Warning to the sensitive souls out there in the blogosphere: If flatulence, farting, or humor offends you, especially mixed with yoga; please refrain from reading. If you are easily humored and are looking forward to a small chuckle, please read onward.
My muscles were sore from lifting that morning, I felt that need for a good stretch. So I got dressed in my handy yoga pants and top, grabbed my green mat, and headed to the gym for yoga class. I was ready and I was nervous.
Yoga is nerve wracking for me. The lights are turned off and music on to create a relaxing environment, I suppose, but for me it enhances anxiety. I cannot see the instructor’s lips and the music combined with her voice, I cannot hear her either. I simply must follow what she does, how she does it. I don’t know the names of any yoga poses, because I cannot hear them. Sometimes in the midst of my yogaing- ungracefully, I may add- the Instructor will calmly and lightly call out instructions to her pupils. I am, unfortunately, usually one of them. So I struggle to read her lips and contort my body in whatever way she’s saying. Maybe I need to arch my back more and stick my butt out. When Miley Cyrus’ twerk enters my brain, I think, nah, maybe I need to square my shoulders… Maybe I need to… A million “Maybe’s” swarm in my head while my body lay in strange positions on the floor. I forget to breathe. I lose my balance. I fall and break the peaceful vibe in the room. I roll over, feeling like a wild beast drawing a long breath after feeding on a carcass. I sweat, writhe, breathe, gasp, stretch, reach… and I squeeze.
I squeeze because the quiet, dark, musical environment isn’t the only thing that makes me anxious. The compounding anxiety that stirs my stomach from light butterflies to flying saucers only enhances my own true, dark and musical problem: Flatulence.
You see, I don’t mind that it’s nice and quiet in those yoga studios. I mind that it’s nice and quiet with other people around me who can hear and smell. Yoga, for a reason unbeknownst to me, gives me terrible, deadly gas. From the moment my body awkwardly contorts to that first yoga position, my buttocks strives to make its music. This is simultaneously embarrassing and hilarious to me.
I feel so tense until that moment I begin to let go and enjoy the yoga pose and I realize my soul isn’t the only thing letting go. When the girl to my right sends a glance my way, I feel defensive and blame others around me. Do you smell that? I mouth in mock horror, pointing with my head to the person in front of us, It’s horrible! She shares my sentiments as my butt continues on her “Letting Go” Elsa rampage and I squeeze. I clench and I strain with all the power my mighty glutes can muster.
Then exhaustion hits and my poor glutes can no longer handle it because the pressure is just too great. The building up around my midsection is so painful that people near me assume I’m pleasantly and respectfully attempting to stifle groans from the long, deep stretches. Sweat has formed a thick layer around me and my bra is soaked and in my exhaustion, I carelessly wave my white stinky flag of surrender and let them fly. I had finally come to terms with my stinky-ness and friendlessness in yoga class that day after a long and exhausting battle. Until my instructor announced something which made all the yogi pupils get off their mats and stand in a small circle with their palms face-out connected to each other with looks of peace on their faces.
My embarrassment intensified as they waved me into the circle and I mindfully tried to steer my rear-end away from them like an out of control sailboat. I’m not sure if it was real or imagined, but their peaceful looks progressively dissipated with my every step. I tightly clenched my tired glutes and core to prevent another toot from further offending the peaceful circle of yogi students. As we joined hands, my shame progressed even further as another one escaped my dark tunnel of redolence. I could see eyes glance around to investigate who the culprit was. I held several curious eye stares, daring them to shift blame to me, balancing in the circle of this insanely, shameful moment.
We began our circle-balancing exercise. Since I was so preoccupied with my stenchiness, I could not hear the name of this pose, so I named it myself Stinky Stargazers. We held each others’ shoulders, with one foot tucked above our knee and balanced in a perfect circle and gazed upward toward where I imagine the stars hanging along with us. Meanwhile, for these few minutes, my buttocks had decided to give me a short reprieve from my reeking shamefulness and I balanced. I balanced! I balanced for the first time that day without any straining, clenching, or offending. I felt free for just that moment and am sure that’s what yoga is supposed to feel like.
You have to remember that even alone, I do not balance well. My internal balance, or lack there of, has made me the most uncoordinated person alive. Any person who knows me can attest to this- especially my hiking friend whom I’ll call Strong Sara. So I balanced, and that’s a huge deal.
When we finally released our balance poses, we got to lie on our backs on our mats and our instructor comes around and says some kind of little chant over us. I cannot hear her so I always close my eyes and just, let loose. I allow my buttocks, for the second time to relax and thankfully, nothing expels. My embarrassment comes to a dignified close as she passes her hands over my shoulders and I drift into a peace for the first time that class.
And the most humiliating and hilarious adventure is perfectly complete.