A few days ago, I was invited to a class on “yogic beauty secrets.” Um, yes I'll go to that. I've been on a yoga cruise, haven't I? I had no idea what it would entail, but I figured that my many yoga teachers over the years have been pretty good-looking people, so there was probably something to be learned.
When I showed up, our teacher, a glowing, smiling woman wrapped up in tunics and turbans made of white linen introduced herself as Guru Jagat. She looked wise and beautiful. She seated us on sheepskin mats and proceeded to lead us in a series of breathing and meditation exercises intended to help with everything from toxin elimination to wrinkle reduction. Then, just as class was wrapping up, she mentioned one last secret: jade eggs. Apparently, it's an actual egg-shaped tool, made from jade, that ladies stick up there for the purpose of things like improving their sex lives, giving them better posture, and increasing their skin elasticity. OK…what?! But, before I could blurt out my many questions, class was dismissed.
I accosted our teacher after class. In no world had I ever even vaguely considered that my vagina might in any way be linked to my skin—though when I think about it, both are things that I am pretty committed to keeping in good shape. Here's our conversation, recreated for your amusement and enlightenment:
Victoria Lewis: So about those jade eggs...
Guru Jagat: They’re small—actually, they come in a range of sizes—egg-shaped pieces of jade that have been used for hundreds of years. Originally, they were part of Daoist sexual practice, developed by courtesans in the courts of China who were trying to keep themselves healthy for the emperor.
VL: Why jade?
GJ : Jade itself has tons of healing properties. Putting it inside of you're really lets that healing go deep—pun not entirely intended. So for women who have had issues with their periods, with painful sex, with UTIs, or any other chronic stuff, this is going to help with that.
VL: How exactly does one go about using this thing?
GJ : So, there’s a string attached for you to insert and remove it. You can put it in while you sleep, you can put it in while you’re at work, or you can put it in for an hour at night while you’re watching TV and just gently lift and release it. Women in the courts of China used to attach weights to the string and they were so strong in their pelvic floor muscles that they could weight lift with the jade egg, like a sport!
Fun fact—when you start to isolate and strengthen the pelvic floor of the vaginal wall, it changes the level of pleasure you can experience in sex and opens up better orgasms.
VL: And what does any of this has to do with my skin?
GJ: So, basically, the teaching is that the internal tone of your vaginal walls is directly related to the collagen production and the tone of your face. It’s an essential yogic beauty teaching that’s been passed down for hundreds of years.
I mean, think of it this way—the jade egg is basically a Chi generator. And if you’re generating Chi in that area and connecting the energetic element to the musculature, then there is going to be more youthfulness and vitality running through your system. You can see it in everyday life. I mean, everybody knows that one hot grandma who looked great and was super active and liked to have sex into her old age. She physically ages differently than the woman who stopped having sex thirty years ago and let those muscles atrophy a little. There’s just not the same vitality in the face. So, more sex is a great way to keep your vitality, and you can look at the jade egg as an even more advanced tool in the same vein.
VL: How did you even learn about this?
GJ: I was really into Pilates and Kundalini yoga for a long time and both are very centered around Mula Bandha, or core strength. I knew from my own experience that when my pelvic floor and core muscles felt strong, everything felt better. My workouts changed, my orgasms changed, and I just felt sexier.
I’m a question-asker and a researcher, so I started to look into it. I found that Yogi Bhajan, who is the founder of Kundalini yoga, had tons of teachings on this stuff. I started looking into it, and then a few years ago, my boyfriend bought me a jade egg.
VL: And since you’ve been doing all of this, do you actually notice a difference?
GJ: I started doing Kundalini yoga when I was 21. I’m 35 now, and I look younger than I did when I started. There’s maturation of course, but in terms of the tone of my face and the clarity of my skin and things like that, I absolutely look better now. For me, the proof is in the pudding.
Maybe you're into it; maybe you're not! But always fun to read about something a little different—though crystal objects for use down below does seem to be a bit of a trend now. If you’re intrigued, you can get your own jade eggs here. Extra credit to anyone who can learn to weight lift with them.
Illustration by Lucy Han.