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Sure it’s a little weird, but those with seasonal allergies swear by it.  My experience is that weird can sometimes be worth it!

Jala Neti or “Neti” is a yogi cleansing practice that cleans the air passageways in the head relieving blocked sinuses, stuffy noses, etc. due to allergy and colds by removing dirt, mucus, and other irritants.  Neti can even relieve muscular tension in the face leading to younger looking skin.  Through its calming effect on the brain it can even help to reduce anxiety, anger, and depression.

With all those benefits why not give it a try?

 To Start

A neti pot made of plastic, pottery or brass should be used.  In the past I’ve used a ceramic one but I am currently using is a plastic one that I picked up at Walgreens or CVS.  Fill pot with about 16 oz of luke warm water and 1/2 teaspoon finely ground salt.  If the pot is smaller, the ratio is about 8 oz of water to ¼ teaspoon of salt.

1.         Begin over a sink.

2.         With the legs comfortable apart, lean forward and tilt the head to one side.

3.         Breathe through the mouth.

4.         Gently insert the nozzle into the upper most nostril.

5.         Tilt the neti pot so that the water doesn’t run down your face.

6.         Lift the elbow holding the pot so that the water flows through the lower nostril.

7.         After half of the pot has emptied (8 oz) remove the nozzle.

8.         Gently blow the nose removing excess water and mucus.

9.         Repeat the process on the other side.

10.       After completing on both sides continue to gently blow any excess water or mucus from the both nostrils ensuring the nostrils are completely dry.

The above does take practice. Depending on how you tip your head, water may go everywhere but your nose and even into the ears at first!  The good thing is that since the benefits of neti have gotten a lot of attention the past few years there are a slew of “how to’s” on the internet  if the above doesn’t work for you.

Avoid neti if you suffer from chronic bleeding or ear infections and when both nostrils are totally blocked due to colds and sinus infections.

Reference: Asana, Pranayama, Mudra Bandha  by Swami Satyananda Saraswati