Reclaiming your right to pleasure
With the growing awareness in woman's health and female sexual expression we see feminine care making it's debut on the world of social media. Blogs, youtube channels, and metaphysical stores are all beginning to showcase yoni eggs and herbal mixtures for your bits demonstrating a beautiful shift in human consciousness. Woman are now being accepted to express themselves sexually - embracing their right to pleasure.
As a culture, we are moving out of the dark ages when woman were called "easy" and/or "fidget" and are starting to recognize them as the human beings they are, with desires and needs of their own. Woman are now able to embrace their sexuality as an aspect of life, remembering their right for equality through life's simple natural pleasures and noticing that they do not "owe" anyone any part of their body no matter how they would like to show it off. I would also like to note that in many areas of the world woman as a demographic, are repressed and do not have the opportunity I, and probably you have. Many woman are still being mutilated of their bits and will never get access to half of the opportunities I will. My hopes in stating this, is to address the privilege I have and to bring to light the inequality of woman globally in hopes that we, as the privileged collective will eventually, make the change to bring forth more opportunities to those in need.
As someone who has experience my own story of sexual and physical trauma I always had difficulty allowing myself to feel good. It was through yoga I began to realize how blocked and constricted my body had become over my childhood and teens. I want everyone reading this to understand trauma no matter how large or small blocks you energetically. Your body holds it until it has the time to resurface and leave. Until then it will show up in your other bodies, the emotional, the spiritual and eventually if left untreated, the physical. There is many different practices we can begin to incorporate into our self-care routiens to reclaim our right to creativity, spontaneity and pleasure through unblocking and nurturing our sacral chakra and yoni steaming is by far one of my favourites!
So lets get to the good stuff shall we?
Yoni steaming has been around for thousands of years and dates back to many traditional cultures around the world most notably within the Mayan traditions. Traditionally, is was used in aiding in PMS, infertility, fibroids and other female aliments. Yoni steaming works through allowing the steam of a herbal infusion to gently cleanse, soften and relax your bits. The steam of the herbal infusion contains volatile oils (essential oils) of the herbs chosen, which depending on the herbs, will have different medicinal properties. The steam itself brings circulation and blood flow to your womb and bits, boosting natural healing while also promoting a deep relaxing sensation for you while encouraging you to come into a state of being and receiving. It is most effective as a practice right before your period to encourage your menses, or after to help support your bodies natural detoxification.
Benefits of yoni steaming that woman have reported are as follows:
You sold yet?
Please note it is advised that due to the excess heat yoni steams produce those expecting or have any sort of open wound and those menstruating should not practice yoni steaming and there is insufficient studies as to whether practicing with an IUD would cause the IUD to move. Many of the herbs used to cleanse the womb are emmenagogues and therefore are also abortives. It is also advisable to not practice yoni steaming while having any sort of outbreak, (i.e. yeast, herpes, bacterial) but can be used as preventive measures. Please talk with a trained herbalist or medical professional if yoni steaming is right for you.
So how do you begin?
I like to personally start my ceremony with an intention, maybe I would like to incorporate some more softness in my womb, or clear a past experience energetically. Whatever it is I strongly advise you to get clear on what has brought you to this practice, as with any great action we need a clear intention.
After it's time to pick out some herbs!
If your city has a natural food store or herbal dispensary then they will probably have some herbs to choose from. If not, you can always go online and order bulk. I would choose high quality, either wild harvested or organically grown herbs.
Here are some ideas of herbs that are safe to use in a yoni steam. Please remember its actually the volatile oils in the herbs that will be extracted by the steam. In general herbs with more smell have more volatile oils and are usually antimicrobial having either antibiotic, antiviral and/or anti fungal effects but it depends on the specific herb. Below I have also include herbs that are good for female aliments when taken internally but wanted to be clear many of these constituents won't be extracted by the steam. Yet, I do not underestimate the power of intention and ceremony. I believe by adding these herbs when understanding their energetics and their long ethnobotanical use helps one harness the herbs power into their ceremony.
Rosa officinalis (Rose petals) : Rose is antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, astringent and a natural aphrodisiac. It's very uplifting to the emotions and has a very sensual, fragrant smell (high volatile oils) which can be used to calm restless minds.
Matricaria chamomilla (Camomile) : Camomile is very soothing to the mind and body. Camomile has anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antibacterial, astringent qualities and has tons of volatile oils.
Rubus ideaus (Red Raspberry Leaf) :
Famously known for its nutritive qualities for woman during pregnancy and PMS this astringent, anti-spasmodic herb is an excellent asset to bring into your yoni steam. Although this herb is best taken as a tea for weeks before we can see scientific measurable results it can also be used to simulate a great connection to the feminine spirit due to its long historical use for feminine aliments.
Lavandula (Lavender) : Lavender is anti-inflamatory, soothing and sensual. It has antiseptic, calming and anti-viral properties and the votile oils have been said to easy anxiety and depression.
Origanum vulgare (Oregano) : Used traditionally for its medicinal antimicrobial properties this strong herb is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-fungal and anti-viral. Said to encourage the onset of menses.
Calendula officinalis (Marigold) : Marigold is well known as an antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial, vulnerary herb excellent for soothing skin conditions. Calendula is excellent for those healing from any sort of scar tissue and/or fungal infection.
Ocimum tenuiflorum (Holy Basil) : Holy Basil is antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and a natural analgesic. This is an amazing herb to have as a cup of tea for all those warm fuzzy feels during your yoni steam!
Artemisia vulgaris (Mugwort) : Used internally to promote menses and calm anxiety this tonifying, nutritive, nervine has been used for thousands of years to help woman through PMS and emotional aliments.
Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) : Vulnerary, antimocrobrial and aromatic. Rosemary is most well known for its ability to treat bacterial infection while inhibiting fungal growth. It is also beneficial in stimulating menstruation.
Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) : Astringent, tonifying and cleansing. Yarrow is great for modulating menses, helping to encourage your flow yet decreases excessive bleeding. Yarrow is also useful when one is wanting to cleanse their whomb energetically and physically. It's been said to help in treating ovarian cysts and is wonderful in supporting overall feminine health.
Mitchella repens (partridge berry) : A diuretic, emmenagogue, and styptic herb. Partridge berry is known for its traditional use in PMS, pregnancy, birth and post-partum. Partridge berry helps to decease severe menstrual pain, encourages your menses and promotes healthy detoxification in the body. Traditionally it has also been used to help treat infertility and ease sore nipples after birth. Please note do not use any herbs when pregnant or breastfeeding without proper medical advice from a trained herbalist.
Leonurus cardiaca (Motherwort) : Used traditionally to help modulate menses through relaxing and tonfiying to the womb. This herb helps to onset missed or irregular periods and eases menopause symptoms when taken internally. It's both astringent and relaxing to the uterus and may help treat uterine fibroids. Motherwort also has antimicrobial properties.
Now after you have chosen your herb(s) you need to boil some water and get a bowl ready. Pick a small/medium sized bowl in which hot water can be held. I use a pyrex glass bowl thats about 3inch high and 6inch wide in diameter. You want to be in a dress or skirt or have a blanket you can put around you. Some woman prefer to disinfect their toilet and use this method as-well. Add your herbs, you will want about one teaspoon per cup of water and add the boiling water to the bowl.
Then adjust to a comfortable position. I personally get some pillows out in-front and go into a child's pose with the bowl between my legs. The skirt traps the steam and allows you to enjoy the gentle mist of herbal magic. I like to drink a herbal tea at the same time, listen to some background music and just focus on relaxing through connecting into my breath. If you can try to avoid "doing" anything, and practice coming into a state of being and receiving.
If you need sometimes adding a mantra or affirmation can be really helpful to bring your mind into some focus. Here are some examples of some affirmations that help to unblock your sacral chakra...
Asia Mann, E-RYT-200hr, Clinical Herbalist, Holistic Birth Doula & Intuitive Healer