Yoga: Farting in Yoga. Is Anyone Farting in Worship?

farting yoga cat
farting yoga cat

People fart in yoga ALL. THE. TIME.  Google "farting in yoga" and you'll see it's a thing. Just to be clear--there is the passing-gas-butt-fart. Then there is the "queeb" or the vagina fart or the vaginal flatulence.

There is no way around farting in yoga. Many of the asanas, or the physical poses in yoga, are designed to aid digestion and to work toxins out of the body.

Poses like hero pose or knee to chest pose help align sphincters and massage internal organs. This means that all that expensive Lululemon gear will not protect you from tooting during a class. You may look cute and you are going to FART.

That's the beauty of yoga. The physical practice pushes and releases toxins, energy, gas, emotions.....everything....out of the body that isn't serving the body. The body is cleansed, re-aligned, and restored during the practice in order to live out a deeper compassion and gentleness in the world. Yoga gets rids of the crap in order for compassion, mindfulness, and awareness to take over.

Hero Pose
Hero Pose

Farting in the name of justice. That's yoga.

Which makes me wonder.....

Is anyone farting in worship? Does liturgy expel, release, push out of our bodies that which isn't serving us? Are we using our bodies in worship to the point that our body releases?

Probably not.

More like worship has us sitting in the pews with our bodies wondering, 'when will this human get up and move so I can get rid of all this #$)(*()# that needs to go?"

What would it be like to have liturgy that makes us fart? I know. It sounds kind of silly just to type that out. But really. What would it mean to have liturgy that makes us sweat, work, take us to our physical edge and the body responds with a release? Could we fart in front of each other and not be embarrassed? Do we have that type of vulnerability in worship? Or would some respond with "we don't do that kind of thing in worship." Or "farting is disrupting MY worship." Or better yet the adult passive aggressive body language could kick-in and we could glare at the farting folk among us.

The sanctuary would certainly smell different. The familiar sounds of worship would change. The conversations afterward would be different. "I totally farted today. Did you hear it during our 3-part harmony of "What Does the Lord Require of Us? My fart hit the beat."

Farting during yoga. It happens. It's supposed to happen. What is supposed to happen and/or not happen with our bodies in worship? Who decides what's supposed to happen with our bodies in worship? What norms have been created in sanctuary space that we only do "certain" things with our bodies? Who created these norms?

Analysis of Pilgrims Lent 2014, part 3 of 3

My last two posts (here and here) focused on the liturgical structure for Lent at Pilgrims. This post focuses on analyzing our liturgy through theory and method. I'm not going to evaluate what worked, what didn't work. These next two posts  is about looking at Pilgrims Lenten liturgy through a conceptual lens (note: I try to keep my posts to 500 words, hence two posts for analysis). Here goes:

Improv: Improvisation is the artistic method that creates a state of saying "yes....and." Improv involves intuition, and spontaneity.  It has structure to create safety in order to take risks. It involves making things from what is at hand, making something out of nothing. Improv is comedy. It's jazz. It's hip hop. It's cooking. It's theater. It's parenting. It's MacGyver and the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew (go, 70's!) fighting the bad guys.

It isn't just one thing--it's many things. Though, I guess, it really isn't a thing. It's a process. It's a way of making and creating.

We had lots of improv in our liturgy during Lent. We used an improv game to create a primary experience of improv. After the storyteller told the Gospel by heart, we did a Biblical tableau. People were invited to call out a particular moment in the story (structure: particular moment in the story) and come up in front of the sanctuary and strike a pose (improv) that reflects that moment. Then others came up and shaped out with their bodies their own interpretation of that biblical moment. One rule (structure)--had to be touching each other via hand, foot, shoulder. Bodies had to touch.

The Biblical story came to life in front of us through risk-taking, vulnerability, and saying "yes" to the invitation to build. Those are in and of themselves Biblical values. Improv creates space for the Holy Spirit to be seen, touched, and experienced.

Deconstructing Power: Power and liturgy go hand-in-hand. Liturgy can affirm hierarchical, dominating, and life-sucking, can't-afford-food-for-my-kids power. Liturgy demands relational power--the kind that creates space for people to connect and feel their own capacity to create Holy change. Deconstructing power means dismantling constructed sources of power.

Like improv, deconstructing power came in lots of ways in our liturgy. One way was moving the furniture out of the way.

Our "created just for this Lent" communion table.
Our "created just for this Lent" communion table.

Read this post for background.  Goodbye pulpit. Hello small, rickety communion table. Hello trying to figure out where to place your body in the space. Liturgical furniture is one way of creating a border--a marking point between preacher and people, liturgist and folk, communion and all who share.

Jeff preached note-less sermons. He moved mindfully around while preaching. I was sick the Sunday I preached. I sat in a chair as close as possible to the front pews. Liturgists stood without the pulpit and had to decide where to stand and place themselves. Gospel storytellers had room to move. We started the call to worship from the back of the sanctuary, at the font, and moved up the aisle to our crosses.

A pulpit gives a visual anchor it also grounds energy, spirit, and power in one place.  Our bodies are in one shape behind the pulpit--standing. The power source is located in one spot. During Lent, our bodies were all over the sanctuary, creating and symbolizing power in it's most shared, relational existence. The is the power of the Gospel stories during Lent.