Do you suffer with sinusitis? Chronically stuffy nose? Allergies which inflame your nasal passages and sinuses? Do you get frequent head-colds? Well you may find the ancient yogic practice of nasal washing (Jala Neti) could relieve the symptoms.
According to Swami Muktibodhananda in his translation of the Hatha Yoga Pradipkia verse 30:
“Neti cleanses the cranium and bestows clairvoyance. It also destroys all diseases which manifest above the throat.”
Bold claims, yet many people, yogis and non-yogis, have turned to nasal washing (Jala Neti) to reduce the discomfort or pain these kinds of conditions cause, or as part of their hatha yoga practice.
So what is this nasal washing malarkey?
Nasal washing is pouring purified, salinated water using a neti pot (see photo) into one nostril and allowing it to naturally drain out through the other nostril. Then doing it on the other side. Yes, pouring water into your nose: I know it sounds weird and counter-intuitive but honestly, there’s a subtle purifying, cleansing effect on the system. And no need for nasty chemical decongestants.
I was diagnosed many years ago with a deviated septum (crooked cartilage in my nose) which prevents me from breathing easily through my nose during sleep. I suspect its also the cause of sinus headaches I sometimes get upon waking in the night or early morning, especially in my current living situation in an overheated, extremely dry house.
My Jala Neti practice has been sporadic in the past but now I’ve set myself the challenge to practice this nasal washing technique every day for the next 30 days. I want to find out whether this ancient yogic practice can reduce the pain and help me breathe more clearly. And as a yogi, to see how it enhances my pranayama and meditation practice. I will report back.
If you’re curious to know more, Yoga International have a super-helpful article, including a how-to guide if you want to try it.
Do you practice Jala Neti? Want to try? Comment below to let me know your thoughts or experience of nasal washing.
UPDATE ON POST: I didn’t get on with nasal washing. I used both a ceramic neti pot, and NetiMed sinus rinse kit. I’ve included Amazon links to both these items anyway because I know other people who love nasal washing and it really helps them. We each have different nasal structures – mine is very narrow and I have a double deviated septum (too much information?), making nasal washing uncomfortable. Give it go though if you want to find a natural way to breathe more easily. You may love it like my yoga friends do.