I mean have you heard of Yoni Steaming?
I am not sure if it is my age (a young 37 with the feeling that I am not sure when I became an adult because I’ve never felt age a day after 26?!) Or more to do with ‘the Yoga’ whereby I am opening up to new ideas and new avenues, or the fact it feels like everyone I know is having/had/talking babies … That my thalamus is tuning in to all things of the pelvic variety.
For the first time the other day I was listening to a podcast (@yogagirl podcast ‘Trusting Your Intuition …’ Mar 01, 2019) & they started talking about Yoni Steaming. I thought Yoni was the guests polite way of saying vagina. So I did what any self respecting person who doesn’t know what something is & in such instances is not sure who to ask – I googled. Yoni is a ‘technical’?! Term when referring to this process where steam, often with some herbal infusion is used to clean/cleanse the vagina. Not only was I like what? But I found out I could get it done in my hometown! (OK full disclosure – have you googled ‘Glastonbury’ – the town not the festival).
I can’t say I often discuss my Vagina … with ANYBODY. Social convention sort of deems it impolite, especially over dinner, & I am absolutely certain the workplace is not the right space. In fact so many things feel “out of bounds” big or small with regards a woman’s body in everyday society. Important things like smear tests that could save your life to the trials & tribulations of upper lip hair (thanks Dad or Mum?! For that one!).
In the world of Yoga I am reminded on a regular basis to engage my pelvic area (Mula Bhanda) or relax my pelvic bowl & it has become more common language to me. Also my friends who have had babies freely talk about their pelvic strength & the impact of their bodies changing in mind blowing proportions (Am I the only one who finds the way a body can make another human & how it prepares for that feat & then reworks itself after really impressive?). They talk about it on a level of peeing when they laugh & it doesn’t matter how tight things are down there I think we can all relate to that.
So with International Women’s day having just come around it felt an appropriate time to big up a big part of what physically makes us Women. Let’s talk about 3 Vagina things that we just don’t!
1. The most important one: Smear Tests.
I suspect no one in the world looks forward to getting naked in front of a stranger & opening their legs for a good inspection up there. 2 fun stories of my previous experiences during said test:
First the potentially embarrassing. This one time I went, got half naked, laid up on the bed, let my knees hang down, had the opening tool inserted, cranked & up when the sweepy brushy thing (if you are looking for something more technical I am sure there are some great articles out there ha ha) For the nurse to take a look & go – Oh you’re getting your period I can’t use this you’ll have to come back. What’s weird is that on reflection I felt like I should have been embarrassed … Because that’s embarrassing right?! But the nurse was just so calm (probably seen it 100’s of times) and actually was apologetic that I’d have to come back & do it all again. Lesson: it’s not embarrassing, it’s a great health check done by a professional. Go do it.
Second story. I went & had a very chatty nurse, I guess some people find it more relaxing to carry on chatting like you’re at the hairdressers or something. And verbatim she said ‘Wow you have a really pretty cervix’. Now I don’t know if she says that to everyone, but I was like, yeah I do & it made me smile in an otherwise very random situation. Lesson: you may not like it, but if you can find a way to make it less weird – do it. Because you need to do it.
2. The funny one: The Queef.
I’d never heard this term until I started listening to a podcast called ‘Guy’s we f@#ked‘. & It wasn’t even that much of a thing until I started Yoga, but those inversions man – they’re just desperate to squeeze all the air out of you whilst you’re in a place to not do much about it but go with it.
I have referred to Queefing before in a previous post, but essentially it is air escaping through the vagina. It’s totally normal – but I swear I never recall it happening in real open life before going to a Yoga class & suddenly I’ve opened a portal to a whole new world of air I didn’t know was within me.
Like many of the ways of the V, it is a natural, totally normal part of its workings. The smells it emits, or how it may look – might be trying to tell us something, like hi you may wanna help me out here. But Queefing – it is what it is, your body getting rid of excess air. Like farting it feels so much nicer to let it out than try to keep it in.
Learn to laugh with it. Often in my YTT when there is some giggling in an inversion it relates to this & I have a little smile as I metaphorically ‘hear’ them.
3. The deal with it one: Like everything the V changes with age.
Maybe Queefing was never an issue because my young gymnast body (I was never this – insert crying with laughter face) was just so toned up down there air would never have got anywhere near escaping. I have not had a baby but neither have I ever engaged in doing Kegels & as I seem to be zooming towards 40 at pace I am conscious of how I keep down there as strong as I work to keep my mind & the rest of my body.
I do Yoga, I keep hearing about this Mula Bhanda thing & I’m pretty sure I’m engaging it – so am I? How can you? Does it stop the ageing process? & Can I do it in meetings at work?
In Yoga the Mula Bhanda is a lock at the root of where our energy flows from, our pelvis. We don’t just pull in with the pelvis but also up & really engage the pelvic floor upwards. This has a knock on impact to pushing up into the lower abdomen, stabilising and creating a strong foundation from the pelvis which is often pivotal to any posture.
Also by locking in this energy, it can only go one way, up. Hence helping us to build and manage us ‘float’ through our practice … OK I’m not there yet but the clue is in the what Yoga always comes back to – Practice. Then … Eventually with continued practice, practice, practice and refinement you can tune more into the spiritual and Chakral nature of this root lock, but let’s start small.
So where exactly are we talking? Well it’s midway between where you urinate from & your anus and the trick is to try and engage that muscle mass without also contracting your anus … Give it a try … It’s not that simple right? There’s nothing wrong with contracting the anus as you start to work with the pelvic floor but the magic is in the subtlety of not.
Once you’ve found it try taking 5 minutes a day contracting & relaxing it. You can do it watching TV, you can do it on the bus or you can do it when your boss is sat across from you teaching you how to suck eggs and do something useful with that time. It’s multitasking at its best. Then maybe try to do it twice a day or for longer. Like everything you’re not going to wake up the next morning & be able to lift up a Kettle bell with your V, but it might make you a bit more confident to laugh out loud about your attempt.
In Yoga we aim to start our practice by engaging it & then holding that throughout our time on our mat. My full Ashtanga practice is about an hour & a half (so I think that’s all my 5 mins rolling up into one for the week!).
Exercising your Mula Bhanda is a great place to start, but you may find you’re still having issues elsewhere … in the bedroom for example, where it might be more about letting go. There are so many factors that prevent women from experiencing peak arousal and release. Take the time to meditate on the issue in all openness and honesty to open your mind to the root of the issue.
Lesson: Just like you can tone those bingo wings, don’t forget to show the V some toning love … She’ll thank you for it, you’ll thank you for it & so will your partner. Have fun! #notallyogisarecreatedequal