DEAR HARRIETTE: I have decided to get fit and have begun going to yoga classes. Apparently, a part of the yoga culture is ignoring if someone passes gas in the middle of class! I have just started going to classes in the past month, and these loud gaffes happen roughly every other class. Nothing is said when this happens, and I am baffled. Shouldn't someone always say, "excuse me"? I understand respecting the silence of yoga, but the gas has already interrupted the peace! I am not going to correct someone on her behavior, but I would like to know what the proper etiquette is. Do these unwritten rules of yoga forgive bad manners? -- Confused Yogi, Oneonta, New York
DEAR CONFUSED YOGI: While it surely is unpleasant to be downwind from someone's gas gaffe, I'm sure you know that such utterances are natural. Passing gas happens in the body, in every human body, and often cannot be controlled. This is especially true in a movement class that is designed to relax and strengthen your body as it guides it into alignment.
The reality is that passing gas in yoga class is not bad manners. Yes, it may be awkward and even smelly, but it's not like someone intentionally chose to contaminate the air. I have found that yoga classes can sometimes have a thickness in the air that is a combination of sweat and other bodily odors. Either you learn to live with it or choose a different studio that may have a better air purification system.