Did Someone Just Fart in Down Dog?
Farts. I think farts are funny. When a person lets one fly, I have a tendency to laugh out loud. I mean, come on! They’re hilarious! Whether it’s at home or in public, if someone toots, my eight year old self will giggle. I can’t always be a grownup, that’s just way too much effort. As Louis C.K. says “You don’t have to be smart to laugh at farts, but you have to be stupid not to.”
Students fart in yoga class ALL THE TIME! Sometimes you don’t hear it, but you KNOW it happened. Other times it’s as loud as a lawnmower. All of that moving, twisting, bending, and binding is eventually gonna push one out. It’s not a matter of if, but when. Now, how do I handle farts in yoga class? I ignore them. I pretend that my cute little ears didn’t register the ‘under thunder’ happening to my left. I won’t miss a beat with my Sanskrit counts, and I’ll never let on that I know the exact culprit, even though the look of shock and horror on their face is a dead giveaway. Farts happen… Even to yogis!
Binding postures are infamous for revving ones digestion. It is not uncommon for bellies to rumble audibly in poses like Marichyasana C and D. I often hear students accidentally burp when twisting their torsos to the right or left. Of course this happens! When you’re twisting your body into contortionist-like yoga postures, you’re squeezing and stimulating your internal organs in ways that you wouldn’t normally do. Our bodies natural processes get jumpstarted, things start moving, and inevitably gasses are released and sounds are made.
The funny thing is, we’re all so ashamed of this! We’ve been conditioned to think that yogis are flawless creatures, nimble and wise, flexible and thoughtful. We definitely do NOT think of yogis as normal people who accidentally blast a fart bomb in public. But why not? What’s wrong with that? Since when have yogis become so darn perfect?
I’m here to tell ya, they’re not. Yes, some yogis may be nimble and wise, flexible and thoughtful, yet they’re still very human. The yoga practice stirs the body and mind. Sometimes people toot, sometimes they belch. I’ve had students burst into tears while laying in savasana. I’ve heard knees creek as loudly as old floor boards. My voice occasionally cracks like a pre-pubescent boy while singing the opening or closing mantra. I once sneezed mid-teaching, no tissues in sight, and needed to blow my nose in my sweatshirt while everyone was in down dog and couldn’t see (classy). Shit happens! That’s life. I believe it’s important to cut ourselves some slack regarding things we cannot control.
If you happen to fart during yoga, own it! If you burp, you’re doing something right! If you feel like crying, don’t be ashamed. Let yourself. Life is far from perfect and so are we. These small and slightly embarrassing moments mean little within the grand scheme of your yoga practice. The most important thing is that you made it to the mat.
Farts and all.