"What is a neti pot and what can it do for you?" I asked my yoga teacher in India. She explained it to me but I was skeptical. I tried a neti pot for the first time under her supervision while in India. Though I did not love it at first, the benefits are clear. I could breathe more easily that day during pranayama practice (breathing techniques) than I ever had before. I did not have to stop and blow my nose, or skip certain techniques because one nostril was blocked.
Jala Neti means "water cleansing" and is one of the shat kriyas or "6 purification techniques" common to yoga. Warm water and a little bit of non-iodized salt is used, along with the assistance of gravity to make the water flow through one nostril and out the other nostril. It was astonishingly easier to do that I thought at first.
Here is a list of the benefits according to Ray, owner of YogaLifeStyle.com:
* Reduction of allergy problems
* Easier breathing (helps with pranayama)
* Reduction of or elimination of post-nasal drip
* Reduction of or elimination of chronic sinus infections
* Common colds are either avoided or shortened
* Improved sense of smell and taste
Ray explains, "The practice is easy and millions of people in East Asia do it every morning much like we brush our teeth. For people suffering from a sinus condition, repeated daily practice as needed up to four times is recommended."
Using a Neti Pot:
Mix 12 oz. of warm water with a bit more than 1/4 teaspoon
of salt. (Personal experimentation will reveal the right temperature
and salinity for you.) Non-iodized salt is recommended. Pour half of the
water in the neti pot. Tilt your head sideways above a sink and place
the tapered spout in your upper nostril. Tilt the pot so water runs into
upper nostril and out the lower. Sometimes when one side is very
congested the flow will be blocked in one or the other direction.
Repeated practice on the "good" side will often remove the blockage.
Breathing quietly, through the mouth is generally recommended
while practicing jala neti. Some practitioners also sniff a bit of water
into their sinuses and let it pass out the mouth while practicing.
Keep a tissue or handkerchief handy for blowing your nose after practice. Blow very very gently. Netti pots are easy to find at stores like Whole Foods, yoga gear and apparel stores, and Eastern stores, usually for about $5, though you can get a fancy porcelain one if you prefer for up to $50. Check JalaNetiPot.com for more information. They have a fairly extensive list of FAQs that may answer some of your questions.
Enjoy your clear nostrils!