Chances are you have heard or smelled a toot from one of your neighbors in yoga class—and admit it; sometimes that neighbor was you. If your gut reaction is embarrassment, understand that this is entirely, 100% normal. It is actually healthy to pass gas anywhere from 10-20 times a day on average,1 and even more so during the twists, turns and stretches of yoga.
Here is a little Q & A about why passing gas during yoga happens, and what you can do about it:
Why do I pass gas in the first place?
It all starts in the gut. The kinds and amounts of food you eat, the types of flora in your gut, when you eat, your physical activities, your body’s natural rhythms—they all add up to how often you pass gas. In fact, some very healthy foods are thought to increase flatulence (like legumes and many vegetables2). But that does not mean you should avoid them. Yoga is all about being kind to yourself and your body, and your diet is an important part of that.
What should I do if I pass gas during yoga class?
Let it pass—physically and emotionally. Many yoga instructors suggest tuning your reaction to the temperament of the class. If it is a lighthearted environment, just laugh it off. Otherwise, just keep going and accept that you and everybody else in the class is human and that gaseous bodily emissions are part of the deal; especially when many yoga poses are actually designed to massage and stimulate internal organs in your gut.
What should I eat before yoga to avoid passing gas?
Ask your yoga instructor for suggestions. You are not the first, and you will not be the last to ask, worry or wonder about this. So just relax. Generally speaking, instructors recommend not eating anything for about 2 hours before class except maybe some water, juice or a small piece of fruit or a few nuts. Not only will this give you time to expel excess gas buildup before class, it will help you avoid nausea also.
1. Rentel, Victoria, MD. "Farting - How Much Is Normal and What Can I Do About It?" The Ohio State University. 2014
2. Winham, Donna M; Hutchins, Andrea M. "Perceptions of Flatulence from Bean Consumption Among Adults in 3 Feeding Studies." Nutrition Journal. 2011.