Fascia .. chi and the Jade Egg.
What do these things have in common?
They work together to heal the body, and in doing so, get sexual energy flowing.
Over the past few months there’s been a lot of controversy in the news about Jade Eggs following Goop’s $145,000 fine.
Goop – Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle retailer – claimed that the Jade Eggs she was selling online could fix everything from hormone levels to helping with bladder control.
And from my research and experience with teaching the Jade Egg, this is certainly true when the Jade Egg is used as part of a holistic practice.
If you know how to use the Jade Egg, then you can certainly heal all sorts of ailments, as that’s what women in China were using them for some 5000 years ago!!
Yet, gynaecologists who unfortunately had not studied how the Jade Egg works, came out and slammed the Jade Egg, claiming it was dangerous.
Long story short, some of the types of eggs Goop was selling online, were dangerous.
But if you learn how to use an authentic Nephrite Jade Egg, then this danger, to my knowledge and research, is unfounded.
The fine eventuated from Goop not backing the healing claims by scientific evidence, and hey, that’s fair enough.
Because we all want to understand ‘why’ something works.
So I decided to dedicate this blog to explaining how the Jade Egg increases sexual energy, clears chi (energy) pathways in the body, and invigorates our life force energy.
And how, as a result of getting this energy flowing, the body moves into a state of self-healing and thus, dissolves sexual health problems.
So let’s start with the basics.
Fascia is connective tissue that lies beneath the skin.
In fact, everything in the body is wrapped in fascia.
Fascia weaves through and around everything; our muscles, our bones, our nerves, and so forth.
When the skin is peeled off the body in cadaver dissections, there is a white ‘second-skin’ that holds everything together.
Consider it to be like the cling wrap of the body!
This is the fascia, or connective tissue.
And this connective tissue is woven throughout the entirety of the body, including the contents of the pelvic bowl.
If we take a closer look at this connective tissue of fascia, we find ‘meridians’.
If you’ve ever had an acupuncture treatment you’ll be familiar with this term, but if not, meridians are water channels that run through our extensive network of connective tissue.
Now these water channels are also considered to be energy pathways that facilitate the flow of ‘chi’.
Chi is a collective term for the intelligent life forces that nourish and control the tissues of the physical body.
In yogic literature chi more commonly known as ‘prana’.
Chi is essentially what keeps us alive!
A body without chi is dead.
It is chi that flows through our meridians, that run throughout our connective tissue.
OK, starting to make sense?
Now the Chinese believe that disease and illness are the result of either blocked chi flow or stagnant chi.
What stops the lovely flow of chi?
The state of health of our connective tissue; our fascia.
When our fascia begins to stiffen and get hard, chi flow is inhibited.
Think of water.
(Fascia is 70% water.)
If water is placed in the freezer it turns into ice; a block of ice that is solid.
It has no pliability.
The shape is unchangeable in the frozen form.
Yet, give it a little heat, it begins to melt, and has much more fluidity.
As it returns to water, it’s free to move.
This is how we want our connective tissue.
Connective tissue that is pliable and juicy allows for the greatest movement of chi.
What we need to understand is that up until the age of 25 our body keeps producing lubrication – that helps with keeping our fascia juicy – but then it stops.
As a result, fascia production becomes less as we get older.
Our body starts to dry up!
Consider a grape.
As it dries it starts to wrinkle up into a sultana.
This is what happens to our fascia.
And just as a grape shrinks down to a sultana, so too does our connective tissue begin to shrink.
Connective tissue is continually squeezing in on us.
As this happens, the organs and muscles and nerves – and our precious lady parts – get shrunk wrapped; suffocated.
Now you can only guess what happens to organs that get suffocated…
They start to deteriorate.
Then they stop functioning.
Before we know it, we have a doctor’s diagnosis of having one of the many sexual health issues prevalent to women.
What causes our fascia to freeze into solid matter, and restrict the flow of chi?
A lack of movement.
If the connective tissue is not exercised through movement, then our watery fascia starts to stiffen.
Hard, stiff fascia = lack of mobility.
When people say they’re falling apart as they get older, what’s really happening, is they’re getting harder and more stuck.
The body is a city of sliding surfaces.
We need to have a certain amount of lubrication for this sliding to happen.
Just like the motor of a car.
It’ll blow up without oil to keep everything well lubricated and sliding.
We humans are no different.
Fascia needs to be exercised differently to muscle.
Pushing ourselves at the gym or taking part in yang styles of yoga – such as vinyasa, hatha and kundalini – focuses on working the belly of the muscle, not the fascia.
In order to access the connective tissue, we need to take a more yin approach to our exercise.
In a nutshell, the purpose of Yin Yoga is to harmonise the flow of chi in our bodies.
And it does this by therapeutically stressing the 14 skeletal segments and 10 myofascial groups in the body.
When you compress or stretch a target area of the body by sitting in a posture for a prolonged period of time – typically 3-7 minutes in a Yin Yoga class – with the muscles relaxed, you’re able to access the connective tissue.
(In a more dynamic class, like vinyasa, you are stressing the muscles, which is important for stability, but for mobility we also need to stress the connective tissue.)
So when we hold a yin posture, which stresses the connective tissues, we are effecting these energy channels (or meridians).
As you sit in the posture, you’re essentially waiting for the connective tissue to relax.
Only then can the chi flow more freely through it.
Trying to force the connective tissue to melt quicker than gravity would have it be, would be like trying to force ice to melt.
You’re more likely to break the ice – in the body this is known as injury – rather than melt it back to its flowing watery form.
You can’t force this yielding.
It happens naturally over time, thanks to gravity and an intention to release and let go.
When we release the posture there is a strong movement of fluid and chi through the target area, and often through the entire body.
This movement of chi is what helps nourish our body; lubricate the body.
Studies show that the connective tissue becomes more hydrated after being gently stretched or compressed for lengthy amounts of time.*
Emotional stress also contributes to the state of our fascia.
When we experience the stresses of everyday life, we tend to unconsciously tense the body.
You don’t want to be so stressed out in life that you are unconsciously clenching your tissues to the point of physical exhaustion and deterioration, as this unconscious contraction gets stored in our fascia, and thus, inhibits the flow of chi.
On an emotional front, when chi gets stuck, we start to mis-identify with who we are.
On a physical front, we start to manifest disease and illness in the body as our various parts begin to deteriorate.
This is the basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
By adding some yin to our exercise regime, we’re able to stretch those tissues to help melt that tension, which frees the body to function with more ease.
Chi starts flowing and the body begins to heal itself.
Ok, so can’t I just do yin postures as opposed to using the Jade Egg?
Taking a yin approach to your workout will certainly help keep your body functioning well, but it won’t necessarily help your sexual organs.
While there are some great yin yoga postures that reach the hip flexor muscles – the iliacus, the psoas, the rectus femoris and the sartorius – from my research and formal training in this area, there are no yoga postures that directly target the 16 muscles of the pelvic floor, or the fascia that is interwoven into our sexual organs, bladder and rectum.
Yet, this connective tissue needs to be exercised, just like the connective tissue that runs throughout the rest of our body.
The shrink wrapping that happens in the pelvis, often leads to women experiencing prolapse, incontinence, abnormal cells that can lead to cancer, polycystic ovaries… and the list goes on and on and on.
In worst case scenarios, women are advised to have a sexual organ taken out, or a full hysterectomy.
Having these kinds of procedures is a bandaid solution, and in over half of cases, leads to further operations, loss of libido and emotional turmoil, as hormones become unstable.
It’s much more healthy to your entire being, to work from the inside out, and help restore supple elasticity to the fascia of the pelvic bowl, so that your organs can be well supported and nourished, as they enjoy the healthy flow of chi.
This is where the Jade Egg can help.
By simply wearing the Jade egg – either on its own or during a practice of sitting and standing postures – you are exercising the connective tissue of the pelvis.
You are allowing gravity to melt the fascia over time, which promotes mobility among the contents of the pelvic bowl.
When you do specific exercises that include squeezing and releasing the egg, you’re exercising the muscles that support the sexual organs, to create stability.
In this kind of practice you’re working both the muscles and the connective tissues in the best possible way to promote the health of your lady parts.
Yes, for a healthy body – and healthy sexual organs – we need an even balance of mobility and stability.
It is upon this understanding of the body, that Yoga for the Vagina was created.
It takes more than a hard and fast approach to care for your sexual organs.
For instance, in order to have a healthy pelvic floor, it needs to be elastic.
Not rock hard as some ‘experts’ would have you believe.
It would be impossible to birth a baby through a rock hard pelvic floor!
Yet many forms of exercise encourage you to clench this area, thus creating tension, as opposed to true strength.
Hopefully from this blog, you will now understand that tension doesn’t equal health.
A healthy pelvic bowl is one that has relaxed connective tissue and supple, toned muscles.
For when this is the state of our pelvis and its contents, then chi can flow freely throughout the area.
And learning to feel the flow of chi through the body is how we tap into our sexual pleasure.
So, let’s recap.
When you practice with a Jade Egg you are:
1) Getting the chi flowing more easily thorough your body, aka. your sexual energy.
2) Learning how to sharpen your ‘feeling’ sense, so you can experience that chi by way of pleasure.
Once you become more aware of this chi within you, you’re able to start directing that chi to different areas of the body, to heal, but also, to create deeper experiences of orgasm.
This is how the practice both heals and expands pleasure.
You relax the fascia, which allows chi to flow more freely through the meridians.
As you rest after each posture you give yourself the opportunity to feel the effects of that chi movement.
You learn during this time of stillness, to feel the energy moving within.
You can literally feel the vibration of the posture infusing itself into your being.
The more you practice in this way, the more heightened your sense of pleasure.
So when we practise yoga poses with a Jade Egg, as I teach in Yoga for the Vagina, we are stimulating the flow of chi to promote healing.
As we age, we need forms of movement such as yoga, to keep the body fluid.
To keep the body hydrated.
We need to keep our pelvic fascia open and juicy.
This lubrication is vital so the body can stay healthy and continue functioning well into our twilight years.
And yes, when we work with the Jade Egg we are primarily focusing our efforts in the pelvic area, but that healing spreads through the body, especially with the range of postures I teach my clients.
And healing = pleasure!
While this is a fairly basic explanation of how the Jade Egg can promote the flow of sexual energy and heal the sexual organs, it hopefully helps shed light on why this practice can be so powerful.
I go into much more depth inside the Yoga for the Vagina online series on the energetic and emotional benefits of chi flow and sexual healing.
If you’re interested in learning more, Yoga for the Vagina is an online program I created to teach women how to use the Jade Egg in a way that is healing on all levels.
It contains dozens of practices, using specific postures to help facilitate energy flow through the pelvic bowl, so the entire body can benefit.
*For more information on such studies, please see the pioneering research of Helene Langevin, MD, PhD, director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine in Boston.