The practice of Jala Neti is cleansing the nasal passages and sinuses with salted water using a Neti pot with a spout. It is an ancient method of purification and health maintenance used by yogis going back into antiquity. Yogis throughout history have used many hygiene methods to keep their bodies and minds healthy and fit for Yoga practice and meditation. Some of these methods are easily adapted by anyone, who wants better health.
1. Define Jala Neti
“Jala” means “water”, and “Neti” is derived from the Sanskrit word “to guide”. This indicates the use of the water pot. It guides the water through the nasal passages to facilitate opening them for deep breathing. Using water, salt and a small pot, yogis would daily cleanse the nostrils. This facilitates the practice of Pranayama – yogic breathing exercises – and hatha Yoga exercises. It also promotes general health and well being. This is simple, quick and comfortable to practice. The results are quickly felt. Traditionally, Neti pots were often made from pure copper. It has natural anti-microbial properties (now being used in hospitals for that reason). Stainless steel is a good alternative as it is non-breakable. Ceramic pots are easy to find as are plastic ones. Adding this to one’s daily routine is simple and highly rewarding. This has been found by the countless yogis throughout the ages.
2. Benefits of Neti
Daily practice of Jala Neti has so many health benefits that it almost sounds “too good to be true”. The first benefit is the immediate effect on freer breathing through nose. This is necessary for Yoga Asanas and Pranayama. Throughout the day, the breath dominates one nostril or the other in a regular cycle with a short period, where both nostrils breathe equally. This cyclical nostril dominance regulates all the functions of the body and mind. The regular practice opens the blocked nostrils for proper breathing. It clears the nostrils of debris and mucus. It offers refreshing better health. It helps in the reduction in sinus infections, infectious illness, mental dullness, headaches and sore throats. Regular nasal irrigation using a Neti pot balances Prana in the body. It promotes the immune system of the individuals.
3. Who are Benefited?
Everyone can be benefited from Neti practice. There may be a few contra-indications due to certain conditions such as nasal cancer or other serious illness, when one’s medical professional should be consulted. If a person has bleeding nose, Neti should be avoided till the cause is healed. Else, Jala Neti can be performed daily or even twice or thrice daily. Those prone to sinus infections, ear infections, or sore throats, headaches, dizziness, or mental fog, often find great relief with this. Allergy sufferers usually get relief from Neti. Additionally, those suffering from chronic illness can greatly be benefited.
4. Jala Neti: Integral Part of Healthy Yoga Lifestyle
Jala Neti is the yoga hygiene method that is easy to do. It only takes a few minutes a day. And you don’t have to be a yogi to practice Neti daily. By making this an integral part of yoga lifestyle, post nasal drip is reduced or eliminated. Intake of air is greatly enhanced, thus facilitating every cell in the body. Mental alertness and clarity is enhanced, making it easier to concentrate for meditation and hatha yoga practice in particular.
5. Poor Air Quality – Neti Helps
Most urban and suburban areas have high levels of pollution. Even rural countryside also has problems. Also, places with high moisture have molds and fungus. Every place has pollen at various times of the year. Smoke from wood stoves or fireplaces are also common or outdoor burning. All these gasses and particulates get inhaled through our nostrils. Many adhere to the tiny hairs inside the nasal passages. If we don’t wash them out via Neti practice, they add to the toxic load in our bodies, which leads to poor immune function.
Daily practising the Jala Neti is recommended, even if we stay home.