How to Stop Queefing in Pilates class
For the uninitiated, let’s just answer the obvious question upfront. When someone says “queef, ” they mean “the expulsion of air from the vagina.” To put it bluntly, it’s a vaginal fart. I cannot believe I actually wrote that. But, when it comes to queefing in Pilates or yoga classes, we kinda have to go there, because it’s a common occurrence. And, I’d rather explain how to avoid it than have you skip class because it’s happening.
FART vs. QUEEF
A traditional fart happens when your body produces intestinal gas and, for one reason or another, it comes out. Sometimes loudly. Performing a “Pilates scoop” or drawing your navel toward your spine can create enough pressure to push the gas out. Since the scoop is essential to engaging your abdominals, don’t leave it out — you’re better off paying attention to avoiding foods that cause gassiness.
Good news: the queef is an entirely different animal. Your vagina does not create gas or extra air while you’re digesting food. So where does the air come from? Your breathing pattern. I know, weird. Once you have extra air in there though, the mechanics are much the same as for the traditional fart — scoop your lower abs inward, and bingo, you have an expulsion of air. And, sometimes…it’s loud enough for others to hear. Woops!
THE UNFORTUNATE BREATH PATTERN
I’ll tell you a secret — normally, I tell new Pilates clients not to worry too much about breathing. Focus first on the movement, and then in a bit, I’ll show you how the breath can change everything. One day, a new client beat me to the punch. During the short spine exercise on the reformer, she asked me, “How do I do this without queefing?” Oh Lordy, some days are more interesting at work, aren’t they?
Her question was actually a telltale sign that she was breathing incorrectly during this exercise. For the sake of those trying to avoid queefing in a Pilates mat class or any yoga class, let’s break this down with a more common exercise: bridging.
Here’s what happens when you breathe incorrectly:Step 1: lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Step 2: INHALE and suck your stomach in as you lift your hips up. The lifted hip position combined with the “suck it in” breath creates the perfect storm for a queef — you’ve just told your body to draw air into your vagina.
Step 3: EXHALE and scoop your belly in as you drop each vertebra individually to the mat. Lucky you, that compressed belly will now force all the extra air out of your va-jay-jay. And a bonus: since no one’s vagina fully closes off when squeezed, no matter how hard you try, you can’t stop a queef.
THE QUEEF-PROOF BREATH PATTERN
This is so simple, yet it will eliminate the queef in 100% of exercises, whether you’re doing Pilates, yoga or calisthenics.
Let’s try bridging again:
Step 1: lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Step 2: draw your navel toward your spine and EXHALE as you lift your hips up off the mat. So, the only difference here was your breath — you didn’t “suck in” your stomach, you used your muscles to draw it in.
Step 3: INHALE and scoop your belly in as you drop each vertebra individually to the mat. I know that sounds weird, but your lungs really will expand sideways if they need the space.
Any time you lift your hips higher than your ribcage, you’re in a position that can draw air into your vagina — the movement of your organs sliding toward your head causes a vacuum. When you add an inhale, you turn up the suction power. Add a belly scoop and you’ve turned up the suction power again.
Now that you have a vagina full of air, any folding action or compression in your mid-section will expel it.
To avoid queefing, all you need to do is EXHALE as your hips raise up. Once you’re in a lifted position, you can breathe normally, but avoid “sucking your stomach in.” Use muscle-action to support your mid-section, not “sucking.”
This breath trick works whether you’re lying face-up and lifting your hips toward the sky in bridge-like poses or you’re kneeling face down and lifting your hips up to say, kick up into a handstand.
COMMON QUEEF-INDUCING PILATES EXERCISES
- Boomerang (mat)
- Bridge (mat)
- Hips-up Bicycle (mat)
- Hips-up Scissors (mat)
- Jack knife (mat)
- Roll over (mat)
- Shoulder Bridge (mat)
- Bridge/Pelvic Lift (reformer)
- Long Spine (reformer)
- Overhead (reformer)
- Semi-circle (reformer)
- Short Spine (reformer)
- Airplane aka Magician (Cadillac)
COMMON QUEEF-INDUCING YOGA POSES
Inversions. Yup, all of ’em.
- Shoulder Stand
About the Author
Christine Binnendyk is the creator of the Ageless Pilates and Barre Fitness workout programs, taught exclusively at Nike’s World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.. Nike employees take her Pain Free Body, Pain Free Athlete and Pain Free at the Office workshops at the Nike Sports Centers. Public workshops are available through Portland Community College, Club Sport Oregon and the Warrior Room. Find her best-selling book “Ageless Pilates” on Amazon.