How to Stop Vaginal Farts During Yoga

An embarrassing situation that can be laughed off and controlled

Women practicing downward facing dog in yoga class
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You're in the middle of yoga class and coming out of plow pose when suddenly a little air passes out of your vagina, making a fart-like sound. It's embarrassing, but rest assured that you are not alone and it happens to many women during yoga.

This inopportune body function is known as a "vart" (short for vaginal fart) and is so common that it's also called a "yoga fart." The good news is that there are ways you can control and possibly prevent it.

The Causes of a Vaginal Fart

Vaginal farts are so frequent in yoga that it's really something to laugh about, which has led to all sorts of clever names. Beyond vart, you may hear it called a queef, fanny fart, daisy pump, or booty burp, among others. It can happen whether you're doing yoga or not and is quite common during sex as well.

The cause is simple. The vagina is an opening in the body and air can get trapped inside. When the air is forced out, it makes a little noise, just like the other type of flatulence. The vart, however, doesn't come with the gassy smell.

The dreaded vart is particularly common in yoga because you're moving your body in and out of various positions. It happens most often when coming out of an inversion. Women who have had children are especially susceptible since pregnancy and childbirth loosen the pelvic floor.

You're Not Alone

The vart can certainly lead to some embarrassment and more than a few women have left yoga class because of it. Instead of giving up your practice or only doing it at home, there are a number of other options. One of the easiest is that you can choose to simply laugh it off.

The human body does all sorts of odd things when it moves in unusual ways and yoga is filled with twists and turns. It's really just one of those embarrassing yoga situations that can happen during your practice. Everyone in the studio has probably experienced it and having a sense a humor is the best approach.

Yet, there are a few tricks you can try out to see if they help prevent it.

Exhale as You Lift

Yoga asanas are connected to your breath and you can do a minor change in your breathing patterns as you go in and out of poses to eliminate excess air in your body. It's a technique explained by Effortless Movement Pilates Studio in Portland, Oregon and can certainly be applied to your yoga practice.

Essentially, the advice is to exhale, rather than inhale, while raising your hips. Instead of sucking in your stomach, you'll use your muscles to draw your navel toward your spine. Exhaling in this way while lifting can reduce the amount of air your body takes in on the movement, eliminating the vart potential.

Mula Bandha

A good technique to work on is called mula bandha. It engages the pelvic floor muscles and trains you to be able to lock them during asanas. Appropriately, it is called the "root lock." 

Mula bandha involves keeping your pelvic muscles tight. It is not a squeezing of the muscles but learning how to pull them in and up. When done correctly, you should be able to feel it in the very lower part of your stomach.

Admittedly, this takes some practice to hold, but it does become easier if you work at it. It is actually a recommended method, especially in Ashtanga yoga, to give your inversions lift, strength, and balance.

The secondary benefit to mula bandha is that it should prevent air from getting in as well as out of your vagina if you can hold it throughout a pose. Many women have found this to be especially helpful when coming out of an inversion.

Kegel Exercises

In addition, you can also try doing Kegel exercises outside of class to strengthen these neglected muscles. This method has been used by men and women after surgery or to help control medical issues like urinary incontinence.

Kegel exercise is something that you can do anytime you have a few moments available to concentrate on moving your muscles. In combination with focused mula bandha, it is possible to gain greater control over your pelvic floor, which may prevent future varts.

While there are devices called Kegel weights or eggs available, they are not recommended. These are promoted to help increase the strength of the vaginal muscles by adding resistance to the exercise. Research has shown that they are no more effective than regular Kegel exercises performed without the aid of a device.

Opt Out of Inversions

If the problem is really mortifying and happens all the time, you can opt out of doing these poses in class. Save them for your home practice while you work on strengthening and controlling your pelvic floor.

Not doing a pose in class is nothing to feel badly about, either. Many women choose not to invert during their periods, for instance, so your avoidance of inversions shouldn’t cause any notice.

Tampons Are Not a Good Idea

Some women have resorted to wearing a tampon if the problem is especially persistent. In theory, this works because you're blocking the vagina, so air cannot escape. However, it's a method that should be discouraged and is only mentioned because you might hear it in the yoga rumor mill.

It is not recommended to use a tampon when you are not menstruating. The misuse of tampons is one cause of toxic shock syndrome (TSS), which is very serious and potentially life-threatening. In the long run, a little embarrassment is a much better option.

A Word From Verywell

Acceptance is a major lesson that comes with a regular yoga practice. Varts are simply one of those quirks that you may have to accept and giggle about or work on one of the suggested techniques. Rest assured that the women on the mats nearby can likely sympathize with you. Above all, don't let a little vart get in the way of enjoying your practice.

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View Article Sources
  • Effortless Movement Pilates Studio. How to Stop Queefing in Pilates Class. Ageless-Pilates.org. 2013.
  • Kashanian M, Shah Ali S, Nazemi M, Bahasadri S. Evaluation of the Effect of Pelvic Floor Muscle Training (PFMT or Kegel Exercise) and Assisted Pelvic Floor Muscle Training (APFMT) by a Resistance Device (Kegelmaster Device) on the Urinary Incontinence in Women. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology. 2011;159(1):218–223. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2011.06.037.