The Yoni Project is an innovative workshop series that uses the creative arts to create a safe space for young girls to connect with their bodies. The focus of the workshop is to create a holistically healthy relationship with their bodies, particularly one of the least talked about parts: the vagina. The Yoni Project uses the word yoni instead of vagina, since its rich Sanskrit-meaning, "origin of life," recognizes the spiritually healing and empowering components of the vagina. Despite the yoni being one of the least talked about body parts, it is one of the most sacred, empowering, and healing. Each age-appropriate workshop works with a small group of young women and has them develop a language to both talk about the cultural messages about this private place, and to develop a healthy relationship. In developing a healthy relationship, young girls can have more a fuller relationship with their bodies, foster a healthy sexuality, and build a strong sense of self as a woman . Using various art techniques (creative writing, mixed media arts, movement), the girls construct liberating messages about their yonis, similar to what Eve Ensler's play Vagina Monologues has done for older women for years. TYP beleives that when we taught girls how to explore and love their entire bodies on their own terms, we taught them that nobody could define those terms for them. When we helped them to discover a language for these terms, we helped them discover meaningful power. Each yoni has a song. The Yoni Project teaches girls how to hear it, and become in tune with its rhythm.

The Yoni Project does not take for granted the fact that for many of our young girls, the yoni has been a site of violence, be it physical, or verbal. While 1 out of 6 women in the U.S. will be a victim of sexual violence, all girls in US society are inundated with negative messages about the yoni through the media and our communities. Such violence and negativity encourages girls to disconnect with their yonis, and not understand any relevant importance in connecting. The facilitator acknowledges the various degrees of this trauma and discomfort in every workshop, making it apart of the conversation, and offering tangible tools for individual and community healing and general orientation with the topic. Once again, given the sensitive nature of these topics, the Yoni Project employs several art and mediation techniques which offer girls a more comfortable and personal medium to connecting their yonis, their healing, and their strength.

For more information about booking The Yoni Project for your school, organization, or group of family members, contact Mari Morales-Williams at 718-790-9770 or MoralesWilliams@temple.edu.

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