As I pointed my legs toward the ceiling, pressed my hands into my lower back for support, and balanced my weight on my shoulders, my focus was split between not wearing a tight enough sports bra and not being the girl who farts courtesy of the green curry she ate the night before.
It was my first time at yoga, and I was trying to look like I belonged in my beginners’ class. As lifelong runner with a history of running-related injuries, I wanted a calmer workout to incorporate into my routine, along with a way to battle anxiety.
I was convinced that all of the hot bitches toting yoga mats on the subway were onto something, so I figured it was worth trying. I found a studio that was a five-minute walk from my Brooklyn apartment and was ready to get my Zen on.
It was near the end of the class when the instructor told us to get ready for sarvangasana, which I learned meant, “shoulderstand.” She demonstrated and I remembered doing something similar as a kid in my dancing school days. No problem, I thought.
With my shoulder stand pose intact and my confidence starting to build as I pointed my toes even further upward, something else was apparently building up as well. Then it happened.
And it wasn't one of those cute, quiet, airy "pfttt" ones, either. It vibrated right through the crotch of my little black spandex shorts and off of the studio’s four walls so loudly that I knew my fellow yogis were questioning if my Thai food grew legs and walked its way out the back door. I wasn’t sure if the truth was better or worse because either way, EW.
By definition, a queef is a vaginal fart. It happens when air is trapped and then expelled through the vagina. It also occurs without warning, unlike the pressure we feel moving toward our anus to alert us that it’s time to clench our butt cheeks and hope for the best.
I immediately looked to my left to see if the lady next to me heard my labial war cry, but she showed zero warning signs. To my right, a fellow 20something kept her perfect poise, clearly not letting my sound effects alter her focus.
I tried my hardest to play it cool with my face on fire as I dug deep for any scrap of pride and concentration I still had. Since we were supposed to stay in sarvangasana for two straight minutes, I pretended nothing happened as I placed my body weight into my shoulders and gave lifting my legs toward the sky another shot.
The instructor began making her way around the class to observe our positions, letting some people know they had perfect form while telling others they could elongate just a little further to achieve a more proper pose.
As she grew closer to me, my body tensed. I clenched my ass as hard as I could, somehow believing that it would close off every hole below my belly button. I reassured myself that the incident was a one-off and there was no way that it could happen again.
Just breathe, I reminded myself. You’ve got this. All I had to do was go through the motions, finish the session, and I’d be at boozy brunch soon to forget this even happened.
Or not. Of course my vag couldn’t make things easy. I queefed AGAIN.
Mortified that a second fart sound came from my body in less than a minute, sweat dripped down my already moist back as I examined the people closest to me for a second time. Left lady was old enough to be my grandma, but there was no way she was that hard of hearing.
The entire class had to have known that the new kid on the block was the culprit, but no one acknowledged the queef queen in the room.
With my blood literally rushing to my head in my current stance, I thought I was actually going to pass out, partly from being upside down but mostly from embarrassment.
As the yoga instructor let us know that we could begin to lower ourselves back down to our mats, my vagina decided to confirm that things often occur in groups of three. With a third and final queef to add to my collection of the past two minutes, I decided yoga wasn’t for me.
Yoga was supposed to help me relax, but I wanted to die as class ended with everyone saying Namaste. My sense of self-awareness was definitely heightened, but in all of the wrong ways. I was going to be a yoga dropout who could never really explain the real story of why I never went back.
The only thing spiritual about my experience was praying to the Universe that I wouldn’t queef again.
Naturally, I was the first person out of the studio and I sprinted home. At brunch, I told my friend Jackie about my yoga horror story, and not even six mimosas could help drown my humiliation.
Given that my adventures in queefing had been minimal before popping my yoga cherry, I rationalized that my body just wasn’t meant to be in such odd positions, especially in front of other people. I decided to stick to running, my sport of solitude, where all anyone in proximity could hear is the air I expel in and out of my mouth.
Later in the year, I ran the New York City Marathon, which was my debut attempt at 26.2 miles. After 16 weeks of training harder than I ever had for anything, my body was also more exhausted than it had ever been. I had barely done any cross training and was dealing with discomfort in my right hip in the two weeks leading up to the race.
A chiropractor I visited told me that yoga was the best thing for me, and that once the race was over, I should give it a try to allow my body to get its groove back.
I left his office thinking that if I could train for and run a marathon, then I could probably give yoga a second try, too. I took three months off from running and working out altogether and revisited the idea of yoga. With almost a full year since I vagina farted my way through my first class, it was time to try again.
A few months ago, I made my triumphant return but at a different yoga studio in my neighborhood, because DUH. Luckily, the word “sarvangasana” hasn’t come up yet, because I don’t want to find another studio anytime soon.