If it weren't for the deep breathing, quiet studios, and butt-in-the-air positions, farting in a yoga class would be a lot less awkward. One moment you're relaxing into a happy baby pose, and the next you're accidentally exhaling through the wrong end of your body, and praying you can escape while everyone is in savasana. No matter how zen and graceful your yoga peers might seem, no one is immune to this physiological function.
The reason why it's common to fart in yoga class comes down to two factors: relaxation and stretching. We know that flatulence is caused by a buildup of gas in the digestive tract, according to MedlinePlus. The amount of gas one person creates depends on lots of things, including the foods they eat. Everyone creates and passes gas, in general, some just have an easier time holding it in during yoga class.
It doesn't help that many yoga postures are intended to aid in digestion and specifically help you pass gas, explains Kyle Filley, a yoga instructor in Brooklyn. For example, yoga poses that involve twisting are known for releasing pressure and pent-up gas. There's also a yoga pose that's literally called "Wind-Relieving Pose," or Pavanamuktasana, he adds. To do it, you lie on your back and hold onto one of your shins. Some yoga experts say that this "massages the abdominal organs," which expels gas in the digestive tract. The manual pressure that the pose puts on the abdomen may also trigger a release of gas.
If this tends to happen to you in any pose, then it's totally fine from a yoga etiquette perspective to excuse yourself to the restroom if you know it's coming and want privacy, Filley says. "It may actually be more respectful of other people, especially if you are in a crowded room," he says. And if you can't save it soon enough, then it's your call how to handle it. "Just be yourself: might mean you laugh it off, or you're more serious and want to just move on," he says. As we've said before, farting is totally normal, and really nothing to be embarrassed about, even when it happens in a semi-public setting like a yoga class.
Regardless of your own personal feelings towards farting, it's important to remember that yoga is all about "realizing that the body is constantly shifting," Filley says. "Part of practicing being kind to your body can be farting when you need to," he adds. "Knowing it is natural and the moment will pass helps."
In other words, if you want to get the most out of your yoga class, it might mean farting every now and then. And if you absolutely can't sit with yourself after you let one slip in a pigeon pose, then passing it off as an omm is probably your next best bet.