Yoga Farts and Other Embarrassing Topics

Embarrassed Yogi
Jean Moss/Photolibrary/Getty Images

When you join a yoga class, there are many things that you will experience beyond the poses and asanas your teacher instructs you in. Some of these can be rather embarrassing, including the occasional "yoga fart." 

Common Embarrassing Yoga Questions

You may not want to ask your teacher or classmates about such matters, so we'll do our best to help you out with the most common (and awkward) questions about yoga.

I always seem to be farting in yoga class. Is there anything I can do?

Passing gas while practicing yoga is actually very common (prenatal yoga classes are the worst). You're moving your body in ways that will stir up your guts, which is a good thing. The side effect is that it can cause anyone to pass gas on occasion. We're all adults here, and farting is perfectly natural.

What you can do is gauge the mood of the class and act accordingly—just like you would at, say, a cocktail party. If the class is light-hearted and casual, you might humorously acknowledge your emission. If the teacher and students are deadly serious, pretend that nothing untoward has occurred. You might even consider your pre-yoga diet and think about skipping those beans at lunch next time.

Sometimes when I come out of an inversion, my body suddenly passes air out of my vagina making a fart-like sound. How can I put a stop to this embarrassment?

Ah, the dreaded vart (that's a vaginal fart). This is just as common as a normal fart and nothing to be overly embarrassed about. There are, however, a few things you can do to try preventing farts, though there are no guarantees.

Someone in my regular yoga class has heinous body odor. How can I get him to improve his personal hygiene?

Instead of trying to change someone else, see if you can work on changing yourself. The yogic principle of pratyahara means "withdrawal of the senses." You should try to be so immersed in your own practice that you are not disturbed by outside sights, noises, or even smells.

Pratyahara takes time and practice. While you work on achieving this ideal, try situating yourself across the room from the yogi who's a little odiferous.

Every yoga class I attend seems to be a thong show. Why is the thong the undergarment of choice for yoginis?

Many women find a thong to be the most comfortable underwear when exercising (or in everyday life). See the answer above regarding pratyahara and do your best to ignore the show. Who knows, you might even try it yourself to see if it's truly more comfortable.

I really like my yoga class, but I can't stand the music my teacher plays. What should I do?

You can certainly voice your opinion to your teacher, though it may be best to request no music rather than to object to his taste. Some yoga teachers play music, others do not. You may want to look around for a teacher who doesn't use music.

What should I do when nature calls in the middle of a yoga class?

It is perfectly acceptable to leave class for a few minutes to attend to your bodily functions. There is no need to ask the teacher's permission to go to the bathroom. 

The best time to go is when there is a period of rest, either in child's pose or downward dog. You will not earn your teacher's respect if you routinely dodge out during difficult poses or skip part of savasana.

My teacher loves to call for partner stretches, but I'm not happy about pairing up with a sweaty stranger. What should I do?

You have a few options when it comes time for partner stretches. You can find a new teacher or position your mat next to the most attractive and/or least sweaty stranger in the class. You might also invite your own partner to class, such as a friend you don't mind sharing sweat with. The last option is to simply learn to love it. Also, keep in mind that you are someone else's sweaty stranger, too.

I love yoga. Does this make me a hippy?

Once upon a time, yoga outside of India was most often done on communes by vegetarians. Although yoga came by this reputation honestly, these days everyone from doctors to CEOs is embracing it.

So, no, yoga does not make you a hippy. But it can perhaps begin to tinge your everyday life with an attitude of peace and kindness. And is that really so wrong?

A Word From Verywell

Yoga tends to foster a close-knit community and most people are willing to help newcomers. Feel free to ask your instructor or another student in the class you trust about things you may be a little embarrassed about. It's very likely that you're not the only one with these questions and most are just a normal part of the practice.