How do you feel about your vagina? Do you love her? Or do you fear her? Do you have a juicy, intimate connection with your vagina? Or do you avoid her at all costs? What is your relationship with your vagina? Is it one where you listen to her and trust her? And only allow things into her, when she says ‘Yes please’? Or does your vagina feel numb and foreign to you? Does she shut down and cause you pain?
The health of the relationship we have with our vagina is a direct reflection of the health of the relationship we have with ourselves, and with our life as a whole. When we’re willing to spend time with our vagina, so we can heal our vagina, we open ourselves to experience healing on all levels; in all areas of our life. So in that respect, we can use our vagina as a tool – as a mirror – to reflect back to us, all of the ‘stuff’ we need to resolve, so we can cultivate self-love, and in doing so, enjoy a rich, vibrant and fulfilling life.
That is the purpose of Yoga for the Vagina. We essentially date our vagina, by connecting with her regularly, during a Yoga for the Vagina practice. And this practice opens us up to feeling ourselves, so we can heal ourselves. In order to create healing in the body, we need to be present with our body. We need to go inside and listen. And that is the core teaching in Yoga for the Vagina.
When we experience health problems, in particular sexual health problems, it’s the body’s way of trying to get our attention, so we’ll listen. By practising Yoga for the Vagina you place yourself in a space where you can become aware of what thoughts, habits, behavioural patterns and addictions that are not serving you, so you can let them go, and embrace more positive habits, healthier thoughts, and nourishing ways of living in your body. And when you do this, the body naturally begins to self-heal.
That’s what it’s designed to do, but if we’re consuming sugar-rich food and drinking alcohol, if we’re using our body in a way that is harmful – pushing it to the extreme with exercise or sitting around not doing much in an unhealthy posture – if we have negative, hurtful thoughts playing on repeat in our mind, if we’re engaging in relationships with others that leave us feeling less than or drained; these kinds of things get in the way of the body’s natural healing abilities.
That’s when we start to get sick, or show symptoms of illness or disease. If we look at women’s sexual health issues alone, the statistics are shocking. Almost half of all women will experience some form of sexual organ prolapse, where an organ shifts out of place, bulging into the vaginal canal, and in worst case scenarios, falls right on out of the vagina. Every 10 hours in Australia a woman dies of ovarian cancer.
12% of women of childbearing age are infertile, and cervical cancer affects one in 155 women, with many more having all sorts of invasive surgeries to remove pre-cancerous cells, which essentially damages the cervix, and can lead to further complications, including loss of sexual arousal, infertility and so forth. And it was this experience where I returned a positive result showing I had abnormal cells in my cervix that led me to create Yoga for the Vagina.
I was 31 when I was diagnosed as being the stage before cancer and strongly advised by my gynaecologist, to have a procedure that could have left me unable to conceive. Now I’ve always been someone who prefers to take a more natural approach to my healing, so I said No, and told my doctor that I’d return in 3 months once I’d had a chance to explore more natural options.
During that time I got out my Jade Egg and I created my own practices based on independent research, and my previous trainings in a range of different healing modalities, while at the same time worked with the therapy techniques I use to help people get to the root cause of mental and physical illness. When I returned to my gynaecologist about 4 months later I was given a clean bill of health. My doctor claiming it was a ‘Miracle’.
My belief however, is that this ‘miracle’, is possible for anyone, who is willing to go inside, sit with themselves, move in a way that is tension releasing, inside of tension forming, so you can start to clear the body of stagnation and stuck energy, and in doing so, free the body to operate as the healthy vehicle. And these are the core practices I teach in Yoga for the Vagina. Core practices I believe every woman should know, so she can prevent pelvic issues, and if she’s already experiencing pelvic issues, so she can heal those pelvic issues.
So let’s talk about the PELVIS. The pelvis is our centre of gravity; it’s our foundation. If you imagine children’s building blocks, the pelvis is the bottom one. If it’s on rocky ground – if it loses its stability – then everything on top of it falls over, right? This is how our body works. In order to have a fully functioning and healthy body, we need to have a pelvis that’s in alignment, is strong and is healthy. And how solid and balanced we feel physically is generally a direct reflection of how balanced we feel emotionally. One affects and creates the other. So as we heal one, the other naturally resolves too.
In Yoga for the Vagina we place our focus on our vagina, and we use the vagina as an anchor point to keep us connected to the pelvis as a whole. With our focus on our vagina, we can learn how to gather in what I like to call the ‘Pelvic Parfait’ – all the muscles, organs and fascial ligaments of the pelvic bowl – in towards the vagina to create a contraction or activation of the pelvis, to help build tone and strength and resilience. Then we release that contraction in a way that allows us to dissolve tension, to create more blood flow and circulation in the pelvic bowl and all that sits within it.
Most women have stagnation in their pelvis, and this can lead to all sorts of sexual health issues, including PMS. If you have brown or black blood in your period, if you have clots, if you experience cramping, fibroids, cysts, endometriosis; these are all signs that there’s stagnation in the pelvis, which means that the blood isn’t flowing well through the body, and in particular in the pelvic area.
We need fresh blood flowing through the body because it delivers nourishment to the organs, muscles, bones and connective tissues. Without that nourishment the body isn’t as resilient and can more easily become sick. Part of what causes this stagnation is habitual movement patterns – so how we hold and use our body throughout our day – as well as lifestyle choices, trauma and conditioning.
Most women also hold tension in the pelvis. Not only does too much tension in the pelvic cavity inhibit orgasm, it causes weakness, making a woman more prone to experiencing sexual health problems, like prolapse. It’s also really difficult to birth a baby through a super tense pelvic floor. You’re aiming for a pelvic floor that is supple, toned and elastic. Think of a trampoline – that’s the kind of movement you want in your pelvic floor, and throughout your pelvis.
A really common pelvic issue is incontinence. When a woman presents with incontinence, where she has trouble holding in her urine, she often gets told to do stacks of Kegels. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, do Kegels all the time, while you’re sitting at traffic lights, when you’re in that boring business meeting, whenever you can… Squeeze!
There are many problems with Kegels, I won’t go into all of them now, but if you’re trying to build strength on an area that holds tension, you’re only building more tension, not healthy tone. So in any pelvic strength building you do, you need to be focusing on releasing tension, then building healthy tone. And you need to focus the squeeze on the whole of the pelvis. Not just the pelvic floor.
We’ve all heard about the pelvic floor. It’s kind of famous now with most women experiencing pelvic issues being told their pelvic floor is too tight or too weak! But what many people don’t realise, is that the pelvic floor, is a group of 16 muscles that sit at the base of the pelvis, and work in connection with the muscles, ligaments, and organs that all sit within the pelvic bowl. The pelvic floor doesn’t work in isolation. Yet, when Kegels are taught, often women are told to focus on specific, isolated muscles of the pelvic floor, which create an imbalance in the structure and functioning of the pelvis.
This is why so many women have trouble healing problems like incontinence and prolapse. We think we need to strengthen, strengthen, strengthen, but we’re not taught how to release first, so we have a tension-free environment upon which to build that strength. Yes, unfortunately, often the strength building exercises we get given are tension-causing, and don’t work with the pelvis as one connected structure.
Women tend to hold a lot of tension in the pelvis from habitual patterns, lifestyle choices and trauma and conditioning. The way I teach you how to work with your pelvis in Yoga for the Vagina, begins the process of unravelling those holding patterns, so we can free the body up to do what it does best; self-heal. And to help this process, we invite a Jade Egg into our practice. Now a Jade Egg isn’t essential, but in my experience it certainly increases the results a woman gets.
A Jade Egg is an egg shaped crystal – made of jade – that originated in ancient China. While it’s difficult to find exact records, it’s believed that around 5000 years ago Queens and mistresses would use the Jade Egg to keep their sexual organs ripe and resilient, to help them stay youthful – due to the way that the egg increases collagen, it can act like a natural facelift – and to deliver the Emperor a pleasure-filled sexual experience.
There is a hole in the top of the Jade Egg you string with unwaxed dental floss. Then after warming up the body with breast and vulva massage, you train the vagina to actually sip the egg inside. Most of our vaginas are so used to having things pushed inside them – tampons, fingers, penis’s, dildos – that they’ve lost the ability to be able to suck things inside; those muscles essentially atrophy.
So this is where ‘sipping’ – one of the most important practices in Yoga for the Vagina – is so powerful, because you’re able to learn how to reactivate those muscles – in particular the bulbacavonosis muscle – which is one the 16 muscles of the pelvic floor. By getting that muscle working again, you help restore balance to the pelvic floor. Because if some of the muscles of the pelvic floor are not healthy and toned, then the other muscles need to work overtime to pick up the slack, and in doing so, accumulate tension, which leads to muscle fatigue and a pelvic floor that doesn’t function well.
Once the Jade Egg is inside, it gives us something to rest our awareness on. It becomes a meditative focal point, and therefore, helps us connect more easily with the vaginal squeezes and releases in a way that allows us to create life-long functional integrity. You see, in order to have a well-functioning pelvis we need to balance good pelvic tone with a well-developed capacity to release pelvic tension. That means learning how to balance our squeeze with our release.
We’re seeking out tone and suppleness, as opposed to a hard as rock vaginal six-pack! To create that kind of pelvic integrity we need to let the squeeze be gentle – we’re not trying to crack a nut in there – and let the release be full. We’re going for a full release, and when you feel like you can’t let go anymore, you invite your vagina to melt open that little bit more. This letting go process creates a place upon which women can release tension, and in doing so, release stored emotion and trauma that’s held in the vaginal tissue.
Now in Yoga for the Vagina when we squeeze, we’re not focusing on one specific muscle group, but the pelvis as a whole. We do this by squeezing or gathering in all of the contents of the pelvis from all directions, in towards the vagina to cuddle the Jade Egg, for a full pelvic activation, then releasing it. This not only helps release tension and build healthy tone, it helps bring circulation to the whole pelvis.
Of course, when women start out with the Jade Egg it’s extremely common to try and squeeze in this way and nothing actually happens down there. Or when you start to learn how to move the egg up and down the vaginal canal, it stays put. Once again, we need to wake the muscle back up. The best way to help this process is to visualise the squeeze and release.
If you continue to visualise and imagine the egg moving, over time the central nervous system will develop actual nerves to those muscles. When you see yourself doing something in your mind, the body thinks you’re actually doing it and creates the physiological changes required for that to be your physical reality. Contracting your muscles, thinking about it and visualising it at the same time, also increases the blood flow to that area which helps with arousal, making you more sensitive to the subtle energy flowing through you.
Once you become familiar with your squeeze then you marry that internal movement with external movement; postures specifically designed to support the female structure, that work directly with the reproductive organs, that activate meridian pathways in the body and that iron out tension and holding patterns. Because while squeezing and releasing on its own is a starting point, we can’t stop there. The reason we want a healthy pelvis is to support daily activities.
When we go about our day we’re moving our whole body. That’s why it’s so important that we marry the squeeze and release with full body movement, so the body is prepared to cope with the pressures we place upon it when we walk, when we lift things, when we stretch; our pelvic structures play a role in all of those movements as everything in the body is connected via fascia.
To help maintain whole body structural integrity, we need to focus on pelvic contractions yes, but they need to be done with full body movements. Because remember, our pelvis is our centre of gravity. If it’s not functioning well, neither will anything that extends from it. This is just another reason why Kegels aren’t so effective, because often people are told to do them as an isolated activity, when you’re still.
What makes the Yoga for the Vagina postures different to those in some other yoga styles is that each posture looks to maintain natural womanly posture which includes maintaining the lumbar curve in the back, as opposed to ironing it out by drawing the tailbone down, which destabilises the pelvis and places the sexual organs in a position that makes them vulnerable to prolapse.
We’re also more concentrated on how the posture feels in the body as opposed to how it looks, as every body is unique and has its own range of movement. Just because one body looks to be going deeper into a stretch, doesn’t mean that they’re receiving a better stretch or a better release than someone who doesn’t even look like they’re in the posture. We all have unique bone structures that allow for different ranges of movement. That’s why it’s important to adapt the posture to the body, not the body to the posture.
So we’re moving the body as we contract and release, what’s also happening because we have a Jade Egg inside, is we’re essentially doing ‘resistance’ training. The weight of the egg inside the vagina creates gentle resistance that helps us tone our pelvis. Just like when we go to the gym we can move our arm, which keeps it active, or we can add a little weight, which helps us not only keep the arm active, but tone it. And this is one of the benefits to working with a Jade Egg, as opposed to just squeezing with nothing inside.
Now that said, like when we go to the gym, once you leave the gym, you don’t walk out with a dumbbell attached to your arm, and walk around like that for the rest of the day! Neither should that be the focus with the Jade Egg. Many women will skip a dedicated practice, and simply push the egg inside, wear it around all day and think it will work its magic that way. There are a few problems with this approach.
Firstly, your presence when you’re working with the Jade Egg is the most powerful healer, as it allows you to enter into communication with your body so that you can release trauma and conditioning and holding patterns in the body. When you sip the egg inside, as opposed to push it inside, you’re re-activating the bulbocavenonsis muscle, yes, but you’re also re-patterning your relationship with your vagina; you’re learning how to say No and Yes, as opposed to just accepting things into your life that you’re not ready for, or simply don’t want. So the healing benefits of sipping go far beyond physical healing, and teach us a new way of interacting in this world. And thirdly, most women hold tension in their pelvis. So if you’re doing a resistance practice – such as holding the egg inside all day – without any focus on releasing, then chances are you’re creating more tension, and could make your existing problems worse.
The big thing to understand is that more is not better. A dedicated practice – just half an hour – is going to create more internal healing than wearing the Jade Egg all day. If you want to leave the egg in after your practice go ahead, but only leave it in for an hour, and then practise laying your egg; another great strength-building practice in Yoga for the Vagina. Less really is more when it comes to creating full body healing.
So we’ve looked at sipping, squeezing, postures, resistance. Another benefit of this practice, and working with a Jade Egg, is that when it’s inside of you it massages your vaginal canal, which is important for a couple of reasons. Women tend to store a lot of trauma and suppressed emotion in their vaginal tissue – maybe from sexual abuse, unhealthy sexual experiences such as hard-and fast friction-sex, conditioning around sex and what it means to be a woman – and this trauma and emotion can create tension and desensitisation in the vaginal canal.
If you’re holding tension, this weakens the vaginal walls, which makes you more vulnerable to prolapse, it can also create imbalances in your cells, making you more susceptible to infections and cancer, and it can also stop the glans that run along the vaginal canal from working properly. It’s these glans that make us juicy. So if you’re having trouble getting wet for sexual intercourse, it’s because these glans need to be woken back up.
Because of the shift in hormones during menopause, often women who are moving through this phase of their life tend to dry up and find sex really painful, and that’s why they love this practice, because they’re able to massage those glans back to life, so they can easily lubricate in the lead up to intercourse. The internal massage also stimulates collagen production, essentially giving the reproductive organs an internal facelift.
There are also reflexology points in our vaginal canal, which directly impact the health of the organs such as the kidneys, the liver, the lungs, the spleen, the heart. In Taoist medicine it’s believed that these reflexology points are far more powerful than the points on our hands or feet. So in that way, by working with the Jade Egg – learning how to move it up and down the vaginal canal – we’re sending healing energy to the other important organs in our body.
As I mentioned, the vaginal canal can also become de-sensitised. You’ll know if you have a numb vagina if you find it difficult to experience vaginal orgasms, like G-spot and cervical orgasms. This is where using the egg to massage out tension and trauma can be really effective, in helping to re-sensitise the area so you can feel more pleasure. Marry that with the squeezes and releases, and you start to become very attuned to the sexual energy moving through your body, and how to move that energy, so it becomes possible to experience full body pleasure when you orgasm.
A whole body healing experience
In Yoga for the Vagina we’re not just prescribing specific asanas for specific conditions, we’re learning how to unwind the patterns and tension being held in the vagina, in the pelvis and in the body as a whole. We’re not trying to ‘fix’ the body. We’re trying to remove all the barriers the body has against self-healing. Because when the body lets go of all the emotional and physical gunk that it’s collected over the years, it’s very intelligent. It knows how to heal itself.
That’s the beauty of the body. The body is a remarkable vessel and when we learn how to work with our body, as opposed to against it, our body can do some pretty magical things! And that’s why I created this practice, so you can learn how to not just do a series of yoga postures that help tone the organs and fascia of the pelvis, but so you can learn how to listen. To go inside and use the body and the breath to feel yourself, so you can heal yourself.
This is what Yoga for the Vagina was designed for; to give you solid information, and gorgeous practises that teach you the mechanics of the pelvis, and how to articulate that anatomical knowledge into a practice that nourishes you on all levels. And that will serve you in developing a healthy relationship not only with your with vagina, but with your whole self.
About the Author
Author: Tamra Mercieca
Tamra Mercieca is a self-love therapist, yoga teacher and writer at her online school Getting Naked, where she teaches people how to strip off the layers of childhood conditioning, so they can fall in love with themselves. It was after healing herself of pre-cancerous cells in her cervix, that Tamra was inspired to create Yoga for the Vagina: A restorative yoga practice that uses the Jade Egg to heal the sexual organs, release sexual trauma and awaken the body to pleasure.
Tamra is trained in over a dozen healing modalities – with a special interest in mental health and women’s sexual health – has published two books and has been interviewed on HayHouse Radio, a raft of TV shows, as well as featuring in over a dozen mainstream magazines and newspapers worldwide. She has shared Yoga for the Vagina at numerous festivals in her home country of Australia, and moved to France in 2019 to continue to share the yoga love across Europe and the UK.
‘Tamra’s program not only gave me the tools to get my life back on track it possibly saved it!!’ – Andrew
For further details or to get in touch:
Website: www.yogaforthevagina.com and www.gettingnaked.com.au