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An ode to the yoni

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It’s a part of our body we don’t particularly like to talk about, and most of us seldom take a good look at: the yoni. That’s a shame, Pauline Bijster learned from several ‘yoni experts’ – because more attention for the vagina can make our body, and even life in general, lighter and more enjoyable.

What’s up with the vagina nowadays? It seems to get more attention lately, and has even been renamed: more and more often it’s called yoni, the ancient tantra-word for vagina and Sanskrit for ‘source of everything’.

In English-speaking countries, courses in Orgastic Meditation and yoni-massage studios are multiplying. Yoni eggs –little eggs made out of gems- are popular. The book ‘Pussy – A Reclamation’ emerged on top of the New York Times bestseller list.

It all starts with ‘turning on’ your own sensuality

According to the writer, Regena Thomashauer, we should all bring back the fun and power that yoni brings us into our lives. Fun, because this seems to be the only purpose of the clitoris, with its eight thousand nerve endings. But there is more. According to yoni experts, there’s a special energy that can make your body, even your entire life, lighter and more enjoyable.

It all starts, Thomashauer says, with ‘turning on’ your own sensuality. You can do this by touching the vagina, massaging it, looking at it, thinking of it.

Difficult to love

When I started writing this story, I thought I had quite a normal relationship with my vagina. To be honest, I’ve ignored it for the most part of my life. To be even more honest: I’ve dreaded it. During my periods, and giving birth to my four children, which was (apart from beautiful and moving) incredibly painful. Let alone all the times I had cystitis, yeast infections, all researched by the unpleasant speculum of the gynaecologist. Or even worse: the high amount of women –one in three, according to research- who have had unpleasant sexual experiences.

Of course, the vagina is more fun and more beautiful than this, but still, it is difficult to love. It’s hidden, we don’t think about it a lot. Or we do, but we don’t talk about it, because that’s indecent.

The right name

Our society isn’t cut out for yoni’s. All books and articles start with the compelling prove: we hardly have any names for it. All parents are lost for words for a minute when their daughter wants to know what that place between her legs is called. In fact, the vagina is only half of the organ, besides, it sounds like medical terminology – especially coming from a little girl’s mouth.

‘Cunt’ is a curse word, just like ‘muff’ or ‘cooch’. Words like ‘pussy’ have been annexed by the porno industry. Thomashauer, by the way, uses the word ‘pussy’ on purpose, because she wants it to lose it’s negative connotations.

Tantra: get to know yourself

It’s not just in the US where the yoni movement has started, it’s also in Europe. The Centrum for Tantra in Amsterdam gets more clients than ever. “Although there’s always been an interest for what we do,’ says tantra teacher Kyo Verberk. ‘People have always been interested in sex.’ As long as we keep seeing sex as something that’s purely physical, we get in trouble, she says. ‘Many people encounter problems in their relationship when they have been together for a while. Then they start looking for new things. I get that.’

The goal of tantra is: getting to know yourself. People often think it’s a sexual thing, but in its essence, it’s not, she says. ‘It’s a spiritual path that embraces all of life: also the vital sexual energy. The difference with other forms of body work is that the genitals are not excluded.’ She continues: ‘In tantra, yoni is regarded as an important source of knowledge.’

Yoni release

Mariëlle Spronck of Avalanche Bodywork introduced the word ‘yoni release’ in the Netherlands. A yoni release means that the genital area is freed of blockages from the inside. 

‘The G-spot, the A-spot and the mouth of the uterus are places where many women have blockages. We read in women’s magazines that the sandpaper-like spot near your G-spot is normal, but it isn’t. I can make that tissue soft again.’ The result: the vagina becomes more sensitive, making love feels more intense. ‘I always thought I had a great sex life,’ she says, ‘until my yoni was released. It got even better then.’

A yoni release is not a sexual or sensual thing, sometimes it's even painful. She calls it ‘shiatsu on your vagina’, and she talks about it very clearly, almost the way a physical therapist would talk about a shoulder. ‘You can learn how to do massage blockages away yourself, but there are several women who come to me three times a year, to have it released’, Spronck says. 

Focus on pleasure

Another thing that all the experts mention: we have learned to focus on a climax during sex, or on ejaculation. But that’s a one-sided approach. Marjanne Hurks is a tantra and sex coach, and gives yoni massages that are meant to be pleasant. A woman can experience what it is like to feel her vagina, without the goal of having an orgasm. We’ve forgotten how to do that, says Hurks.

It would be wise if we focused on pleasure more, without focusing on an orgasm 

She regards her work as rather sensual than sexual. ‘I think we should treat the yoni as something more holy than we do in our society,’ she says. ‘Or at least: more respectfully. My own mother called her vagina ‘that thing below’. Not much has changed since then.’

According to Hurks –and Regena Thomashauer agrees with her- it would be wise if we focused on pleasure more, on the orgastic feeling –without focusing on an orgasm itself. The stream of energy you feel in your yoni, and that fills you, the kundalini energy, that’s what’s important.

Tingly feeling

We can be all skeptical about this –and up until now, I would have been- but what if it’s true? What if the yoni is every bit as special as they say? What if it empowers us as women, makes us radiate, gives us more self confidence – as long as we’re aware of this secret, dark, damp place that’s part of our own body? 

Perhaps talking about yoni’s is already very helpful, to encounter the word ‘pussy’ 36 times a page in a book, and maybe, just maybe, you experience the same thing while reading this article: if you focus on it, you feel it.

And if you do this, you’ll notice that it feels good. Tingly. Admittedly, feeling any part of your body is tingly if you really feel it in a meditative way, but the yoni is by far the tingliest part. Feeling it makes you instantly happy.

Just by being open to it, you have access to this sparkle in your life. A moment of joy that’s ever present, simply there to enjoy, whenever you want.  

Text: Pauline Bijster [edited] 

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