Queefing 101: Did I Just Vart During Yoga?
Where are all my ladies at?
My sisters. My mothers. My daughters. My fellow women. It is time. Time to discuss that thing that we all know about, but never talk about.
Gasp! Yes, I know. We aren’t supposed to acknowledge its existence. It’s embarrassing, upsetting, and downright asana-ruining. Right?
Wrong! Ladies, it’s time to stop being afraid of inversions and standing splits. Time to stop avoiding opening up our downward-facing dogs.
It’s time to stand up and declare loudly, “I am Woman! I have a Vagina! Sometimes I Queef!”
A queef, sometimes called a Vart, is the result of air being sucked up into the vagina, usually from some form of upside-down time. Upon returning to an upright position, the body expels that air in a sound that — well — sounds like a fart.
Vart = Vagina Fart. Get it?
It’s oftentimes uncontrollable, and can be loud enough that the entire class hears it. What makes it worse is that once it starts, it’s very difficult to stop your body from continuing to expel all the air (in this, it differs from gas).
This means you can be standing in Yoga class, queefing loudly for 10 seconds, with no way to stop it. So yes, queefing sucks!
I have had students confide in me that they didn’t go to Yoga class for months after they queefed. I have read online forums where women advise other women to do Yoga only at home, so they can queef in privacy. Women have even walked out in the middle of my classes after queefing, without taking Savasana.
Not only can these practices be unsafe (beginners should learn their poses in class, with the guidance of their teacher, and savasana is frequently called the most important Yoga pose), but it just downright sucks. Who wants to be afraid of their body? I know I don’t.
Is there hope? Can we stop this unwelcome creature from rearing its queefy head? Yes!
Preventing the queef actually comes with learning how to do the yogic practice Mula Bandha, or the engagement of the pelvic floor. The gentle squeezing and lifting that goes from the pit of the stomach to the root chakra places enough pressure on the vaginal opening to prevent most queefing.
We can find Mula Bandha by sitting in a comfortable upright position, and engaging the vaginal walls. This is different than just squeezing your butt.
Trust me, you don’t want to squeeze your butt when you’re practicing. You will end up constipated for weeks.
I’ve heard some women liken Mula Bandha to kegels, though it’s a little more drawing in and up, and less squeezing together. When you truly tap into Mula Bandha, you will notice a solid engagement in your lower stomach that you didn’t know you could have.
Many students find this discovery to transform their practices; it really opens up the world of arm balances, core engagement, and safe back-bending.
But sometimes, even when Mula Bandha is engaged, queefing still happens. If you’ve had a child, have naturally wide hips, or are on a particular week of your menstrual cycle, sometimes there’s just nothing you can do. Air gets in. And it’s got to get out.
Oftentimes, sitting on your shins and concentrating on expelling the air can allow it to come out quietly, but sometimes you don’t even know that it’s in there until it makes a queefy appearance. Sit-ups are the worst. Warrior II is a close second.
So the question is, if there is nothing we can do to stop it, what do we do about it?
We embrace it!
Queefing is silly! It’s goofy, and yes, a little embarrassing, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s certainly something that we can laugh about. Part of the asana practice is the dedication to presence — to being in the moment, and experiencing all the pieces that make up the whole. Queefing is just one of those pieces.
So if you queef in class, I invite you to throw back your head and laugh! Remember that it’s something that we all do, and that the woman next to you knows what up. Smile, and rock your asana like the warrior queen you are. No queef can stop your Yoga!
It’s just life, ladies. We got this.