Yep. You read that right.
Today is the day we celebrate that awkward thing we all do — pass gas. It’s not the most fun thing to talk about or experience, especially in a quiet yoga studio filled with students. But let’s be honest, it happens. It’s natural, even if it’s embarrassing. I’ve had many students, especially those new to yoga, ask if it’s normal to, uh, you know, uh, pass gas during class.
The answer is a resounding, “Yes!” It is extremely common. So common, in fact, that it barely registers to me when students do it. We’re twisting, bending, stretching, and using our core, so of course it happens. It does become less frequent with more yoga practice and if you don’t eat at least two hours before class.
And there’s actually a pose for it.
Wind relieving pose, or pavanamuktasana. That’s pavana, meaning “air” or “wind”; mukta, meaning “freedom” or “release”; and asana, meaning “pose”. In addition to helping release painful bloating and gas, this pose strengthens the core, tones the arms and legs, improves circulation in the hips, and eases tension in the back. (Note: You should not practice this pose if you are recovering from abdominal surgery, have a hernia, or have a spinal cord injury.)
- Lie on your back with your legs straight and arms beside your body.
- Breathe in and as you exhale, bring your right knee towards your chest. Interlace the fingers around the shin (or use a strap) and press the thigh into your abdomen.
- Breathe in again and as you exhale, lift your head and chest off the floor and raise the nose toward or to the knee. Hold there for several breaths.
- As you exhale, release the head and shoulders to the floor.
- Inhale and on your next exhale, release the right leg to the floor.
- Repeat this pose with the left leg and then with both the legs together.
May the wind always be at your back,