What is it? 

Jala Neti is a nasal cleansing practice used in Hatha Yoga.   A salt water solution is used in a specially designed ‘Neti’ pot to irrigate the nasal passages and sinuses, allowing air to flow without obstruction.  The salinity of the water is the same as in the body and therefore the solution is neither rejected nor absorbed.

What are the benefits?

The practice of Jala Neti rids the nostrils and the frontal and mid-nasal sinuses of debris, pollution and excess bacteria-filled mucous.  It is excellent in managing sinusitis.  It relieves the symptoms of hay fever, allergic rhinitis, colds and reduces inflammation of the mucous membranes.  Research also suggests that as dirt and pollution are prevented from travelling further into the respiratory system, it is also helpful in managing respiratory tract diseases such as asthma, bronchitis and even disorders of the ears, eyes and throat.   It also removes feelings of grogginess in the head, leaving you feeling refreshed and clear-headed. 

Who should I do it?

 If you suffer from any of the conditions previously mentioned or if you are a mouth breather, live in a city or come into contact with pollutants regularly, then Jala Neti will help to maintain good health of your nasal passages and sinuses.  Yoga practitioners may choose to practice Jala Neti  to ensure the nostrils are clear for pranayama (breathing exercises) and to achieve a state of balance between left and right nostrils.

When and how often should I do it? 

Once daily, either morning or evening for maintenance.  Up to three times daily to relieve colds, catarrh or allergies.

Where can I buy a Neti pot? 

Pots come in various sizes.  The best ones are lightweight plastic and inexpensive.  Online yoga shops such as Yogamatters sell them, as do Yogatrading on Edward Street in Brighton.  Prices range from about £3 for a simple small pot, to £15 for a branded version including some salt.

Contraindications:

 If you suffer from persistent nose bleeding you should not do Jala Neti.  Constantly experiencing difficulty passing water through the nose may indicate a structural blockage so you should seek medical advice.

Instructions:

You will need a Neti pot, clean warm water, natural sea salt, a measuring jug and spoon.  Measurements should be precise.

Dissolve 1 tsp salt (natural sea salt, not table salt) per 500ml of body-temperature water.

Fill your Neti pot with the solution.

Stand squarely and lean forward over a sink or bowl.

Tilt your head to one side and breathe through your mouth.

Insert the nozzle into the upper nostril, gently but firmly pressing against the nostril to avoid water leakage.  Tilt the Neti pot so the water runs into your nostril and out of the lower nostril.  If water passes down the back of the throat or into the mouth, adjust the position of your head slightly forwards.  Use half your solution for one nostril, then gently blow to remove any mucous before repeating with the second nostril.

Here is a video on how to do it!

 

Drying the nostrils:

It is important to follow this procedure for drying the nostrils.  Forceful blowing of the nose with a tissue may push water into the ears and will not sufficiently dry the sinus cavities.

Stand erect with the feet apart.  Close right nostril with your thumb and breathe in and out through the left nostril.  The exhalation is as if you were gently blowing your nose, the inhalation should be passive.  Repeat 10 times each nostril.

Then bend forward from the waist so your torso is parallel to the floor.  Tilt your head to the right, close your right nostril and repeat the same process as above through the left nostril; then tilt your head to the left, closing the left nostril.  Then centre the head and repeat another 10 times through both nostrils.  This will clear any trapped water from the sinuses.

Finally stand upright.  Close your right nostril and exhale forcefully through the left nostril while bending forward from the waist, keeping your back straight (bend your knees to avoid straining your back).  Repeat 10 times.  Repeat this again closing left nostril and exhaling through the right.

And here is a video on how to dry your nostrils correctly.

Written by Ginny Haswell 

Further reading on Jala Neti: 

www.jalanetipot.com

www.healthandyoga.com

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