The Yoga Fart

Of course the model is a bearded hipster. Source: Zazzle

I’m almost impressed I haven’t covered this topic yet. Sometimes, I really try to take this blog seriously, discussing important matters like Ayurveda and meaningful postures. But for those of you who know me in person, I also have this sick fascination with bodily functions, and farts are definitely included.

I had the great fortune of listening to Neal Pollack read excerpts from his book Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude at the Yoga Expo a couple weeks ago. I recently got my copy from Amazon, so I’m in the middle of reading the whole thing on my own.

One of the last stories he shared with us from the book was about unfortunate in-class farting incidents. At this point in the presentation, I was half-crying, giggling like a third grader and trying not to Liz myself (30 Rock reference). I think many of us – men and women – have found ourselves in a similar situation, and I wanted to offer some insight into how to avoid farting in class AND how to take advantage of yoga to relieve gas.

How to Avoid Farting in Class

Neal mentioned this in his book as well, but what you eat before class (or even the night before) can affect your gastrointestinal system. Maybe lay off the Fiber One bars, tacos, and giant milkshakes until you have a day off from a public practice.

Take it easy on the twists. Wringing out your intestines are a surefire way to make noise in class.

Get connected with mula bandha, aka root lock. As Kino MacGregor explained mula bandha at a workshop, it’s doing all of the following: contract your anus, contract your uterus (men, just pretend you have a uterus), draw your genitals up and into your body, squeeze your urethra, suck in your belly, lift the pelvic floor and imagine all of these points are being pulled taut in the middle of your pelvis. It’s a lot of hard work, but if you can strengthen your mula bandha, you’re keeping your farts in!

If you’re feeling the bubbles gurgle before you leave the house though, then try these tips…

How to Take Advantage of Yoga to Relieve Gas

Happy Baby. I do this one on the kid when his tummy sounds like a taiko drum. Something about the legs spread apart and knees pulled in that puts the right amount of pressure on the belly and allows enough room for escape. Then, rock the legs and hips side to side. Farts galore.

Plow posture and supta konasana (reclining angle pose). Legs overhead, pressure on the belly from the inversion, and the gas seems to rise all on its own.

Sometimes downward dog can let some escape with your rear in the air and thighs spiraling inward.

Seated balances, especially ones where you roll up from a supine position. The rolling action plus the use of core muscles once you’re up and balancing do a number on the intestines.

Okay, I’ll try to keep the fart talk to a minimum in the future.

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