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Yoga Can Be Embarrassing

woman in black long sleeve shirt covering her face

How to Manage Less Than Graceful Moments in Yoga

The mind and body are curious and wonderful things. Sometimes we can control both. Sometimes, the body seems to have a mind of its own. Many people experience embarrassing moments in yoga class. In most classes, the lights are low and other participants are focused on their own mind/body connection. You probably noticed the moment much more than anyone else.

Belched or Passed Gas

Sometimes air is expelled from the body when shifting from one pose to the next. These are natural body processes. Nurses often ask about and celebrate gas in certain circumstances, but most people in yoga class do not exactly feel like cheering if gas happens to them.

  • You may wish to simply acknowledge the gas; some have a delightful sense of humor and can break a somber mood when they break wind, or you may wish to ignore it.
  • The people next to you probably had their embarrassing moment in a previous class.
  • You may wish to avoid eating one to three hours before class.
  • The Mayo Clinic offers practical information about what foods tend to cause gas.

Remove Shoes—Are You Kidding

Whether you have holey socks, ugly toenails, or smelly feet, some people dislike the idea of removing shoes.

  • If you have an infectious condition on your foot, best practice would indicate keeping that area covered.
  • Controlling odors may be as simple as wearing breathable shoes and white cotton socks.
  • Some medical problems can cause foot problems, so a visit with your doctor may prove beneficial.
  • Chances are that you will not be banned from class for wearing shoes or for having imperfect feet, so do not hesitate to join the class.

Where is the Bathroom

Nature seems to call at some of the most inopportune times, especially when the instructor picks music with running water.

  • Quietly slipping out of the class is allowed. You may want to check the doorknob on the way out to ensure that it is not locked!
  • You may wish to drink water at least thirty minutes before class and empty your bladder immediately before class.

The Boat Did Not Float and Other Challenging Poses

People who have been practicing yoga for years will readily admit that some asanas are more difficult than others for them. Some find strengthening poses particularly difficult, while others are especially challenged by balance asanas. Some find flexibility to be hard, while many have a hard time relaxing.

  • Practice at a level that is comfortably challenging for you.
  • Ask the instructor for modifications or alternate asanas if needed.

Is Breathing Required

Yoga particularly focuses on breathing, but participants may find it difficult to breathe through the nose. If your nose is stopped up, making strange noises, or running, you will find it easier to breathe through your mouth.

  • If you are ill, you may wish to get some rest before attempting yoga.
  • Check with your healthcare provider and ask your instructor for modifications on any poses that cause shortness of breath.

Always a Pose Behind

Perhaps you are still standing upright while everyone else is bending forward.

  • Move at your own natural pace and in a safe manner.
  • Slower moves may be more beneficial to you.
  • Be kind to yourself and remember that there is no grading in yoga class.

Drat That Cell Phone

In a perfect world, everyone remembers to mute electronic devices during class.

  • Quickly and quietly stepping out and responding to a call would be the rule of thumb.
  • You may wish to change your ring tone to something soothing and quiet just in case you forget to mute the cell in the future.
  • Consider leaving the cell phone in your car. People can call the gym in case of emergencies.

Posed and Can’t Get Up

Many people take yoga in order to increase flexibility and range of motion.

  • Assume a relaxing position if possible and ask for assistance if needed.
  • You may wish to place a chair nearby to help you in rising from the floor.

Only One Person Here Seems to Find This Funny

Some poses seem a bit strange and may even tickle one’s funny bone.

  • If you find yourself laughing in yoga class, chances are that others may join you.
  • You may want to remember Woody Allen’s line that “I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.”


You finally made it to Shavasana and have managed to relax to the point that you fall asleep.

  • Yes, the snoring probably put a smile on a few people’s faces, but those who find relaxation difficult are probably a bit jealous.

Namaste and Other Weird Words

Yoga has a language all its own.

  • If you are unsure of what is going on, feel free to look at the instructor and other participants and follow their lead.
  • You may wish to ask the instructor what various words mean. If you ask not, you learn not.

Yoga and You

You do not have to hide your face, exit the class, and drop your membership to the gym if you have an embarrassing moment in yoga! Think about your motivation for taking yoga in the first place and allow yourself to be human.