Sometimes when I am coming out of plow pose, my body suddenly passes air out of my vagina making a fart-like sound. It’s embarrassing when in a room full of other people! I tried keeping my pelvic muscles tight (because this has happened before, though luckily it was in my living room) when lowering my legs down in an attempt to stop this from happening, but no luck. Do you have any suggestions, is something wrong with my insides, and does this happen to other people?
Thank you for your help!
You are suffering from the dreaded vart (that’s vaginal fart). And no, it’s not uncommon to experience this when coming out of an inversion, especially for women after childbirth, which loosens the pelvic floor. You have several possible solutions, and it sounds like you are already trying one of them: mula bandha. This engagement of the pelvic floor muscles isn’t called the root lock for nothing. It should prevent air from getting in as well as out if you can hold it throughout the pose. This takes some practice, but it is actually a recommended method, especially practiced by Ashtanga yogis, to give your inversions lift, strength, and balance. You can also try doing Kegel exercises outside of class to strengthen these neglected muscles.
I have heard that if the problem is especially persistent, some women will wear a tampon in class to prevent it. I can’t endorse this method, as it seems uncomfortable and it is not recommended to use a tampon when you are not menstruating.
Two other options include if the problem is really mortifying and happens all the time, you can avoid doing these poses in class and save them for your home practice. Many women choose not to invert during their periods, so your avoidance of inversions shouldn’t cause any notice. Finally, you can choose to laugh it off. Our bodies do funny things when they are moved in unusual ways (read about more embarrassing yoga situations) and having a sense a humor about it is the best approach.
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