Tree Falling in the Woods

A Blog on Yoga and Related Topics

Tree Falling in the Woods 8: My Love Affair with the Neti

Follow the nose, it always knows. –Toucan Sam

Downdog Nose

Jala neti kriya, or more commonly just neti, is an ancient yogic/ayurvedic technique to purify the body. Using the neti pot is a great way to maintain nasal and sinus hygiene, to moisten sinus dryness caused by dry air in summer and winter months (that air conditioning and heat really dries out the nasal passages). Dry nasal passages are more likely to get infected by viruses and bacteria and sinus infections are the most common form of human illness. The saltwater mixture used in neti helps to clear and clean congested nasal passages and kill bacteria.

My love affair with the neti pot (or nasal irrigator/nasal cleaning system) started a few years ago. I have to admit that the first time I did it, my first thought was HOLY CRAP THIS IS BURNING MY NOSE and I definitely did not enjoy it. But neti is like eating food from street vendors. Yes, it is going to burn coming out, but it is soooooo good. And unlike a lot of street vendor food, it is good for you. Moreover, it is quite safe.

A lot has been written on this subject, so rather than regurgitate it all here, I will provide links to more information on neti below. I will however share some anecdotal evidence of its beneficial effects on me. As a result of using neti, I have had a significant decrease in allergies and allergy symptoms, reduced number of colds and when I have colds, reduced periods of recovery.

Whenever the weather is drying to the nasal passages or whenever I start to experience effects of allergens in the environment, I start using it daily (and I use it before I go on long flights–which I do fairly often–airplane air is the worst for your sinuses). I also start using it whenever I get a tickle in the back of my throat that is often the first sign of a cold, flu or other sinus infection. Then I do it twice a day, once in the morning and once before bedtime. I use a mixture of warm (but not hot) water and about a dime to quarter-sized amount of pure sea salt (be sure it doesn’t have any other ingredient other than salt such as anti-caking agents). Once the salt is dissolved in the warm water, with my head tilted to one side, I pour one pot full into each nostril and let it drain out the other nostril. It is truly a beautiful sight to behold (or not). My daughter loves watching this by the way, so it is free entertainment for the kids! Irrigate on!

Here are some links to more information:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neti_pot (What’s a neti pot?)
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/neti-pot/AN01755 (Mayo Clinic discussion of neti)
http://www.webmd.com/allergies/sinus-pain-pressure-9/neti-pots (Web MD discussion of neti)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasal_irrigation (nasal irrigation defined)
http://www.jfponline.com/Pages.asp?AID=1355 (study of efficacy of saline nasal irrigation on sinusitis
youtube video of how to use a neti pot
http://www.oprah.com/health/Dr-Oz-Natural-Ways-to-Ease-Allergies (Dr. Oz on neti)