Women and Iyengar Yoga

What’s That Noise in Inversions? Air in Vagina in Inversions…

There is something that happens to many women during Yoga inversions, it can be really embarrassing and it doesn’t get talked about nearly enough. It’s a noise of air, like suction or breaking wind, and it comes from the vagina. It usually happens when we enter or exit the pose, or during the pose as we relax into it, or move around – as in Shoulder Stand and variations when we adjust the pose by shifting our bodies.

If you haven’t experienced it directly, it’s likely that you’ve heard it in your yoga class during hanging Sirsasana or after Shoulder Stand or Halasana, and you may be mystified as to what’s happening. Now is the time to break the silence and shed some light on the matter.

The noise happens during yoga inversions because the lower abdominal muscles, which stretch and soften inside these poses, increase the space inside the vagina, which draws air inside the body. When you move in the pose more air can come in or it can get pushed back out again, as happens when you exit, and this also makes this noise. It can also happen for a while afterwards if all the air was not eliminated in coming out from the pose. This can be surprising and embarrassing, as well as loud, if you are not expecting it.

A combination of factors makes this noise happen, which is why it doesn’t happen to all women or all of the time. It depends on the shape and stretch of the abdominal muscles and of the vaginal muscles. It also more or less likely to happen at different stages of the menstrual cycle, as the womb moves higher or lower in the body, and so the position of the muscles changes.

You may be in the category of women who have experienced this partially, but have prevented it from happening by tightening your body in the pose. In fact, some schools of yoga advocate a tightening of the pelvic muscles, or performing of the mula bhanda, to prevent this air coming in and out. At the HIYC WE CATEGORICALLY DO NOT. Our Hatha Yoga practice is about knowing where to act and knowing where to allow the body to do its thing. This noise of the air movement in and out is definitely our body doing its thing and is a perfectly natural and normal phenomenon. In fact it is cleansing the vaginal area. Therefore, if it happens it is because this is how your body is now, in the present moment, and what it needs. If it does not happen, also fine, your body does not need this.

The main point is not to be embarrassed and to relax. Sometimes, when you really relax in the pose, the air passes in and out like a second breath in time with our breathing moving the abdominal muscles. The more you relax the more easily the air will pass in and out and the less likely it is to make a loud noise. However, if it does make a noise, just smile, it is happening to at least half the women in the class…

This air movement in and out of the body is not limited to the women in inversion poses because it can also happen on the anus as air can enter and exit there too, which has a similarly cleansing effect. Therefore, it can in fact happen to men and women alike.

Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre
Maria Chandler

“Speak Out & Get Self-Healed“
The Art of Differentiation

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