If you’ve been watching Netflix’s Too Hot To Handle, you know that it’s not an ordinary reality dating show. Despite the fact that the contestants are all hot, single, and stuck on an island paradise together, hooking up will actually count against them. Despite the premise, at least one episode has a surprisingly sex positive twist. That’s right, we’re talking about the vagina worshipping. Specifically, the yoni puja workshop that occurs in episode seven, which was led by relationship and intimacy expert Shan Boodram.
First, some context: Yoni puja is a sacred tantric ritual that is thought to have originated in India. Yoni is a Sanskrit word that’s been interpreted to mean vulva or vagina (which we already knew, thanks to Goop’s infamous yoni egg). Puja means to worship.
During a yoni puja, people may worship a painting or sculpture that represents the yoni, or the yoni in its physical form (a.k.a. your actual vagina). The practice is “truly about owning who you are in this very moment, feeling good about that, and drawing inspiration and power from it,” said Boodram, in the show.
“An important prerequisite for worshipping the yoni is the purification of the mind from worldly ideas about yoni, of the shame and guilt most of us carry,” says Sofia Sundari, transformational leader and founder of the Priestess School and the Serpent Mystery School. That’s a message we can get behind.
During the yoni puja in Too Hot To Handle, Boodram encouraged the contestants to shout out all of the negative things they’ve heard about female genitalia in the past. The phrases the contestants shouted were, sadly, familiar, including terms like “beef curtains” or “loosey goosey.” “I want us to throw away all of those things we’ve heard,” Boodram said. We agree, Shan!
Then each contestant took a small handheld mirror and looked at their own yonis — something a few of them haven’t done before — before drawing and describing them. The drawers ranged from a true-to-life vulva to a butterfly, but the words had a common thread: powerful, strong, beautiful.
“This is an opportunity for women to separate themselves from other people’s perspectives of their bodies and for them to develop their own relationship with their own yoni and reflect on their feelings about it,” Boodram explained.
Of course, this was filmed for reality TV, so the yoni puja workshop was entertaining. But beneath that, it was pretty inspiring. We are always 100% here for reinforcing the message that all vulvas are normal vulvas, and deserve to be accepted and uplifted.
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