Bajos: Mayan Wisdom for Postpartum Care
Rooted in Central America, there is an ancient well-respected healing practice known as bajo. It’s a relic of ancient Mayan midwifery that has been passed down through generations of childbearing women, and traditional healers, modern midwives and holistic doctors who understand that the herbal remedy is an important part of postpartum care.
During a bajo treatment, gentle heat, soothing moisture, and medicinal plant oils are applied to the exterior tissues of the vagina via steam. It is believed that bajos increase circulation and blood flow through the vagina allowing the porous tissues to absorb the bioactive plant oils in concentration carry them through the bloodstream. The treatment works on the reproductive system, including the uterus, where it helps to thin mucus, shed build-up, heal, tone, and revitalize the reproductive system.
Traditionally, women do the bajo treatment between 5 and 15 days postpartum to provide comfort, relaxation, and speed healing. Calendula reduces pain and swelling, while rosemary acts as an antibacterial and inhibits infection; motherwort helps to expel any excess matter in the uterus, while yarrow assists with the toning of the reproductive system postpartum; and mugwort is thought to help balance hormones.
This postpartum remedy is making its way to the United States where women have adopted the term yoni steaming for the traditional treatment. Yoni in Sanskrit, translates to “origin of life”. Yoni steaming is growing in popularity. In addition to the physical benefits, moms find that the yoni steaming ritual is an act of self-care and allows them personal quiet time.
Vibrant Souls Home Bajo Ritual
- Simmer 1 cup of dry yoni steaming herbs in 2 quarts of purified water for 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and carefully pour the herbs and water into a basin.
- Find a quiet place to relax with the basin beneath your vagina for 30 minutes.
- Stay wrapped in warm blankets to keep the heat and steam inside.
- You can use a seat made specifically for yoni steaming.
- The steam should feel pleasant and warm – allow it to cool a bit so it’s tolerable.
Moms should wait at least a week after birth, be done bleeding, and make sure there are no infections before starting their yoni steams. It is okay for moms to steam repeatedly – twice to three times per week. It is never too late to start steaming, as it helps to regulate the menstrual cycle, reduces menstrual cramps and fatigue, detoxifies the body, and enhances sensation. Yoni steams are great for treating endometriosis and uterine fibroids and are wonderful to use during peri-menopause, it’s no wonder this ancient Mayan tradition has been kept alive for millennia.
As we take on responsibility for our own feminine health, we seek new ways to reconnect and give rise to our unique power and radiance. Oftentimes the remedies we discover aren’t new – they’re ancient, and they’re being revived. Today, women are calling upon the wisdom of our ancestors, and medicine from the earth, to heal and support our bodies – after birth and beyond. Remembering the wisdom of the bajo is, like birth, only the beginning of a life of radiant wellness.
Note: Please be aware that you should never steam when infection or fever is present. Please do not steam while pregnant, or if you have an intrauterine device (IUD). Please consult your trusted holistic healthcare professional prior to introducing any new treatments.
Learn more about the bajo practice and where you can get your herbal yoni steam.
Sierra Brashear, MA is Founder and President of Vibrant Souls, a small wellness company that driven by the belief that a well woman radiates potential for personal and planetary transformation. In addition to making yoni steaming herbs available to women worldwide, Vibrant Souls offers doula care, placenta encapsulation and belly henna services to the Boulder, Colorado community. Find Vibrant Souls on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Sierra also serves as Secretary for the Board of Directors of the non-profit organization Midwife International.
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