Podcast Episode: Female Embodiment With Hillary Kimball

Connecting with our bodies to live more fully our sexuality

Podcast Episode: Female Embodiment With Hillary Kimball

Connecting with our bodies to live more fully our sexuality

 
 

Our head sometimes gets in the way of our ability to be fully present during sex. In this interview, embodiment coach Hillary Kimball shares about her practice to reconnect to our body and our sexual energy, to become fully present to physical selves as sexual beings.

Episode Transcript

Smile Makers , 00:09
Hi and welcome to Clitastic Chronicles, a pleasure positive podcast created by Smile Makers for people with a clitoris. In this episode, we’re chatting with Hillary Kimball, a Women's Sensual Embodiment coach and Jade Eggs expert. Have you ever felt like you were not feeling fully connected with your body and your sexuality? Hillary did and explored this disconnect until she developed a practice to bring awareness to this part of her life. During the interview, we will refer to the female anatomy using words like vulva or vagina, and other times, we will use words like yoni or womb, that can encompass the female anatomy but that also invite us to look at womanhood and the female experience from a larger perspective. Hillary walks us through how to connect with our body and to our female energy. Let’s get started! Can you share what brought you to do this work? If there was like a singular thing? Or has it been quite a natural path that you've always been on?

Hillary Kimball , 01:20
Yeah, I would say it's a little bit of both. So I was always like, quite intrigued by sexuality when I was growing up, like, I remember as a teenager, and even when I was in university, like, really wanting to be a sex therapist, actually, but I had so much shame and so much shutdown in my own sexuality. It's like, I never thought that that was possible. So I pursued a different path. And eventually, I got really connected with yoga and meditation. And I was super super into that, and practising and teaching and studying a lot. And I basically got to a point in my own personal development in my personal practice, where I felt like something was really, really missing. And I think I knew what that something was. And I'd very much know what it is now. And it was my sexuality and my femininity were completely left out of the picture. Yeah, so I really started doing this work because I wanted to reconnect for myself. But I also had a lot of healing work that I know that I needed to do, I had sexual trauma from when I was a teenager, and in my mid 20s, that I had looked at a little bit, you know, mostly from the lens of being in therapy and doing work myself around those issues. But I knew that I needed to go a layer deeper and actually go into my female body in order to really heal those things. And then, I guess on the opposite side of that I was really wanting like awakening and an opening in my own sexuality. It was like I was experiencing my sexuality is as what I described as lukewarm, like, it was okay, it wasn't horrible. It wasn't amazing. But I had this intuition that there was like, room for so much more. And I wanted to experience that. But for, for years, like I didn't really know what to do or how to get there. So it just kind of like sat there is this desire that I would become aware of every once in a while, but then just kind of, you know, shove aside and do other things. And so, I basically got to a point where I found an online course that was my opening to these things and to this world and then it from there, it became very, very clear very soon, that this was the path that I was meant to be walking not only for myself, but in supporting other women as well.

Smile Makers , 03:49
Oh, my goodness, there was so much in there I don't know where to start. I'm, I've actually noticed that there does seem to be a common thread with women who specialise in the kind of work that you do. So like female embodiment, and working with Jade eggs, and they kind of have a yoga background, and have always felt like something is missing from that practice. And I think that happens to a lot of us yoga teachers, you get to a point where it's like something is not we're kind of like ignoring a part of ourselves in this practice. And at some point, you kind of have to address it or your practice is kind of limited.

Hillary Kimball , 04:30
Totally. I call I call this work with feminine about a minute and sexuality to the next level yoga for women because I really do feel that it can bring our personal practice or spiritual practice or self development practice and our embodiment practice to a whole new level. And it's it's like I love working with women who have kind of been on this yoga path for a while and then they're like, okay, what's next? Like I'm ready for something new.

Smile Makers , 04:57
Absolutely. Give me your definition of embodiment because it's a word that I hear a lot these days and I use myself but I'm not even sure if I'm fully aware of like, what that means.

Hillary Kimball , 05:12
Yeah, it's funny I start off a lot of my introductory workshops asking everybody what embodiment is or what specifically feminine embodiment is. So I would say on a very simple level, that embodiment is anything that literally connects you with your body. So like yoga is definitely an embodiment practice, meditation is an embodiment practice, because you're watching the breath, go through the body. The things, the thing that I find that's missing, though, is an explicit focus or awareness on the female body and on the sexual centre.

Smile Makers , 05:50
Right. Awesome. That's really helpful. Thank you. See, you mentioned how your own relationship with your body and your sexuality and kind of noticing that there were patches that you wanted to kind of heal in your life brought you to this work, other practices that you teach, or facilitate that can inform women's relationships with their own autonomy and, and consent. And,

Hillary Kimball , 06:21
yeah, yeah, yeah, definitely. So I think that until we get connected with our sexual organs and our reproductive organs, we're not really knowing ourselves in these areas. And we're not aware of what we want, what we need, what our fears are, what our deepest desires are. And therefore it's really, really hard to give it like a consent from a grounded really like authentic, truthful place. So there's a lot of practices that I teach that just like on a very, very basic level, get women connected with their yonis with their sexual centre. So simple stuff, like breathing all the way down into the Yoni and the Yoni is a Sanskrit word that means all of your sexual and reproductive organs. Sometimes it's used just to mean vagina, but it really does mean the vulva, the vagina, the cervix, the womb, the ovaries, all of what's going on in our pelvis. Yeah, so yeah, practices to get us in touch with that. So breathing into it, visualisation practices, different meditations, where we're just bringing our attention to these different parts of our anatomy. So bringing our attention to the clitoris, maybe squeezing the muscles around that, bringing our attention to the outer lips, to the inner lips, to the entrance of the vagina, to the centre of the vagina to the deepest part of the vagina, really, really using, we're actually using the tool of our minds here, and isolating these different parts of ourselves, just so that we're more connected with them most of the time, especially as women, because our anatomy is on the inside of us. Mostly, we're completely neglecting and ignoring it. It's like we're not touching it with our own hands. Generally speaking, we're not looking at it in the mirror, we're not bringing our awareness there, so these simple tools of breath and awareness and focus. And then bringing in other things like movement, like moving the pelvis, squeezing different muscle groups, women can really learn to isolate different muscles in the different parts of their yonis, even using sound in this is an amazing way to begin to release energy to release stuck emotions and to bring in more space for what is our own pleasure and joy and our own essence, actually.

Smile Makers , 08:54
Amazing. And I think it's so important the that you've spoken about connecting with our anatomy, because we know and Smile Makers that a lot of women, they have a lot of shame, or a lot of confusion, miseducation, whatever you want to call it around, just touching their own bodies. Um, would you say that was kind of step one was to kind of touch yourself? Or is there maybe stages before that for someone who is just like, who finds that really, you know, like confronting like, they're not used to touching themselves? Is there stages to kind of build up to that?

Hillary Kimball , 09:36
Yeah, there's definitely stages. And the first thing that I want to say is that if a woman has a lot of shame around that, that it's totally normal. You know, we live in a world that does not teach women to connect with these parts of us and we actually live in a world that teaches us to have a lot of shame and a lot of guilt and a lot of judgement. So I just really, really want to normalise that first and for all of the listeners, share that there's nothing wrong with you, that you're perfect as you are, and that there are so many ways to turn this around so that you can really reclaim and celebrate your sexuality. So here's a couple of different things that I love to teach women when they're just beginning to go on the journey of reconnecting and especially if they're not in a place yet where they're ready to touch themselves. So the first could be and this is not necessarily like in any order, like for the listeners, you can just kind of take the things that appeal to you and use those and leave the ones that don't appeal to you to the side. So you can look at yourself with a mirror. So actually take a handheld mirror and look at the outside of your vulva. And really just take her in and you know, if shame comes up, if judgement comes up, that's fine. It's not something that you need to push away. It's you can really really welcome any reactions even if tears come up. Maybe if anger comes up, any emotions that arise are super super welcome in this work. So you know, looking at yourself with a mirror is one thing that you can do. If a woman is not ready to yet touch herself, she can actually just touch herself energetically. So take her hands and put them just a couple of centimetres away from her vulva and just feel the energy that's there. Another thing she can do again, is breathing all the way down into her Yoni, or even imagining like that there's a mouth on the Yoni and the Yoni can take in air so this is called Yoni breathing. So imagining that the Yoni is actually breathing inwards.

Smile Makers , 11:36
Wow.

Hillary Kimball , 11:37
And it's a really, really beautiful and foundational practice. Um, a couple other things are actually having a conversation with your Yoni. So asking her Hey, how are you doing? How can I support you? How can I serve you? How can I make you feel safe? Yeah, what do you really need? What do you want? How can I make you feel that you're important that you matter that you're worthy. And actually like listening to her messages, some women like to journal about this, someone likes to actually speak the messages out loud. And then a couple of other things are actually just brain and movements. So bringing in hip circles, while keeping your focus and awareness in your pelvis, shaking your hips back and forth. Doing things like squeezing the muscles, and then really, really, really consciously softening and relaxing and releasing them. So those are just a couple of things. There's definitely more but those are some basic things that a woman can do when she's ready to reconnect.

Smile Makers , 12:37
I love that. They're all like such practical tips as well.

Hillary Kimball , 12:41
Yeah, they're simple, right? Yeah, I think that I love about this work is that, you know, it can feel like really big and really daunting. But then it actually just comes down to bringing our awareness. They're bringing our breath, they're bringing our movement, they're doing simple things like speaking to our bodies.

Smile Makers , 13:00
Yeah, that that we ignore it. And so mindfulness at the end of the day, and it should be basic, but it really isn't was so disconnected. It's crazy. Like we just operate Well, I say we but I, yeah, generally speaking, yeah. Generally speaking, I think Yeah, most of us live in a society where we're expected to kind of live from the shoulders up. And so just remembering that we exist. But yeah, a lot of it out in that. Yeah, movement and breath and being mindful of like, the, the sensations and the feelings and having, having a conversation with your body. I love that. Um, you mentioned the kind of energetic touch and I think that's something that we did in a workshop that I that I took with you the Jade eggs workshop, and you kind of suggested, if your vagina isn't ready to, like receive the Jade egg today, that's not something you want to do. You can kind of just hold it there. And just like it was, I can't remember the exact instruction but it was to do with like, the energetic kind of touch. Is this something that you recommend for I'm thinking of women with like, vulvodynia, vaginismus or maybe they have post surgery and, you know, I feel like if you have endometriosis or something like that going on, you can end up having a lot of resent for your body and I know this personally and it kind of shuts you down because it's like you just associate that area with pain.

Hillary Kimball , 14:36
Yeah,yeah, totally. Yeah, so that is definitely something that a woman with anything like you said vaginismus or any sort of recurring infections or endometriosis, like you said, or cysts or fibroids. You know, the tendency when we have something like this going on, especially in like in our body in general, but especially in this sexual centre is to just to like, push it all down and not want to go there. You know, and, like you said, like an amazing way to bring healing to these issues and a lot of these issues that women have around their sexuality, there is a connection with emotions and with energy and yes, with physical components as well. But it can be so soothing. And so healing, to just bring our love there and to just bring our presence there to actually ask our bodies. Hey, what's going on? What are you trying to tell me with this? What are the messages? What am I not listening to? What would you like me to hear? And then yeah, like just holding our hands energetically, even bringing a smile to our face and directing that smiling energy down into the pelvis. Using a mirror can be really helpful also, and just actually like, looking at her and like bringing, bringing a field of acceptance and love and compassion there it can be so it's so basic, but it can be so so super healing.

Smile Makers , 16:05
Yeah. And I think compassion is definitely the perfect word for it. Because it can feel so frustrating when you have chronic issues that it's almost like you're in a fight with your body. It feels like something other.

Hillary Kimball , 16:18
Yeah, absolutely. And I had that also, I had recurring yeast infections for seven years. And it was so frustrating. And I, you know, I did everything physical that I could possibly do. And it wasn't until I really started to go to the emotional levels to the energy levels, and to actually, like, go there physically by using the Jade egg and other practices that it started to clear. So I really, really believe in bringing in these other components to a woman's healing as well.

Smile Makers , 16:48
Wow. Could you explain a bit about the Jade egg practice with someone who has never heard of it?

Hillary Kimball , 16:56
Yeah, absolutely. So the Jade egg is an ancient Taoist practice. So Taoism came from China, just like yoga came from India. And in the Taoist tradition, there are separate sexual vitality practices for women and for men. And the Jade egg is part of the women's sexual vitality practices. So basically, the daoists realise, and this is a 5000 year old practice, this is not a modern day practice. So that was realised like 5000 years ago, that wow, sexual energy is powerful. It's literally the energy of creation. And it would be a waste, not to learn how to harness and cultivate and work with this energy in our lives. So that not only can we have more pleasure, but just so that we can be more whole and more vitalized and more energised, more creative, and also more spiritual. Well, so basically, the Jade egg is an egg, it literally looks like an egg and is carved out of real Jade or now there's a lot of other crystals that are used as well, like Rose Quartz, and obsidian and many more. And it's used inside of a woman's vagina. And the thing that's so cool about the Jade egg practices, that it's a holistic practice. And so it does many, many things all at the same time. It creates a new relationship with a woman's feminine body. It reconnects her on such a deep level. It's amazing for doing healing work. It is so so excellent for awakening pleasure and awakening, a woman's orgasmic capacity. So many women come to the Jade egg practice saying stuff like I can't feel the inside of my vagina, or there's numbness there, or there's pain there, or I can't have an orgasm from my vagina. And then they're able to turn all of that around and have like massive increases in sensation, in wetness, just in the amount of lightness that they feel in this part of the body. The Jade egg is amazing for grounding and centering and just finding like a sense of internal power of really connecting to the Yoni, which is our place of empowerment for women. It's our place of intuition, of wisdom, of connection, of spirit, of guidance, and of course, pleasure. And the Jade egg is so awesome. And I love it so much because it really touches all of these areas all at the same time. So that's why it's my favourite feminine embodiment tool. And one of the tools that I really focus on in my teachings.

Smile Makers , 19:31
Amazing.Oh, wow. Every time you explain Jade eggs To me, it's like I'm hearing it for the first time. And it unfortunately, in some cases, some people might think of it as a bit like abstract and a bit maybe woowoo. And they just, I think the way you explain it just makes perfect sense.

Hillary Kimball , 19:53
Yeah, yeah. And something I love to say to that is like 20, 30 years ago, yoga and meditation were also abstract. And they were also woowoo. And now there's yoga studios on every corner. And even people in corporate worlds are doing yoga. And I actually really see the same movement happening with the Jade egg. Like, I believe that in 20 or 30 years, it's going to be everywhere, it's going to be normal for women to practice it just like it's normal for women to practice yoga now. And it's really, you know, I've already seen in the last five to 10 years that it is blowing up and spreading all around the world, and it's just going to keep on getting stronger and stronger, because it is such a life changing experience for women to use it

Smile Makers , 20:38
I completely agree with you. I really do. Okay, so I was also wondering, taking everything that someone has learned from the things you shared today or doing a workshop with you, and, and having that starting their own practice? How can they then connect everything with their partners during sex and kind of developing their intimacy with a partner?

Hillary Kimball , 21:06
Yeah, that's such an amazing question. So I really believe that it is an amazing first step to go on this journey yourself, to really, really get to know yourself and all of the ways that we've been talking about so taking time to know your anatomy and to self pleasure. And also taking some time to really tune in with what do you want with your partner and with your sexual relationship with your partner?, what are your fears, what are your needs, so that you can feel safe and comfortable and open. So your emotional needs, your body's needs all of this stuff. So one of the first things would be actually creating a safe space so that you can communicate these things to your partner. And I think that like a lot of the times women are hesitant to do that, because there's a lot of shame or because there's fear that will be rejected, stuff like that. So it is really, really important to create that space and share what you want, what you need, what you're afraid of what you love. Yeah, and other things that you can do are really tune into the senses. So when our senses become alive, this is one really, really awesome thing that we can do to prepare our bodies for sexuality with someone else. So taking time to touch, to look, to smell, to taste, to hear and doing this with your partner, doing other things like actually just taking space to look into each other's eyes. There's other things like maybe some of the listeners have heard of the wheel of consent. If not, that's something that can easily be looked up online and on YouTube. So that's um, a practice where partners change in or switch off between giving each other what they want, and between actually giving their partners what they desire, both for their own pleasure and for their partner's desire. And that can be a tool that's massively massively healing and connecting. Joining a workshop together doing couples, we're doing some kind of coaching all of these things can really like build intimacy and the desire to go deeper with a partner.

Smile Makers , 23:16
Absolutely. There's lots of actionable things you just mentioned there. And I think what maybe put some people off is, as well as maybe having a bit of shame or embarrassment, about bringing that up is the idea that maybe it sounds like a lot of work, and that relationships and sex shouldn't be work. And maybe they've internalised this idea that it should just happen, which I think is put on women a lot. And it's kind of like, well, a very disconnect for a lot of us are very disconnected from our bodies. So how would it just happen?

Hillary Kimball , 23:49
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that's, I think it's, we all inherit this message. And I think that is absolute crap. It's like, we can't expect our bodies to be healthy and vibrant and alive and functioning optimally without doing work on them. You know, without going to the gym ,without doing yoga, without doing meditation without consciously eating healthy. It's the same thing with sexuality. We do not live in a world that teaches us to have a thriving, conscious sexual relationship with ourself or with our partner. So this is something that we have to learn. And there's absolutely no shame in that. And I would encourage people to actually take it as like a fun exploration that yes, like, maybe there will be some difficult moments, maybe some shame will come up, maybe you'll feel embarrassed, and that's fine. It's totally fine and is totally normal. And it can also be a journey that connects you so super deeply with yourself and with your partner.

Smile Makers , 24:46
Yeah, I completely agree. And it's something that can definitely be very fun. Yeah, in a blog post that we're sharing soon, I spoke with a sex educator and she mentioned Oh, I'm gonna forget The name it's the three minute game by Betty. Yeah. The name. It's very it's very well known game, like, I'm sure you know it.

Hillary Kimball , 25:08
So this game is actually part of it's part of the wheel of consent. So yeah, it's it's funny, you're mentioning that

Smile Makers , 25:14
Amazing. Do you want to just explain it? Because I'm sure you explain it better than I would.

Hillary Kimball , 25:19
Yes, so the version, so one version of it that I love to use, and this is like quite a simple version actually, is you take an alarm and you're with a partner, and you set it for three minutes. So use your phone. And if I were going first, I would tell my partner exactly what I want him or her to do to me for three minutes. And then that person does it. Of course, if they agree to it, if the partner doesn't want to do it, then they can say no, like, I don't feel that is there's something else. And so then I get three minutes where I just get to receive exactly what I want. And then at the end of the three minutes, we switch, and then I give my partner what they want for three minutes. And then you can go back and forth several different times as many times as you want to. And that's just like a super, super simple version of the three minute game that gets you asking for what you want. And it brings you into the mode of receptivity, also, which is super, super important. And having a fulfilling sexual life.

Smile Makers , 26:19
Yep. And you can do it fully clothed, you can do it as platonic touch. And then I guess if you want to you can do it as sexual touch in this like different ways you can play with it. And there's different amounts of times you can go for it, like you said, a minute, just do it over and over. I it's so genius. And I thought that, I don't know why, though, I thought, um, so basically, obviously, we get to hear so much amazing information at Smile Makers, we have so many different partners in and people who contribute to our blog. So there's always new things to try. And I told my boyfriend about this game. And I, I don't know why he's, he's a very open person, but I didn't think he would be interested. But he was like, Oh, that sounds cool. Let's try it. And then just just like the platonic touch thing, and even on the platonic touch level, you learn so much about yourself and so much about the person because it's like, oh, like, you're squeezing my hand this way. And it's very different to how I would would squeeze your hand or think that you would want to receive that touch, and then you developing like a new language to communicate. And it's, oh, it's amazing. It's so helpful. It's such a great tool to have. And I think everyone can benefit if it's a new partner, or someone you've been with for a while just to refresh things. And just yeah, with your own body again, because you're always changing what you like will change. And the same for your partners. So we can't like assume these things. It's like constant learning. And it was fun. It's like, no, why it can't be fun.

Hillary Kimball , 28:01
Yeah, exactly. And I love the point that you made about, like, it doesn't necessarily have to be sexual, it can just be like, you can experiment with touching your hand. And like you said, it's a giving feedback on like, oh, that pressure is too much, or it's not strong enough. And like, this helps with communication and with a really like saying what we want and what we need. And wow, it can be such a beautiful exploration to do, you can even do it with friends. Like you said, non-, like in a platonic way. It's such a beautiful practice. Yeah. And it also like, it helps us to really tune in with like, with different desires that we have, and to like to put them out there and to ask for it. Because I think a lot of the times, we expect our partners to know exactly what we want, and we expect them to know exactly how we want to be touched. And that's an unfair thing to put onto our partners, we really, really have to own what we want to what we need, and put it out there be brave enough to ask for it.

Smile Makers , 29:04
Yeah, I think that's, that's true. Like there's a level of vulnerability and kind of just put it Yeah, putting out there and asking, and we don't really know ourselves until we've done our own kind of self discovery and self exploration. So they're not going to know unless we invite them into that.

Hillary Kimball , 29:22
Exactly, exactly. And it can be an ongoing exploration and discovery that you can do with your partner, which is just such a beautiful journey to be on.

Smile Makers , 29:33
Amazing. Ummm do you have any kind of further tips around letting go of shame, because that is such a huge one. We hear a lot from our community, we get questions every day about kind of accessing more pleasure and and it's often questions that are very loaded with shame.

Hillary Kimball , 29:54
Yeah, yeah. So it's such a big one. I feel like I'm gonna be letting go of sexual shame for the rest of my entire life, more and more layers constantly come up. So I think the like the most accessible way is to actually just start talking about it. So it's beautiful what you are doing at Smile Makers, just beginning to have these conversations. Because the thing with shame is that it really, really breeds on silence, and secrecy. And when we're silent about something and secret about something, then what happens, we think that we are the only one in the world experiencing this kind of thing. And when we, like you said, get a little bit vulnerable and speak up about it, share with other women about it share with other men, even in an online space can be an amazing way to begin to share things that might feel a little bit too vulnerable to share in person, the shame starts to reduce. So that's like one really, really big thing that I encourage women to do. Like I remember when I mentioned earlier that I faced recurring yeast infections for a very long time, and I had so much shame around it. And then when I finally started talking about it, I realised that so many other women also have the same thing. And I was like, Oh, my God, look, why was I being so silent about this? Yeah. So that's one beautiful thing is just sharing about it speaking about it, and it does require a little bit of courage at the beginning, but it can be such a fulfilling thing. Another thing that I find really helps is actually going to either live or online workshops and events that have to do with sexuality, because when we're in those spaces, we're automatically having these conversations. And like I hear all the time in the workshops, and retreats and trainings and stuff that I give like, Wow, it is so freeing, and so much shame dissolves, just when we get together in these spaces and beginning and begin to have conversations. Another thing if it's accessible, is to go to spaces where women are actually doing practices together. So that's one of the things that I do in the J temple, the women's space that I own in Copenhagen is we do practices, we do Jade egg and breast massage and stuff like this. And of course, it's always to the woman's comfort level. But we do them together in a group and women are always covered and in their own spaces. But it is so freeing to just go to these spaces and to allow yourself to show up as you are to accept yourself as you are to accept whatever comes up. And shame automatically starts to dissolve when we actually go there, shame starts to build and get stronger and stronger when we resist what's there. And when we push it down, and we're like, oh my god, I could never speak that, or I could never go there. So what I encourage women to do is to move towards their shame in very, very small ways. So it doesn't need to be like jumping full on into it right at the beginning. It's like almost just like seeing where your edge is and like flirting with that edge a little bit and like allowing yourself to meet that place where you're like, Oh, I can start to feel like a little bit uncomfortable here like does it feel safe for me to go there and like, just go in there in very, very little ways.

Smile Makers , 33:21
That's such great advice. And my next question, my last question actually was going to be about why you think it's important to have that physical space. I know, you mentioned that you created the J temple as a physical space for women to visit. What is it about women coming together and gathering together Do you think makes it such a powerful experience?

Hillary Kimball , 33:44
Yeah, well, there's so much so the first thing I want to share is that so many women who come to not only the J temple, but who come to different workshops and classes that I give when we're speaking about this stuff. One of the things I hear all the time is like, Oh my god, I feel like I'm coming home to something that is so deep within me that I didn't even realise was a thing I didn't even realise I was missing in my life. So there's really like this sense of homecoming of connection almost I hear of like this. It's like this ancient thing that's being awakened in women when they're coming together with other women in these spaces. So there's a really deep sense of connection that happens. And the connection happens not only with like herself, but also with other women. Shame reduction is a huge reason to come together in women's spaces. I already spoke about that. And I also find that like when we come together and spaces and either have these conversations or do practices together. It's like we travel as women so much deeper and so much more. When we do it together, so even though stuff like feminine embodiment and Jade egg and all of this, it's really an individual journey. But I also believe that it is absolutely meant to be done with other women. Because when we join together with other women, not only do we get their insights and their support and their encouragement and their, you know, like lifting us up one word down, we also, somehow it's like a group field is created, where we have the ability to just go to such deeper levels within ourselves when other women are around. And it's something that I hear all the time from women who come to the J temple and who join classes, that they're like, wow, it's like I do my own practice, like, which is good and beautiful. But Wow, like being in this space, it's like a whole new dimension that you're travelling to. And then there's also like, the restoring of women to women relationships. So in our modern world, we're really taught to compete with other women, to compare ourselves to other women. And there's something beautiful about coming to these spaces, where that just naturally begins to fall away. And there's like, a very deep, like, felt sense of acceptance for other women of like, wow, sister, like, I want you to thrive in your sexuality. And in your life, like, there's a deep sense of like, of supporting each other, and like really, really caring about the work that the other women are doing. And with that, there's like, you know, it's like, such a feeling of safety, can be developed. And it's really like, that's another thing that I hear all the time is like, wow, like, I feel so safe. And, you know, in our world, there's not a whole lot of spaces where we can go to as women where we can really feel safe in our bodies and safe in our sexuality. And that is a vital thing, in order to begin to feel connected, and to reclaim our bodies is to feel safe, to feel loved to feel like we belong no matter what. And these are things that are super, super, like organically developing in these women's spaces.

Smile Makers , 37:13
Absolutely. And that's how you just summed that up so perfectly. And I think that's really powerful that need of belonging and safety. And it's something that is taken for granted. We all kind of have, we're encouraged to live in very kind of like individual lifestyles, and to be very self focused. And I think what you're creating is so needed, and so healing, collectively, it's amazing. Well, when I taught yoga, I would get quite frustrated. And I still do when I go to classes, and I see people coming in just staring at their phones to get them that they sit on the mat, they do the practice, and then they just like walk straight out. And that's fine. Like, you don't have to talk to anyone, if you don't feel like it, that's fine. But you know, you'll see people having to like, step over someone else's bag, or like, they don't necessarily help each other again, like when they could and there's always these moments where we could be more connected.

Hillary Kimball , 38:15
It is so needed and like I really believe that it does go back to these basic human needs of feeling like we belong and feeling like we're safe and feeling like we will be loved no matter what. And especially with sexuality. We can think like oh my god, like I'm not going to be safe or loved or belonged if this thing comes out or if I share this thing, and there's something so beautiful about coming together and women's circles and women's spaces. And really realising like wow, other women are holding me unconditionally. And there's something so healing and so connecting and so just like awakening, uplifting about that. That's like Like I've never experienced in any other spaces in my life, including definitely in yoga teaching when I used to do that.

Smile Makers , 38:15
here's, there's so many windows. And I think what frustrated me with teaching yoga is that a lot of people would go there do the movement and leave, whereas when I started hosting women's circles, it's completely different vibe, everyone is like so much more present of the other person. And obviously, you have the kind of ground rules that you you hold space and you're not there to just like, you know, fly, or you think for yourself, you're listening actively. And it's a completely different vibe. And people always like cry and share so much and open up and it's it's so beautiful. And that's why I was like, as much as I love yoga, what was what we were getting, as a group out of the circles was just so much more, so much more than, like a physical class. And it was it's a really powerful and really needed thing that you're doing that you've you've made a physical space stretch. I think it's it's really amazing, so needed. Yeah. It's amazing. Thank you so much, Hillary. I've learned so much. And I'm sure everyone listening has learned a lot of things too. And there's so many tips that you've shared with us. So I would love to like, get you on the blog and speak with you again. So yeah, keep having this conversation.

Hillary Kimball , 40:26
Yeah, I would be so up for having more conversations. I love talking about this stuff. I love sharing this work with the world. So thank you so much for having me here. It's been such a pleasure.

Smile Makers , 40:40
We hope you enjoyed this episode of Clitastic Chronicles and found snippets of wisdom that you can apply to your own sexual health. If you like this podcast, share it around with your friends and give us a five star review on Apple podcasts or wherever you're getting your podcast form. This will help us make it easy to find. For more sex positivity. head to our website at Smile MakersCollection.com. See you there.

Our head sometimes gets in the way of our ability to be fully present during sex. In this interview, embodiment coach Hillary Kimball shares about her practice to reconnect to our body and our sexual energy, to become fully present to physical selves as sexual beings.

Episode Transcript

Smile Makers , 00:09
Hi and welcome to Clitastic Chronicles, a pleasure positive podcast created by Smile Makers for people with a clitoris. In this episode, we’re chatting with Hillary Kimball, a Women's Sensual Embodiment coach and Jade Eggs expert. Have you ever felt like you were not feeling fully connected with your body and your sexuality? Hillary did and explored this disconnect until she developed a practice to bring awareness to this part of her life. During the interview, we will refer to the female anatomy using words like vulva or vagina, and other times, we will use words like yoni or womb, that can encompass the female anatomy but that also invite us to look at womanhood and the female experience from a larger perspective. Hillary walks us through how to connect with our body and to our female energy. Let’s get started! Can you share what brought you to do this work? If there was like a singular thing? Or has it been quite a natural path that you've always been on?

Hillary Kimball , 01:20
Yeah, I would say it's a little bit of both. So I was always like, quite intrigued by sexuality when I was growing up, like, I remember as a teenager, and even when I was in university, like, really wanting to be a sex therapist, actually, but I had so much shame and so much shutdown in my own sexuality. It's like, I never thought that that was possible. So I pursued a different path. And eventually, I got really connected with yoga and meditation. And I was super super into that, and practising and teaching and studying a lot. And I basically got to a point in my own personal development in my personal practice, where I felt like something was really, really missing. And I think I knew what that something was. And I'd very much know what it is now. And it was my sexuality and my femininity were completely left out of the picture. Yeah, so I really started doing this work because I wanted to reconnect for myself. But I also had a lot of healing work that I know that I needed to do, I had sexual trauma from when I was a teenager, and in my mid 20s, that I had looked at a little bit, you know, mostly from the lens of being in therapy and doing work myself around those issues. But I knew that I needed to go a layer deeper and actually go into my female body in order to really heal those things. And then, I guess on the opposite side of that I was really wanting like awakening and an opening in my own sexuality. It was like I was experiencing my sexuality is as what I described as lukewarm, like, it was okay, it wasn't horrible. It wasn't amazing. But I had this intuition that there was like, room for so much more. And I wanted to experience that. But for, for years, like I didn't really know what to do or how to get there. So it just kind of like sat there is this desire that I would become aware of every once in a while, but then just kind of, you know, shove aside and do other things. And so, I basically got to a point where I found an online course that was my opening to these things and to this world and then it from there, it became very, very clear very soon, that this was the path that I was meant to be walking not only for myself, but in supporting other women as well.

Smile Makers , 03:49
Oh, my goodness, there was so much in there I don't know where to start. I'm, I've actually noticed that there does seem to be a common thread with women who specialise in the kind of work that you do. So like female embodiment, and working with Jade eggs, and they kind of have a yoga background, and have always felt like something is missing from that practice. And I think that happens to a lot of us yoga teachers, you get to a point where it's like something is not we're kind of like ignoring a part of ourselves in this practice. And at some point, you kind of have to address it or your practice is kind of limited.

Hillary Kimball , 04:30
Totally. I call I call this work with feminine about a minute and sexuality to the next level yoga for women because I really do feel that it can bring our personal practice or spiritual practice or self development practice and our embodiment practice to a whole new level. And it's it's like I love working with women who have kind of been on this yoga path for a while and then they're like, okay, what's next? Like I'm ready for something new.

Smile Makers , 04:57
Absolutely. Give me your definition of embodiment because it's a word that I hear a lot these days and I use myself but I'm not even sure if I'm fully aware of like, what that means.

Hillary Kimball , 05:12
Yeah, it's funny I start off a lot of my introductory workshops asking everybody what embodiment is or what specifically feminine embodiment is. So I would say on a very simple level, that embodiment is anything that literally connects you with your body. So like yoga is definitely an embodiment practice, meditation is an embodiment practice, because you're watching the breath, go through the body. The things, the thing that I find that's missing, though, is an explicit focus or awareness on the female body and on the sexual centre.

Smile Makers , 05:50
Right. Awesome. That's really helpful. Thank you. See, you mentioned how your own relationship with your body and your sexuality and kind of noticing that there were patches that you wanted to kind of heal in your life brought you to this work, other practices that you teach, or facilitate that can inform women's relationships with their own autonomy and, and consent. And,

Hillary Kimball , 06:21
yeah, yeah, yeah, definitely. So I think that until we get connected with our sexual organs and our reproductive organs, we're not really knowing ourselves in these areas. And we're not aware of what we want, what we need, what our fears are, what our deepest desires are. And therefore it's really, really hard to give it like a consent from a grounded really like authentic, truthful place. So there's a lot of practices that I teach that just like on a very, very basic level, get women connected with their yonis with their sexual centre. So simple stuff, like breathing all the way down into the Yoni and the Yoni is a Sanskrit word that means all of your sexual and reproductive organs. Sometimes it's used just to mean vagina, but it really does mean the vulva, the vagina, the cervix, the womb, the ovaries, all of what's going on in our pelvis. Yeah, so yeah, practices to get us in touch with that. So breathing into it, visualisation practices, different meditations, where we're just bringing our attention to these different parts of our anatomy. So bringing our attention to the clitoris, maybe squeezing the muscles around that, bringing our attention to the outer lips, to the inner lips, to the entrance of the vagina, to the centre of the vagina to the deepest part of the vagina, really, really using, we're actually using the tool of our minds here, and isolating these different parts of ourselves, just so that we're more connected with them most of the time, especially as women, because our anatomy is on the inside of us. Mostly, we're completely neglecting and ignoring it. It's like we're not touching it with our own hands. Generally speaking, we're not looking at it in the mirror, we're not bringing our awareness there, so these simple tools of breath and awareness and focus. And then bringing in other things like movement, like moving the pelvis, squeezing different muscle groups, women can really learn to isolate different muscles in the different parts of their yonis, even using sound in this is an amazing way to begin to release energy to release stuck emotions and to bring in more space for what is our own pleasure and joy and our own essence, actually.

Smile Makers , 08:54
Amazing. And I think it's so important the that you've spoken about connecting with our anatomy, because we know and Smile Makers that a lot of women, they have a lot of shame, or a lot of confusion, miseducation, whatever you want to call it around, just touching their own bodies. Um, would you say that was kind of step one was to kind of touch yourself? Or is there maybe stages before that for someone who is just like, who finds that really, you know, like confronting like, they're not used to touching themselves? Is there stages to kind of build up to that?

Hillary Kimball , 09:36
Yeah, there's definitely stages. And the first thing that I want to say is that if a woman has a lot of shame around that, that it's totally normal. You know, we live in a world that does not teach women to connect with these parts of us and we actually live in a world that teaches us to have a lot of shame and a lot of guilt and a lot of judgement. So I just really, really want to normalise that first and for all of the listeners, share that there's nothing wrong with you, that you're perfect as you are, and that there are so many ways to turn this around so that you can really reclaim and celebrate your sexuality. So here's a couple of different things that I love to teach women when they're just beginning to go on the journey of reconnecting and especially if they're not in a place yet where they're ready to touch themselves. So the first could be and this is not necessarily like in any order, like for the listeners, you can just kind of take the things that appeal to you and use those and leave the ones that don't appeal to you to the side. So you can look at yourself with a mirror. So actually take a handheld mirror and look at the outside of your vulva. And really just take her in and you know, if shame comes up, if judgement comes up, that's fine. It's not something that you need to push away. It's you can really really welcome any reactions even if tears come up. Maybe if anger comes up, any emotions that arise are super super welcome in this work. So you know, looking at yourself with a mirror is one thing that you can do. If a woman is not ready to yet touch herself, she can actually just touch herself energetically. So take her hands and put them just a couple of centimetres away from her vulva and just feel the energy that's there. Another thing she can do again, is breathing all the way down into her Yoni, or even imagining like that there's a mouth on the Yoni and the Yoni can take in air so this is called Yoni breathing. So imagining that the Yoni is actually breathing inwards.

Smile Makers , 11:36
Wow.

Hillary Kimball , 11:37
And it's a really, really beautiful and foundational practice. Um, a couple other things are actually having a conversation with your Yoni. So asking her Hey, how are you doing? How can I support you? How can I serve you? How can I make you feel safe? Yeah, what do you really need? What do you want? How can I make you feel that you're important that you matter that you're worthy. And actually like listening to her messages, some women like to journal about this, someone likes to actually speak the messages out loud. And then a couple of other things are actually just brain and movements. So bringing in hip circles, while keeping your focus and awareness in your pelvis, shaking your hips back and forth. Doing things like squeezing the muscles, and then really, really, really consciously softening and relaxing and releasing them. So those are just a couple of things. There's definitely more but those are some basic things that a woman can do when she's ready to reconnect.

Smile Makers , 12:37
I love that. They're all like such practical tips as well.

Hillary Kimball , 12:41
Yeah, they're simple, right? Yeah, I think that I love about this work is that, you know, it can feel like really big and really daunting. But then it actually just comes down to bringing our awareness. They're bringing our breath, they're bringing our movement, they're doing simple things like speaking to our bodies.

Smile Makers , 13:00
Yeah, that that we ignore it. And so mindfulness at the end of the day, and it should be basic, but it really isn't was so disconnected. It's crazy. Like we just operate Well, I say we but I, yeah, generally speaking, yeah. Generally speaking, I think Yeah, most of us live in a society where we're expected to kind of live from the shoulders up. And so just remembering that we exist. But yeah, a lot of it out in that. Yeah, movement and breath and being mindful of like, the, the sensations and the feelings and having, having a conversation with your body. I love that. Um, you mentioned the kind of energetic touch and I think that's something that we did in a workshop that I that I took with you the Jade eggs workshop, and you kind of suggested, if your vagina isn't ready to, like receive the Jade egg today, that's not something you want to do. You can kind of just hold it there. And just like it was, I can't remember the exact instruction but it was to do with like, the energetic kind of touch. Is this something that you recommend for I'm thinking of women with like, vulvodynia, vaginismus or maybe they have post surgery and, you know, I feel like if you have endometriosis or something like that going on, you can end up having a lot of resent for your body and I know this personally and it kind of shuts you down because it's like you just associate that area with pain.

Hillary Kimball , 14:36
Yeah,yeah, totally. Yeah, so that is definitely something that a woman with anything like you said vaginismus or any sort of recurring infections or endometriosis, like you said, or cysts or fibroids. You know, the tendency when we have something like this going on, especially in like in our body in general, but especially in this sexual centre is to just to like, push it all down and not want to go there. You know, and, like you said, like an amazing way to bring healing to these issues and a lot of these issues that women have around their sexuality, there is a connection with emotions and with energy and yes, with physical components as well. But it can be so soothing. And so healing, to just bring our love there and to just bring our presence there to actually ask our bodies. Hey, what's going on? What are you trying to tell me with this? What are the messages? What am I not listening to? What would you like me to hear? And then yeah, like just holding our hands energetically, even bringing a smile to our face and directing that smiling energy down into the pelvis. Using a mirror can be really helpful also, and just actually like, looking at her and like bringing, bringing a field of acceptance and love and compassion there it can be so it's so basic, but it can be so so super healing.

Smile Makers , 16:05
Yeah. And I think compassion is definitely the perfect word for it. Because it can feel so frustrating when you have chronic issues that it's almost like you're in a fight with your body. It feels like something other.

Hillary Kimball , 16:18
Yeah, absolutely. And I had that also, I had recurring yeast infections for seven years. And it was so frustrating. And I, you know, I did everything physical that I could possibly do. And it wasn't until I really started to go to the emotional levels to the energy levels, and to actually, like, go there physically by using the Jade egg and other practices that it started to clear. So I really, really believe in bringing in these other components to a woman's healing as well.

Smile Makers , 16:48
Wow. Could you explain a bit about the Jade egg practice with someone who has never heard of it?

Hillary Kimball , 16:56
Yeah, absolutely. So the Jade egg is an ancient Taoist practice. So Taoism came from China, just like yoga came from India. And in the Taoist tradition, there are separate sexual vitality practices for women and for men. And the Jade egg is part of the women's sexual vitality practices. So basically, the daoists realise, and this is a 5000 year old practice, this is not a modern day practice. So that was realised like 5000 years ago, that wow, sexual energy is powerful. It's literally the energy of creation. And it would be a waste, not to learn how to harness and cultivate and work with this energy in our lives. So that not only can we have more pleasure, but just so that we can be more whole and more vitalized and more energised, more creative, and also more spiritual. Well, so basically, the Jade egg is an egg, it literally looks like an egg and is carved out of real Jade or now there's a lot of other crystals that are used as well, like Rose Quartz, and obsidian and many more. And it's used inside of a woman's vagina. And the thing that's so cool about the Jade egg practices, that it's a holistic practice. And so it does many, many things all at the same time. It creates a new relationship with a woman's feminine body. It reconnects her on such a deep level. It's amazing for doing healing work. It is so so excellent for awakening pleasure and awakening, a woman's orgasmic capacity. So many women come to the Jade egg practice saying stuff like I can't feel the inside of my vagina, or there's numbness there, or there's pain there, or I can't have an orgasm from my vagina. And then they're able to turn all of that around and have like massive increases in sensation, in wetness, just in the amount of lightness that they feel in this part of the body. The Jade egg is amazing for grounding and centering and just finding like a sense of internal power of really connecting to the Yoni, which is our place of empowerment for women. It's our place of intuition, of wisdom, of connection, of spirit, of guidance, and of course, pleasure. And the Jade egg is so awesome. And I love it so much because it really touches all of these areas all at the same time. So that's why it's my favourite feminine embodiment tool. And one of the tools that I really focus on in my teachings.

Smile Makers , 19:31
Amazing.Oh, wow. Every time you explain Jade eggs To me, it's like I'm hearing it for the first time. And it unfortunately, in some cases, some people might think of it as a bit like abstract and a bit maybe woowoo. And they just, I think the way you explain it just makes perfect sense.

Hillary Kimball , 19:53
Yeah, yeah. And something I love to say to that is like 20, 30 years ago, yoga and meditation were also abstract. And they were also woowoo. And now there's yoga studios on every corner. And even people in corporate worlds are doing yoga. And I actually really see the same movement happening with the Jade egg. Like, I believe that in 20 or 30 years, it's going to be everywhere, it's going to be normal for women to practice it just like it's normal for women to practice yoga now. And it's really, you know, I've already seen in the last five to 10 years that it is blowing up and spreading all around the world, and it's just going to keep on getting stronger and stronger, because it is such a life changing experience for women to use it

Smile Makers , 20:38
I completely agree with you. I really do. Okay, so I was also wondering, taking everything that someone has learned from the things you shared today or doing a workshop with you, and, and having that starting their own practice? How can they then connect everything with their partners during sex and kind of developing their intimacy with a partner?

Hillary Kimball , 21:06
Yeah, that's such an amazing question. So I really believe that it is an amazing first step to go on this journey yourself, to really, really get to know yourself and all of the ways that we've been talking about so taking time to know your anatomy and to self pleasure. And also taking some time to really tune in with what do you want with your partner and with your sexual relationship with your partner?, what are your fears, what are your needs, so that you can feel safe and comfortable and open. So your emotional needs, your body's needs all of this stuff. So one of the first things would be actually creating a safe space so that you can communicate these things to your partner. And I think that like a lot of the times women are hesitant to do that, because there's a lot of shame or because there's fear that will be rejected, stuff like that. So it is really, really important to create that space and share what you want, what you need, what you're afraid of what you love. Yeah, and other things that you can do are really tune into the senses. So when our senses become alive, this is one really, really awesome thing that we can do to prepare our bodies for sexuality with someone else. So taking time to touch, to look, to smell, to taste, to hear and doing this with your partner, doing other things like actually just taking space to look into each other's eyes. There's other things like maybe some of the listeners have heard of the wheel of consent. If not, that's something that can easily be looked up online and on YouTube. So that's um, a practice where partners change in or switch off between giving each other what they want, and between actually giving their partners what they desire, both for their own pleasure and for their partner's desire. And that can be a tool that's massively massively healing and connecting. Joining a workshop together doing couples, we're doing some kind of coaching all of these things can really like build intimacy and the desire to go deeper with a partner.

Smile Makers , 23:16
Absolutely. There's lots of actionable things you just mentioned there. And I think what maybe put some people off is, as well as maybe having a bit of shame or embarrassment, about bringing that up is the idea that maybe it sounds like a lot of work, and that relationships and sex shouldn't be work. And maybe they've internalised this idea that it should just happen, which I think is put on women a lot. And it's kind of like, well, a very disconnect for a lot of us are very disconnected from our bodies. So how would it just happen?

Hillary Kimball , 23:49
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that's, I think it's, we all inherit this message. And I think that is absolute crap. It's like, we can't expect our bodies to be healthy and vibrant and alive and functioning optimally without doing work on them. You know, without going to the gym ,without doing yoga, without doing meditation without consciously eating healthy. It's the same thing with sexuality. We do not live in a world that teaches us to have a thriving, conscious sexual relationship with ourself or with our partner. So this is something that we have to learn. And there's absolutely no shame in that. And I would encourage people to actually take it as like a fun exploration that yes, like, maybe there will be some difficult moments, maybe some shame will come up, maybe you'll feel embarrassed, and that's fine. It's totally fine and is totally normal. And it can also be a journey that connects you so super deeply with yourself and with your partner.

Smile Makers , 24:46
Yeah, I completely agree. And it's something that can definitely be very fun. Yeah, in a blog post that we're sharing soon, I spoke with a sex educator and she mentioned Oh, I'm gonna forget The name it's the three minute game by Betty. Yeah. The name. It's very it's very well known game, like, I'm sure you know it.

Hillary Kimball , 25:08
So this game is actually part of it's part of the wheel of consent. So yeah, it's it's funny, you're mentioning that

Smile Makers , 25:14
Amazing. Do you want to just explain it? Because I'm sure you explain it better than I would.

Hillary Kimball , 25:19
Yes, so the version, so one version of it that I love to use, and this is like quite a simple version actually, is you take an alarm and you're with a partner, and you set it for three minutes. So use your phone. And if I were going first, I would tell my partner exactly what I want him or her to do to me for three minutes. And then that person does it. Of course, if they agree to it, if the partner doesn't want to do it, then they can say no, like, I don't feel that is there's something else. And so then I get three minutes where I just get to receive exactly what I want. And then at the end of the three minutes, we switch, and then I give my partner what they want for three minutes. And then you can go back and forth several different times as many times as you want to. And that's just like a super, super simple version of the three minute game that gets you asking for what you want. And it brings you into the mode of receptivity, also, which is super, super important. And having a fulfilling sexual life.

Smile Makers , 26:19
Yep. And you can do it fully clothed, you can do it as platonic touch. And then I guess if you want to you can do it as sexual touch in this like different ways you can play with it. And there's different amounts of times you can go for it, like you said, a minute, just do it over and over. I it's so genius. And I thought that, I don't know why, though, I thought, um, so basically, obviously, we get to hear so much amazing information at Smile Makers, we have so many different partners in and people who contribute to our blog. So there's always new things to try. And I told my boyfriend about this game. And I, I don't know why he's, he's a very open person, but I didn't think he would be interested. But he was like, Oh, that sounds cool. Let's try it. And then just just like the platonic touch thing, and even on the platonic touch level, you learn so much about yourself and so much about the person because it's like, oh, like, you're squeezing my hand this way. And it's very different to how I would would squeeze your hand or think that you would want to receive that touch, and then you developing like a new language to communicate. And it's, oh, it's amazing. It's so helpful. It's such a great tool to have. And I think everyone can benefit if it's a new partner, or someone you've been with for a while just to refresh things. And just yeah, with your own body again, because you're always changing what you like will change. And the same for your partners. So we can't like assume these things. It's like constant learning. And it was fun. It's like, no, why it can't be fun.

Hillary Kimball , 28:01
Yeah, exactly. And I love the point that you made about, like, it doesn't necessarily have to be sexual, it can just be like, you can experiment with touching your hand. And like you said, it's a giving feedback on like, oh, that pressure is too much, or it's not strong enough. And like, this helps with communication and with a really like saying what we want and what we need. And wow, it can be such a beautiful exploration to do, you can even do it with friends. Like you said, non-, like in a platonic way. It's such a beautiful practice. Yeah. And it also like, it helps us to really tune in with like, with different desires that we have, and to like to put them out there and to ask for it. Because I think a lot of the times, we expect our partners to know exactly what we want, and we expect them to know exactly how we want to be touched. And that's an unfair thing to put onto our partners, we really, really have to own what we want to what we need, and put it out there be brave enough to ask for it.

Smile Makers , 29:04
Yeah, I think that's, that's true. Like there's a level of vulnerability and kind of just put it Yeah, putting out there and asking, and we don't really know ourselves until we've done our own kind of self discovery and self exploration. So they're not going to know unless we invite them into that.

Hillary Kimball , 29:22
Exactly, exactly. And it can be an ongoing exploration and discovery that you can do with your partner, which is just such a beautiful journey to be on.

Smile Makers , 29:33
Amazing. Ummm do you have any kind of further tips around letting go of shame, because that is such a huge one. We hear a lot from our community, we get questions every day about kind of accessing more pleasure and and it's often questions that are very loaded with shame.

Hillary Kimball , 29:54
Yeah, yeah. So it's such a big one. I feel like I'm gonna be letting go of sexual shame for the rest of my entire life, more and more layers constantly come up. So I think the like the most accessible way is to actually just start talking about it. So it's beautiful what you are doing at Smile Makers, just beginning to have these conversations. Because the thing with shame is that it really, really breeds on silence, and secrecy. And when we're silent about something and secret about something, then what happens, we think that we are the only one in the world experiencing this kind of thing. And when we, like you said, get a little bit vulnerable and speak up about it, share with other women about it share with other men, even in an online space can be an amazing way to begin to share things that might feel a little bit too vulnerable to share in person, the shame starts to reduce. So that's like one really, really big thing that I encourage women to do. Like I remember when I mentioned earlier that I faced recurring yeast infections for a very long time, and I had so much shame around it. And then when I finally started talking about it, I realised that so many other women also have the same thing. And I was like, Oh, my God, look, why was I being so silent about this? Yeah. So that's one beautiful thing is just sharing about it speaking about it, and it does require a little bit of courage at the beginning, but it can be such a fulfilling thing. Another thing that I find really helps is actually going to either live or online workshops and events that have to do with sexuality, because when we're in those spaces, we're automatically having these conversations. And like I hear all the time in the workshops, and retreats and trainings and stuff that I give like, Wow, it is so freeing, and so much shame dissolves, just when we get together in these spaces and beginning and begin to have conversations. Another thing if it's accessible, is to go to spaces where women are actually doing practices together. So that's one of the things that I do in the J temple, the women's space that I own in Copenhagen is we do practices, we do Jade egg and breast massage and stuff like this. And of course, it's always to the woman's comfort level. But we do them together in a group and women are always covered and in their own spaces. But it is so freeing to just go to these spaces and to allow yourself to show up as you are to accept yourself as you are to accept whatever comes up. And shame automatically starts to dissolve when we actually go there, shame starts to build and get stronger and stronger when we resist what's there. And when we push it down, and we're like, oh my god, I could never speak that, or I could never go there. So what I encourage women to do is to move towards their shame in very, very small ways. So it doesn't need to be like jumping full on into it right at the beginning. It's like almost just like seeing where your edge is and like flirting with that edge a little bit and like allowing yourself to meet that place where you're like, Oh, I can start to feel like a little bit uncomfortable here like does it feel safe for me to go there and like, just go in there in very, very little ways.

Smile Makers , 33:21
That's such great advice. And my next question, my last question actually was going to be about why you think it's important to have that physical space. I know, you mentioned that you created the J temple as a physical space for women to visit. What is it about women coming together and gathering together Do you think makes it such a powerful experience?

Hillary Kimball , 33:44
Yeah, well, there's so much so the first thing I want to share is that so many women who come to not only the J temple, but who come to different workshops and classes that I give when we're speaking about this stuff. One of the things I hear all the time is like, Oh my god, I feel like I'm coming home to something that is so deep within me that I didn't even realise was a thing I didn't even realise I was missing in my life. So there's really like this sense of homecoming of connection almost I hear of like this. It's like this ancient thing that's being awakened in women when they're coming together with other women in these spaces. So there's a really deep sense of connection that happens. And the connection happens not only with like herself, but also with other women. Shame reduction is a huge reason to come together in women's spaces. I already spoke about that. And I also find that like when we come together and spaces and either have these conversations or do practices together. It's like we travel as women so much deeper and so much more. When we do it together, so even though stuff like feminine embodiment and Jade egg and all of this, it's really an individual journey. But I also believe that it is absolutely meant to be done with other women. Because when we join together with other women, not only do we get their insights and their support and their encouragement and their, you know, like lifting us up one word down, we also, somehow it's like a group field is created, where we have the ability to just go to such deeper levels within ourselves when other women are around. And it's something that I hear all the time from women who come to the J temple and who join classes, that they're like, wow, it's like I do my own practice, like, which is good and beautiful. But Wow, like being in this space, it's like a whole new dimension that you're travelling to. And then there's also like, the restoring of women to women relationships. So in our modern world, we're really taught to compete with other women, to compare ourselves to other women. And there's something beautiful about coming to these spaces, where that just naturally begins to fall away. And there's like, a very deep, like, felt sense of acceptance for other women of like, wow, sister, like, I want you to thrive in your sexuality. And in your life, like, there's a deep sense of like, of supporting each other, and like really, really caring about the work that the other women are doing. And with that, there's like, you know, it's like, such a feeling of safety, can be developed. And it's really like, that's another thing that I hear all the time is like, wow, like, I feel so safe. And, you know, in our world, there's not a whole lot of spaces where we can go to as women where we can really feel safe in our bodies and safe in our sexuality. And that is a vital thing, in order to begin to feel connected, and to reclaim our bodies is to feel safe, to feel loved to feel like we belong no matter what. And these are things that are super, super, like organically developing in these women's spaces.

Smile Makers , 37:13
Absolutely. And that's how you just summed that up so perfectly. And I think that's really powerful that need of belonging and safety. And it's something that is taken for granted. We all kind of have, we're encouraged to live in very kind of like individual lifestyles, and to be very self focused. And I think what you're creating is so needed, and so healing, collectively, it's amazing. Well, when I taught yoga, I would get quite frustrated. And I still do when I go to classes, and I see people coming in just staring at their phones to get them that they sit on the mat, they do the practice, and then they just like walk straight out. And that's fine. Like, you don't have to talk to anyone, if you don't feel like it, that's fine. But you know, you'll see people having to like, step over someone else's bag, or like, they don't necessarily help each other again, like when they could and there's always these moments where we could be more connected.

Hillary Kimball , 38:15
It is so needed and like I really believe that it does go back to these basic human needs of feeling like we belong and feeling like we're safe and feeling like we will be loved no matter what. And especially with sexuality. We can think like oh my god, like I'm not going to be safe or loved or belonged if this thing comes out or if I share this thing, and there's something so beautiful about coming together and women's circles and women's spaces. And really realising like wow, other women are holding me unconditionally. And there's something so healing and so connecting and so just like awakening, uplifting about that. That's like Like I've never experienced in any other spaces in my life, including definitely in yoga teaching when I used to do that.

Smile Makers , 38:15
here's, there's so many windows. And I think what frustrated me with teaching yoga is that a lot of people would go there do the movement and leave, whereas when I started hosting women's circles, it's completely different vibe, everyone is like so much more present of the other person. And obviously, you have the kind of ground rules that you you hold space and you're not there to just like, you know, fly, or you think for yourself, you're listening actively. And it's a completely different vibe. And people always like cry and share so much and open up and it's it's so beautiful. And that's why I was like, as much as I love yoga, what was what we were getting, as a group out of the circles was just so much more, so much more than, like a physical class. And it was it's a really powerful and really needed thing that you're doing that you've you've made a physical space stretch. I think it's it's really amazing, so needed. Yeah. It's amazing. Thank you so much, Hillary. I've learned so much. And I'm sure everyone listening has learned a lot of things too. And there's so many tips that you've shared with us. So I would love to like, get you on the blog and speak with you again. So yeah, keep having this conversation.

Hillary Kimball , 40:26
Yeah, I would be so up for having more conversations. I love talking about this stuff. I love sharing this work with the world. So thank you so much for having me here. It's been such a pleasure.

Smile Makers , 40:40
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