A Yoni Steam, also known as vaginal steam, is the ancient practice of sitting or squatting over steaming pot of water infused with herbs. It’s a powerful ally for women’s vitality in nourishing the uterus, regulating irregular cycles, reducing menstrual pain + imbalances and supporting fertility and reproductive health. It also supports spiritual and emotional cleansing and healing by reconnecting a woman with her feminine center and Inner Woman.
It’s important to understand that Yoni Steaming is not for cleaning your vulva or vagina. Your vagina is inherently self-cleaning.
When the Yoni Steaming is described as cleansing, it is referring to the way the heat and steam supports our feminine bodies in their own natural release and vibrant vitality. More on the healing power of heat below.
Yoni ~ meaning sacred place, vulva, vagina & womb.
For me, it was love at first try. I find it to be such a deeply nourishing ritual. It anchors my awareness into my feminine center and softens my body. I usually include it in my pre-menstrual phase to ease me into a slower pace for my moontime, and because I’ve found it to be a vital ingredient for pleasure-full bleeding. Afterwards I feel relaxed and at home in my feminine body + inner roots.
How Yoni Steams can help you through the sacred stages of womanhood
Heat is medicine for the feminine body. Where cold causes contraction, heat supports opening and release. The moist heat softens the womb and the tissues, increases vital blood flow and supports your womb in releasing any stagnant blood that may have built up.
For a pleasurable moontime and easing menstrual pain, imbalances and blood clots: Setting aside time for 1-3 Yoni Steam Rituals during your pre-menstrual phase are one of the best ways to prepare for your moontime / bleeding phase and nurture pelvic stagnancy and blood clots. The warming steam aids in cleansing and nourishing the uterine membrane. It’s important to know that healthy menstrual blood flows easily, in a bright red color with no clots.
For fertility: Yoni Steams are a great support in nourishing our feminine bodies into their natural state of fertility and creativity. It helps to create uterine membranes that are moist and receptive for conception to happen. If you are actively trying to conceive, you can use the Yoni Steam during your pre-ovulation phase up until ovulation, to prepare for conception. Do not steam after possible conception.
After miscarriage: During the vulnerable time following a miscarriage, a Yoni Steam Ritual may support your body in cleansing and can also be a wonderful tool for connecting with your feminine center and Inner Woman to avoid stagnant emotions taking root in your body. You can begin to Yoni Steam once your bleeding has ceased. It is important to take the time to honor the initiation of this experience and actively support the energetic and physical release.
Postpartum: Keeping women warm is at the heart of many women’s wisdom practices across the world, including traditional postpartum practices. Using Yoni Steams after birth brings nourishing heat, supports the body to release fluids, and aids the womb in shrinking back to pre-pregnancy size. If you have had a caesarian you want to wait a little longer than vaginal birth, until you’ve healed well.
Peri-menopause and menopause: When your cycles are slowing down or changing, the Yoni Steam can stimulate circulation and support your womb to continue to release fully. On the other side of menopause, the warming steam can be revitalizing for vaginal dryness while nourishing a deep connection to your feminine center and Inner Woman in a time of initiation and transformation.
Pelvic pain, tightness or pain during intercourse: For women experiencing pelvic pain, chronic holding, or tightness the Yoni Steam helps to soothe and relax the pelvic muscles. Combine the steam with breath awareness and full diaphragmatic breathing to relax your pelvic muscles and create a loving connection with your feminine center.
After Hysterectomy or other pelvic surgeries: The heat and warmth can be a soothing therapy for scar tissue. When combined with castor oil packs and massage it helps to increase vitality after surgery. Doing a Yoni Steam may also be helpful in emotionally and energetically reconnecting with your feminine center after an invasive procedure and experience. Your feminine center always remains even if you no longer have your physical womb or ovaries.
Avoid Yoni Steams if:
- You are pregnant or think you may be pregnant!
- You are bleeding
- If you have an IUD or another contraceptive device in place.
- Have a vaginal infection or open wounds.
- When trying to support infertility or a specific condition where there may be particular contraindications to be aware of.
How to do it at home
- Collect your plants with prayer and intention. For the amount I recommend going with your intuition. For a relative guide you can use, 2 liters of water with 2-4 dl of dried herbs or 3-5 dl of fresh herbs.
- Cut the herbs into a large pot and cover them with your lukewarm water. Find yourself a cozy spot to sit while you make a ritual of pouring your love, prayer and intention into the water and herbs while massaging them with your hands for few minutes. Call in the healing and nourishment your feminine body needs.
- Then bring your herbs+water to boil. Simmer on the stove for 10-15min. This will bring out more of the essential oils in the plants. Be careful when you sit to not burn the sensitive tissues of your vulva! You will probably need to let it steam off for a few moments before you can sit over it.
- Enjoy your steam for about 20 minutes. If you are able to, the ideal position is to squat. This brings the most open position to the pelvis, but may not be available for everyone or comfortable for long periods of time. You can also switch between squatting and kneeling while bending over with your elbows on the floor. Get creative here. There are also vaginal steam stools and chairs available to buy online. Make sure you wear socks and wrap the blankets closely around you and the pot, so all the heat stays inside.
- Rest and nurture yourself afterwards, stay warm, drink some herbal tea and move slowly. Breathe this feminine nourishment into your womb and wise woman bones.
What herbs to use
The rule of thumb is to use organic edible herbs, either freshly picked or dried. Some traditions offer specific herbal formulas for different conditions. Different combinations of herbs can add nourishment, tone, and cleansing because the vaginal tissues are so absorbent. I don’t recommend using essential oils as they are too concentrated for this purpose.
Let your intuition guide you towards the plants you need by choosing the ones you are currently drawn to. For more inspiration on working intuitively with plants, one of my favorite books on this topic is “The Secret Teaching Of Plants” by Stephen Harrod Buhner.
Herbs to use include: rosemary, oregano, basil, comfrey, mugwort, motherwort, yarrow, raspberry leaf, calendula, lavender, fennel and basil, oregano, rose, nettle, sage, marigold, plantain leaves, damiana, lemon balm and many more.
Prayer and intention is an important part of working with plants and a deeply potent way of accessing support beyond the physical. You can’t do this wrong, just speak from your heart, plant your intentions, and ask for the healing support of the plant.
Inspiration for herbal blends
Menstrual balance blend: Motherwort (great for fatigue, cramps, and to aid relaxation), Mugwort (promotes suppressed menses), Basil (Uterine stimulant), Rosemary (increases circulation to the reproductive organs), Calendula (Cleansing, lessens inflammation), Chamomile (Soothing to the vaginal tissues).
Perimenopause / PMS blend: Mugwort (promotes suppressed menses), Oregano (soothing, brings circulations and cleansing to the uterus), Raspberry leaf (strengthens and tones the uterine and pelvic muscles, and is a pelvic and uterine relaxant), Red Rose Petals (Cooling, gentle and astringent to the tissues of the genitals).
Menopause blend: Basil (Uterine stimulant), Raspberry leaf (strengthens and tones the uterine and pelvic muscles, and is a pelvic and uterine relaxant), Marshmallow (vaginal dryness), Sage (Astringent. Spiritually cleansing), Chamomile (Soothing to the vaginal tissues).
Fertility blend: Rosemary (increases circulation to the reproductive organs), Wormwood (Antifungal and antibacterial), Basil (Uterine stimulant), Calendula (Cleansing, lessens inflammation), chamomile, Red Rose Petals (Cooling, gentle and astringent to the tissues of the genitals), Lavender (antiseptic, antispasmodic, sedative, relaxing nerving).
Miscarriage blend: Mugwort (promotes suppressed menses), Oregano (soothing, brings circulations and cleansing to the uterus) Calendula (Cleansing, lessens inflammation), Lavender (antiseptic, antispasmodic, sedative, relaxing nerving).
Postpartum blend: Oregano (soothing, brings circulations and cleansing to the uterus), Rosemary (increases circulation to the reproductive organs), Raspberry leaf ( strengthens and tones the uterine and pelvic muscles, and is a pelvic and uterine relaxant), Calendula (Cleansing, lessens inflammation), Yarrow (Astringent. Cleansing. Antibacterial), Comfrey (healing and soothing).
Changes to expect after Yoni Steaming
Various changes may follow after Yoni Steaming, from healing and physical releases to blissful relaxation. Things you might see include changes in your menstrual cycle, release of dark blood and clots, a lighter cycle and increased awareness of your feminine body. If there has been stagnancy or menstrual imbalances, you may expect there to be some significant changes or dark syrupy blood releasing with your next moon-time. For others the changes may come more slowly and be much more subtle.
During and after your steam you might feel tired or emotional, and it’s important you take the time to rest and stay warm after your Yoni Steam.
I hope this guide has given you the info you need to get started, if you have any questions please add them in the comments below.
And please share if you feel inspired to try or you’ve had your own experience with Yoni Steaming, so we can all be inspired be each other. I can’t wait to hear from you!