will not be the only one and that there will most likely be other folks that are silently suffering trying to hold theirs in. Seriously, how many times are you told to release, relax, let it go during a yoga class? It’s bound to happen!
Does Yoga promote tooting? It may, and some poses definitely do. Remember you are doing many forward folds, twists, and movements that massage the digestive tract that may help move things along. Also, many of us practice Yoga to relieve stress and tension in our lives and our bodies. When you are experiencing stress or tension your sympathetic system, or fight or flight system, becomes more active compromising the healthy function of the digestive system. When you practice Yoga, you bring the nervous system into better balance supporting the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the rest and digest system, supporting healthy functioning of the digestive tract and system.
Pavanmuktasana (Supine Knee-to-Chest Pose), also known as wind relieving or wind liberating pose, is a great pose to help relieve the build up of gas in the intestines. I do not remember a class where I have offered this pose and some one did not pass gas. In fact, when some one farts in class, as an instructor, I experience some sense of satisfaction, knowing that the yoga is doing what it’s supposed to do.
So what should you do if you pass gas during a yoga class? Simply remain calm, and carry on. It’s not a big deal. You may even want to revel in the fact that you have successfully relaxed, released, and let it go.
Katey Hawes, owner and founder of Posabilities, Inc., is a physical therapist, registered yoga teacher, and yoga therapist.