Tonight I tried my first yoni steam (or vaginal steam).
A yoni steam is a combination of different herbs in boiling water which a woman then squats over in order to receive the benefits of the healing properties. These are reported to be increasing fertility, removing toxins, reducing menstrual issues, improving postpartum recovery as well as releasing emotions to do with sexual and birth trauma. I knew I could particularly benefit from this as I do believe our bodies remember trauma, especially in our wombs.
I have been doing some sacred pregnancy training and have been really excited and inspired by some of the self-care exercises for pregnant women, and I saw this as a way to integrate what I have been learning in my day to day life as a postpartum woman. I did a ritual with some friends for Beltane (May day) and realised the importance of being emotionally well for the challenges this year will bring. I don't get my wellbeing from having my hair and nails done, for example, or going to a spa. That's not me. So I'm looking for ways to feel strong and well - yoni steaming could definitely be something I integrate into my life.
I ordered a packet of herbs online that contained enough for 6 treatments. The herbs were rose, lavender, cumfrey, calendula, yarrow and motherwort.
When I first heard of yoni steaming I was unsure what I thought - I have long been of the belief that we don't need to "do" anything to the vagina as it works perfectly already and that too much interference can be negative. When I looked into it, however, it seemed to make sense. The steam can reach the cervix where it stimulates the vagus nerve, which can release suppressed emotion. It made sense that the herbs could have a positive effect on our reproductive system too.
I waited until the children were asleep for the night and prepared a pot of boiling water. I shook out roughly 1/6 of the packet into the water and let it simmer for around 15 minutes. This is to let the herbs begin to release their healing properties. The smell was gorgeous and filled the house with that familiar, earthy smell of herbal tea.
I perched on the edge of the sofa and put the steaming pan on the floor, maintaining a semi-squat with support and draped my skirt around me to "hot-box" the steam. I was watching Audrey Hepburn's Roman Holiday at the same time.
I sat there for about ten minutes before moving into a kind of a kneeling squat as it became difficult to maintain the position on the sofa. I read somewhere that some women get a chair specifically for this, either wicker or with a hole cut into it.
All in all it was a very warming and soothing experience, unlike anything I have felt before. To take the time to focus specifically on that area in a healing way was novel for me. After a while I could no longer feel the steam rising as effectively so figured it was time to finish. After the steam I felt a bit vague and otherworldly but certainly felt a lightness around my womb area. I noticed a sudden increase in thirstiness and made sure to drink some water before bedtime. I realised that was probably to do with the toxins leaving the body as I have felt similar after massage and reflexology.
I am definitely going to do it again and experiment with positioning and even candles/music/intention-setting to really make the most of the experience and get as much significance from it as possible.
It's worth adding that I had the best night's sleep I've had in six months after doing the steam, really deep and refreshing.
I would love to know your thoughts on this!