I am in love with my neti pot. There, I’ve said it. It’s only one of the best things on earth. Certainly the best thing since sliced bread. I’m not so sure I could live without it. Not happily, anyway.
If you aren’t familiar with the neti pot, let me fill you in on the details. It’s a small pot that can either be made of porcelain or plastic, and is filled with warm salt water and used to clean the sinuses. The pot is inserted into one nostril and runs the water through the sinuses and out the other nostril. It’s quick, painless, and easy. There is no reason not to do it.
Neti is one of the shatkarma, or ancient Ayurvedic and Yogic cleansing techniques. It is an excellent way to keep the nostrils and sinuses cleared of any excess mucus, dust and germs. We wash our hands everyday, right? Why not wash our sinuses too? In fact, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika states that “Neti cleanses the cranium and bestows clairvoyance. It also destroys all diseases which manifest above the throat.”
Ayurvedically speaking, the role of the nostrils is incredibly important in the absorption of prana, or life energy. Our nose is meant to be the apparatus through which we breathe. The nose is to breathe with; the mouth is to eat with. The nostrils naturally filter and warm the air that we breathe in, while the mouth does not. The nose sits right below the brain, and the breath we take in through our nose serves to energize our brain – but only if it is properly absorbed. When we are congested or otherwise unable to breathe well, we end up with a mind that is dull and foggy, and our thinking becomes stagnant. The key to the health and energy of the body begins in the nostrils. Keeping them clean is imperative.
One can neti every single day without adverse effects. If it seems to dry out the sinuses, then nasya oil can be applied to maintain moisture. If neti-ing everyday isn’t appealing, then at the very least neti as soon as you feel a cold coming on. It will sometimes flush the germs right out of you so that you don’t even get sick at all, or at least prevent it from coming on too hard. If sick and congested, it’s okay to neti twice a day (once in the morning and once in the evening).
Personally, I don’t tend to have sinus issues or allergies, but I neti anyway. However, for those who do suffer with sinus problems, neti-ing can be the solution. My son has horrible seasonal allergies. I refuse to pump him full of over-the-counter allergy medicine, and for years I sought out every natural solution I could find. I tried herbal remedies, homeopathy, diet changes, local honey…you name it. Several things helped, but not well enough. Finally, around the age or 4 or 5 I began to bribe him to neti, and the results were impressive. If he netis every single day during allergy season (and sometimes twice a day), he is virtually symptom free. Sometimes I will add a custom-made Ayurvedic medicated honey that I make for him, but the key is the in neti. It truly is life changing.
If you have never neti-ed before, I encourage you to try it. If you have seasonal allergies, starting neti-ing before allergy season begins, and don’t miss a single day. Just be careful; you might find yourself in the midst of a love affair too.