In Sanskrit, the term yoni is the word for vagina and womb. A symbol of the Hindu Divine Mother, the yoni is revered in ancient Indian cultures as undeniably sacred. It is, after all, the origin of life.
Indeed, the yoni is a powerful force in the world. As beautiful and perfect as those of us who are blessed to have one, our wombs are central to our energetic, emotional, sexual and intellectual wellbeing. As Naomi Wolf stated in the iconic book Vagina: A New Biography, the yoni and the sexual pleasure it provides “serves as a medium of female self-knowledge and hopefulness; female creativity and courage; female focus and initiative; female bliss and transcendence; and as medium of a sensibility that feels very much like freedom.
Our yonis are to be honored, respected and loved by us, and of course, by all those lucky enough to be in their presence. But let’s be real, ladies. For many of us, our wombs can be a major source of grief. For those who have suffered trauma to our vaginas, painful menstruation, fertility challenges or uterine “abnormalities”, the word yoni may not exactly conjure up images of ancient Indian goddesses dancing in the moonlight.
Naomi Wolf explains that “the vulva, clitoris, and vagina are actually best understood as the surface of an ocean that is shot through with vibrant networks of underwater lightning—intricate and fragile, individually varied neural pathways.” This delicate web of neural pathways deserves, in fact demands, gentle and loving treatment that softens and allows us to relax, release and receive. Only through receiving loving nourishment — from ourselves or others — can we truly heal trauma and celebrate this aspect of our sacred feminine.
In a world wrought with far too much trauma to the vagina and female psyche, the time has come for us to use our own tools to transform the experience of having a womb.
Yoni steaming is a potent tool for this. Also known as vaginal steaming, it is actually an ancient women’s remedy that is being fervently revived by women everywhere who are ready to celebrate, nourish and support their yonis. It still may sound odd to some, but steaming the vagina has stood the test of time as a respected treatment for women, used by traditional healers across the globe to cleanse and revive the uterus. In Mayan culture, a vaginal steam session is known as a bajo, while in Korean culture the treatment is known as chai-yok.
In these communities and others, women have found yoni steams to heal many of our womb-woes, including:
Reconnection with the sacred center of creation that lies within us
Release of stored grief and trauma
Gentle arousal and the activation of female sexuality
Regulation of the cycle as well as reduction of pain, bloating and exhaustion associated with menstruation.
Speed healing and tone the reproductive system after birth.
Treatment of uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, uterine weakness, uterine prolapse and endometriosis.
Assistance with the healing of hemorrhoids.
Treatment chronic vaginal/yeast infections, and works to maintain healthy odor.
Relief for the symptoms of menopause.
Detoxification of the womb and elimination of contaminants from the body.
Today, the yoni steam is becoming known as the forgotten ancient wisdom for women’s healing. Not only is yoni steaming an incredible opportunity for us to support, heal and regulate our miraculous reproductive system, it is an opportunity for us to take a moment to love, appreciate and indulge our beautiful yonis. And ourselves.
So… are you ready to heal and celebrate? To do so, simply steep one heaping cup dry yoni steaming herbs in a basin of hot water, and find a quiet place to relax with the steam below your bottom for 20-40 minutes. Be sure the water and steam is not too hot so as to avoid burns. Stay wrapped in warm blankets as you sit. This is a great time to meditate on your divinity as a woman and reflect on what you’d like to release. Once the time has passed, remain wrapped in blankets and lie down in a warm bed for the night. For more detailed instructions on how to yoni steam, download our Ritual Guide.
As you sleep, the herbs continue to work on your reproductive system, and you’ll wake up feeling more relaxed, joyful and connected to your wombspace. You may be surprised about what becomes available to you mentally and physically after treating yourself. If you are like countless other women who have tried yoni steaming, you’ll also notice that your next period will be more comfortable, with reduced cramps, less bloating and more energy. Note: Please do not steam while menstruating or if there is any chance you may be pregnant.
I believe it’s time for women everywhere to discover the beauty of our own bodies, to celebrate our miraculous yonis, and to begin to understand the gifts the Earth has given us to treat ourselves. It’s time we all steam our yonis to heal and celebrate the sacred feminine.
I invite you to share this knowledge with the women in your life, because happier yonis mean happier women, happier communities, and ultimately, a happier planet. The time has come.
Sierra Brashear, MA is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, DONA-trained doula, herbal alchemist, wellness educator and founder of Vibrant Souls yoni steams. Inspired by the rhythms and elements of nature, Sierra weaves her knowledge of Ayurveda into the products and lifestyle design programs she offers. She invites you to join her 16-week program, The Art of Fertility | Journey to Conception — to clear toxins and nourish your mind and body in preparation for an easeful conception and healthy pregnancy. Sierra is also co-founder of Cultivate Balance and Moon Bath, and lives in Boulder, Colorado.