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Embarrassing Yoga Questions

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Updated April 01, 2012

1. 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. We're all adults here, and farting is perfectly natural. I say, 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 dead serious, pretend that nothing untoward has occurred. And maybe think about skipping those beans at lunch next time.

2. 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 vaginal fart). Lucky for you, Aunt Yoga has addressed this issue at length.

3. Someone in my regular yoga class has really 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. While you work on achieving this ideal, try situating yourself across the room from the yogi with the stink on.

4. Every yoga class I attend seems to be a big 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 eating a sandwich). See the answer above regarding pratyahara. If you find yourself unable to avert your gaze, might as well enjoy the show.

5. 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 will probably 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.

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

It is perfectly all right 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.

7. 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: Find a new teacher; position your mat next to the most attractive and/or least sweaty stranger in the class; bring your own (attractive, nonsweaty) partner; or learn to love it. Also remember that you are someone else's sweaty stranger too.

8. 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 comes by this reputation honestly, these days everyone from doctors to CEOs is embracing it. So, no, yoga will 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?

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