Neti Practice for Sinus Relief and More
Neti, is becoming a popular practice for people susceptible to sinus ailments like hayfever, blocked noses and excess mucus in and around the nasal passages. Not only for the hard nosed sufferer (excuse the pun), neti, or nasal irrigation, is great as a general maintenance technique for anyone wanting good general health.
Have you had the experience of gunked up nasal passages after mowing the lawn or doing heavy duty cleaning in a dusty environment? Do you have trouble getting the smell of second hand cigarette smoke or strong perfumes out of your nose? You’ll probably have experienced that it’s sometimes not enough to just blow the nose to clear it out. Neti may be what you need.
Neti is an ancient practice and the topic can be found in Sanskrit treatises of Hatha-yoga. It’s one of many inner purification techniques undertaken by meditators/spiritual seekers to maximize their inner experiences. In addition to unblocking and clearing on the physical, this technique works on subtle levels as it purifies all the channels of energy in the neck and the head. The practice also has a direct and remarkable action on the awakening of the third eye.
Traditionally neti is performed with a long-beaked pot called a lota. You fill it with salt water, bend your head to one side, place the beak to the nostril on the other side and allow the water to flow through one nostril and the water falls out through the other. It’s then repeated with your head bent the other side.
Personally I like to use a quicker method. All you need is an ordinary bowl without a lip, or a mug. Fill it with lukewarm water which is about the same temperature as the inside of your mouth. Use clean purified water (boiled). Add quarter to half a teaspoon of rock salt or sea salt. Do not use fine grained table salt which will irritate the nose. What you’re after with the salt is the osmosis effect. You’re not after salty water as a cleanser. You want to neutralize the water. You may take a few goes to get your salt to water ratio right for you.
Now with your bowl of water, put your nose in the water. Start ‘drinking’ the salt water through your nostrils: draw the water through the nose and let it spill out through the mouth. The water goes straight from the nasal cavity into the mouth and gets expelled from there. Make sure you are not drinking up air with the water as this is uncomfortable. I promise you won’t drown. You don’t swallow the water and you’ll find that it is a natural action to drink it through the nostrils and expel through the mouth. Doing both nostrils at once for me is a more balanced approach to neti. The flow of water is much more efficient and the unblocking was much quicker than with the lota.
This whole neti process is quick. You could make it part of your morning rituals
– get out of bed, make the coffee, make your mixture, go to the shower and as
part of your cleaning process, do neti.
It works well as part of the shower regime. Alternatively use the laundry basin, or the backyard works. Wherever you feel comfortable.
A marked effect of neti is the awakening and refreshing feeling it gives. The best way of getting maximum effects of neti is to go through a long phase of doing it – say daily for 6 to 9 months. Afterwards do it as a maintenance tool, whenever you feel the need. Interesting how you can tell the difference and know when you need or want to resume the practice.
The first time you use neti you may find it a little painful. It could be that your passages are quite blocked or the mixture is too salty. It’s not uncommon to expel a bit of blood the first few times either so don’t be too alarmed. If this bleeding persists, cease the practice and consult a practitioner in case there is an underlying condition causing the bleeding.
And there are two ways of drying the nose. You can take the conventional method of a tissue or handkerchief.
The following method gives a much more awakening effect:
Stand with your legs apart and half-bent. Rest your arms on your knees.
Without moving your trunk, throw the head upwards and backwards, exhaling violently through the nose at the same time, like you are snorting (yes, it’s a personal experience!) This is done in about half a second, after which a normal inhalation follows.
Then after half a second of motionlessness, quickly project the head downwards, while strongly blowing the air out of your nose. Inhale normally.
Then project the head upwards again, while vigorously blowing the air out. Inhale normally.
Continue this for half a minute or so, blowing the air out and throwing your head up and down alternately.
Then repeat the process, but this time turn the head once to the right and once to the left.
Blow the air out of your nostrils vigorously each time you throw the head to the side.
So there you have it. A new skill to be mastered and many benefits to be had.
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