We became familiar with the word “yoni” after listening to an inspirational lecture on yoni steams given by the botanical muse herself, Nadine Artemis. Nadine is the creator of Living Libations, a brand that includes everything from essential oils and elixirs to a line of Loving Libations which features a variety of love potions and a mix of soothing serums… for, yes, your yoni.
But what is a yoni? It’s a chic code name for the (sometimes uncomfortable) word vagina. It’s decidedly more fun to say and somehow easier to talk about. Its history is also intriguing with roots dating back to 18th century Hinduism where the term nodded to power and was symbolic of the goddess Shakti, who represented divine energy and supreme deity. The name became synonymous with beauty from beneath— being vulnerable, practicing self-love, and ultimately allowing this love to radiate from within.
Part of this practice is the revitalization of our reproductive systems, which brings us to the aforementioned fad, the yoni steam, vaginal steam, or as Gwyneth Paltrow calls it, the “V-steam.” The premise is simple: A woman sits or squats over a steaming bowl of herb-infused water, allowing the steam to rise up into her. This latest craze, however, isn’t so new. It was created over one thousand years ago as a means for women to take back ownership of personal health. Its supposed benefits are vast and include reduced period pain, bloating, and fatigue, more regular periods, increased fertility, relieved symptoms of menopause, speedier healing of wounds, toxin removal, and increased moisture to the vulva and circulation to the labia.
I was curious. I’ve already made the switch to organic tampons and Thinx undies, so I felt inspired to try the effects of a steam. I purchased 100% organic and fair trade herbs from Vibrant Souls and held the colorful dried plants in my fingertips, admiring the rosemary, mugwort, motherwort, yarrow, partridge berry, calendula, lavender, and rose petals. I was officially ready to set about on my mission to implore the “beauty from beneath.”
I set the mood by lighting candles, dimming the remaining lights in my apartment, and smudging incense to clear the space. I felt nervous, resistant, and weird but I wrapped myself in a nice robe and kept my iPhone close in case of any emergencies or last minute qualms or questions.
The directions advised that I bring the water to a simmer for 10 minutes, allowing the herbs to soak. I was careful not to overcook the herbs for fear of burning my dear lady bits. Vibrant Souls sells a yoni steam seat, a worthy investment for dedicated steamers, but I opted for a kitchen bowl to hover over on my first go-round. Off to the restroom I went, with a teakettle so that I could add a bit of water every so often to warm the steam. Simmering the herbs reminded me of brewing tea as the herbal fragrance inundated the air around me. As I sat on the toilet, I realised that the steam wasn’t awkward at all, it was gentle, relaxing, and healing. It was also empowering and felt like a celebration of womanhood; one that enabled me to become more comfortable with something we, as women, don’t usually talk about. QUESTION
Afterwards I crawled into bed and fell into a tranquil sleep. While I can’t speak for long-term results quite yet, yoni steaming was a nice ritual to treat oneself to and I’ll definitely be trying it again. There was something special and intimate about doing it in the comfort of my own home, spending quality time with just me, and such a precious part of my body. Our yonis may be a taboo or uncomfortable topic to talk about with strangers or friends, they may even be a part of ourselves we overlook or take for granted, but for me, this steam was a way to explore, appreciate, and unearth my beauty from beneath, just as the ultimate goddess Shakti would have wanted.
***Please note, that yoni steaming is not recommended for ALL goddesses; those who have an IUD, are on their period, or are pregnant should refrain from steaming.