Fanny farts, Varts, Queef, Daisy pumps, front botty-burps (personal fav) are all wonderful terms for one of the most embarrassing occurrences in a yoga class if you have a Vagina.
Vaginal flatulence is a very common phenomenon and can strike any time without warning and when it happens, it happens. There is no point getting up to explain to the class that the noise came out of your vagina and not your rear end, because it doesn’t make it any less embarrassing. All you can do is keep calm and carry on.
I am sorry to inform you but if you have a lady garden then it can happen to you. It happens to the best of us but you are most likely to experience the vaginal fart if you have weak pelvic floor muscles especially after having given birth.
Queefing is caused by a buildup of air in the vagina that has to be released. During sex is a very common time but your yoga practice is not immune to this wonderful bodily function.
There are several yoga positions that invite the Vart, typically inversions. Yes, Shoulder stands, headstand, anything really that takes a lot or deep abdominal and pelvic strength can cause...noise.
How to Prevent or Minimize the Chances
My worst experience with varting happened about 8 weeks after having my son. Luckily, I was at home practicing but the sound and length did stop my partner in his tracks. Three years on and I still experience the odd Yoga Vart but I have found a few things which have helped.
Mula Bandha can be your best ally in combating the queef. By engaging and holding Mula Bandha (the root lock), it is possible to stop the air entering the Vagina in the first place.
Sounds simple but ask any Ashtanga practitioner out there and they will tell you that maintaining Mula Bandha engagement takes a lot of practice. So, start small.
If you know there is a dreaded inversion coming up, make sure you pay extra attention on the internal life and lock. Not only will this reduce the risk or air escaping, it will also give you added strength and balance in your posture.
On Kegel and...Tampons?
Kegel exercises will help you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles giving you and give you control. Although this is not recommended, I know many women who use tampons during their yoga practice to control the pelvic floors muscles and stop the passing of air.
I understand the theory and you can have great success with this method, but tampons come with plenty of baggage of their own which I will not get into now, but think menstrual cup versus tampons and Toxic Shock Syndrome.
Another option can be to use a Kegel tool or weight. This is something that is inserted into the vagina, and due to its weight, the vaginal muscles have to work to hold the foreign object in place and therefore can help to strengthen the area.
Air (no pun intended) on the side of caution as some of these devices are made out of materials you may not wish to have in such close contact with the body. If this is the road you would like to go down, then look for a more natural alternative such as Yoni eggs which are made out of stone.
If it all gets too much and you know which postures are the guilty culprit, then nothing stops you from saving them for the privacy of your own home, if this is something you would prefer. Always remember that your yoga practice is personal and if you feel as if you do not wish to practice a certain asana in class then don’t. No explanation needed.
What to Do When It Happens
You don't have to do anything. If it happens then so what — nine times out of ten, nobody cares and if they do, then they are paying far too much attention to your vagina and not enough on their own practice.
Love yourself like Kanye loves Kanye and don’t let the occasional gust of unwanted wind ruin your practice or day. You can ignore it, laugh it off or even make a joke. It's natural and normal, and if it makes you feel any better — it has happened to me several times whilst I was teaching.
And you know what? I lived to see another day...and vart some more.