Jala Neti – The Practice of Sinus Irrigation
One of the most beautiful experiences in life is to breathe fully and wholly with vitality, to feel the body invigorated with every breath. The yoga cleansing technique of Jala Neti (also called neti or Jalaneti) is one of the oldest and most researched aspects of sinus irrigation and nasal clearing which helps prepare your body for full body breathing.
Today, millions of people suffer from sinus infections of some sort. While many of them are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, there is help available through this unique method of sinus irrigation.
Jala Neti has remarkable effects on treating sinus infections helping to drain the sinus cavities which in turn will help reprogram the body’s natural mechanisms against nasal infections such as hayfever, allergies, sinusitis and other respiratory complaints like sore throats and coughs. It is also helpful in addressing allergies, headaches and stress and most importantly it clears the nasal passages allowing you to breathe fully.
In its simplest form, Jala Neti is a way of nasal irrigation or washing of the sinuses in a unique manner through a special pot called the neti pot or the jalaneti pot.
As always technique is very important.
Nasal clearing can be performed over a sink or bowl in the shower or outside.
Fill the Neti pot with tepid water and add salt (approx 1/3 tsp to neti pot equating to 0.9% isotonic solution, the same as human blood)
Place the nose cone of the neti pot into the right nostril gently sealing it. Slowly bend forward from the waist so the tip of the nose is the lowest point of the head and then tilt the head to the left, so that the left nostril is now the lowest point of the nose. Close your mouth. Tilt the pot slowly as the saline solution begins to work its magic. After a few seconds the water should begin to run out of the left nostril. Be patient, initially there may be no or very little flow. Breathe through the mouth whenever you need to. Allow the water to flow for about half of the pot, water flowing right to left. Remove the pot, close off the right nostril with your index finger and gently blow to expel through the left nostril. Close off the left nostril with index finger and expel gently.
Repeat the same procedure on the right side. Always do half a pot right to left, then half a pot left to right. It is important to not blow hard or pinch the nostrils to create extra force; all that is needed is several soft blows into the sink to help remove the water from the nose. You may like to have a box of tissues handy to gently blow your nose as well during the initial stages.
Drying the Nose
Drying the nose is a very important part of the practice.
Part A is for those who do not suffer high blood pressure or dizziness. First bend forwards gently from the waist ensuring you soften/bend your knees as you hang your head upside down. Let any residual water drain out from the nose. Then point the nose towards the knees. A few droplets of water may run out.
Keeping your knees soft (off lock) rise to a standing position. Gently do some rapid breathing through both nostrils with a little more emphasis on the exhalation. Then seal off right nostril with index finger and repeat rapid breathing, release repeat with sealing off left nostril. Finally breathe consciously through both nostrils.
Part B. If you suffer with high blood pressure you can simply bend slightly over the sink keeping your head above the heart and follow the above procedure.
If after doing the above steps the nostrils are still blocked, the whole process may be repeated several times a day until there is a free flow. Jala neti should preferably be practiced daily each morning just as you would wash your face and brush your teeth. As a daily practice it will continue to build up the strength and resilience of the respiratory passages leading to improved health and vitality.
Salt to Use
Pure sea salt is the best; the finer it is the easier it is to dissolve. Avoid table salt, vegetable salt and rock salt which often have minerals or compounds added to them.
Summary of Benefits
- Neti removes all the dirt and bacteria filled mucus from within the nose.
- It is beneficial for illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis as it reduces the tendency for mouth breathing by freeing the nostrils of mucus.
- It has a cooling and soothing effect on the brain by drawing out excessive heat, and is therefore beneficial for headaches, migraine, epilepsy, temper tantrums, hysteria, depression and general mental tension.
- Neti is of great benefit for problems associated with the eyes. It helps flush the tear ducts, encouraging clearer vision and gives a sparkle to the eyes.
- It can be beneficial for certain types of ear disorders such as middle ear infections, glue ear, tinnitus.
- Neti improves sensitivity of the olfactory nerves, helping to restore lost sense of smell, and thereby benefits the relationship with taste and the digestive processes.
- It has subtle effects on the pineal and pituitary glands which control the hormonal system. This has a harmonising effect on emotional behaviour.
- Neti affects the psychic centre known as Ajna Chakra which helps in awakening higher states of meditation.
- It helps to stimulate better powers of visualisation and concentration and gives a feeling of lightness and clarity to the mind.
- Neti is excellent for those trying to give up smoking. Since it reduces the tendency for mouth breathing, Neti re-sensitises the nose to the actual pollution of ingesting smoke, thereby de-programming the brain of the physical and psychological addiction.
Jala Neti pots are available for purchase through most health shops, Indian Stores and from the Manasa Yoga studio.
© Copyright 2010 Megan Ward