I was in a yoga class last week. Like so many places in Singapore these days, it was very crowded. You couldn’t do a Wonder Woman spin without hitting someone. I always wonder where all these people come from. Plus it was a weekday and all I could think about was why they weren’t all at work earning their CPF instead of doing a downward facing dog.
Anyway, there we all were flat on our backs, with our legs up in the air attempting to achieve the plough, which is a tricky position that requires legs to be flipped over heads without breaking your neck.
“This is very effective if you’re suffering from any energy blockages,” the yoga teacher droned over the soft sitar music.
I was starting to feel a little dizzy when someone behind me let rip a sustained bubbling fart.
Just like that, a room of 25 people, already not saying anything much on account of the very unnatural position they were in, became very still.
My first instinct was to exclaim, “Oh my God!”, but I couldn’t because the other thing about a plough position is that it’s very effective at closing off your vocal chords.
But apparently this restriction doesn’t affect everyone because a strangled voice managed to croak, “I’m so sorry about that! I’m just feeling very gassy!”
A few rows away, Amanda’s voice floated up. “Seriously Saf, that is so gross!”
“I think it’s all that rojak I’ve been eating!” Saffy’s disembodied voice came back. “I guess it wasn’t a good idea to come to yoga today, but honestly, it’s fine! My farts are only lightly scented!”
“That’s what you think!” Amanda said, her vocal projection remarkably strong despite her vulnerable position.
Later that afternoon, over a much needed afternoon tea at the Ritz-Carlton, the girls were still bickering.
“I don’t think I can ever go back to that class,” Amanda moaned as she picked at her smoked salmon sandwich.
“Well, you didn’t have to say anything, you know!” Saffy told her. “If you’d just kept quiet, no one would have known that you knew me! I was just addressing my apology to the class in general! And anyway, it’s not as if I’m the only person in the entire history of yoga to have farted in a plough position!”
“What I don't get,” Amanda said, completely ignoring Saffy’s defence, “is why you didn’t stop after the first note!”
Saffy paused, her fork full of cake poised halfway to her open mouth. “What do you mean stop?” she asked eventually.
“Well, I get that the first pop would have taken you by surprise,” Amanda said slowly in a tone that she normally only uses with waiters who don’t know the difference between a merlot and a melon, “but as soon as you realized you’d done the first note, why didn’t you just…well…hold the rest in!”
Saffy looked astonished. “Hold it in?” Her magnificent bosom swelled. “Are you mad? Do you know how bad for your health that is?”
“How can holding a fart in be bad for your health? People do that all the time! I’m sure the Queen of England doesn’t go around farting in public!”
“Oh, please,” Saffy said as she stabbed at a chocolate éclair. “They’re always playing such loud band music whenever she shows up for a party, she could fart all night and people would think it was the trombone section!”
Sharyn thinks it’s just remarkable that at a time when the world is threatened by all kind of terrorism, infectious diseases and scandalous leaked nude pictures, we’re talking about the health benefits of farting.
“You all very free, is it?” she asked, her eyes unnaturally enlarged behind her Coke bottle-thick spectacles. “And anyway, who ask you eat so much rojak and then go and do yoga? Sure got fart, one, what!”
“Well, I hope no one is expecting me to give up rojak!” Saffy said stoutly. “I’d rather die!”
“Wah, you very drama, hor? Give up rojak, doh-wan. Hold your fart in, oh-so doh-wan! How like that?”
“I can’t help it if I have weak pelvic muscles!” Saffy told Sharyn.
“You need to do more Kegel exercises,” Barney Chen advised Saffy. “It’ll also make you very popular with the boys, I promise you! And the good thing about it is,” he added, flexing his absurdly muscular chest, “you can do it anywhere. I’m doing it now as we speak!”
Meanwhile, Amanda has changed to a different yoga class. “Imagine if we were in an aqua-aerobics class! She’d turn the pool into a giant Jacuzzi!”
“Aiyoh!” Sharyn said.