Clean those nasal passages people!
Lets face it, winter is here and these wacky temperature changes leave us feeling stuffy, runny, achey… the whole shabang. That being said, let me introduce or reintroduce you to a great winter friend… Neti Kriya. Kriyas are cleansing excercises that assist our body’s efforts to remove waste. Neti means nasal and neti kriya aims to cleanse the area above the chest. Now, I know that neti kriyas can appear to look a bit wierd or scary.. why is someone sticking a teapot spout in their nose… why are the sticking that long piece of spaghetti in their nose and pulling it out of their mouth.. not exactly how you want to start your day and not the most flattering look … but I’ll tell you… it’s worth it! And with time it becomes less uncomfortable and you may even get into the habit of using these neti kriyas even when you are not desparate with a cold or flu.
There are classically 2 types, jal (water) neti and vastra or stura (string) neti. Jal neti is designed to clean out the nasal passageway and upper pharynx. This is where our good friend the neti pot comes into play. Neti Pots can be purchased at almost all pharmacys and health food stores and once you go neti, you won’t go back! You add about a teaspoon of salt (non-iodized) to warm water in your neti pot , tilt your head over a sink sticking the spout into one nostril and tilt your head to the opposite side and let the salted water travel through your nasal passages and pour out of the opposite nostril – then switch sides using one full neti pot per side. Most importanty, don’t forget to breathe out of your mouth!
If you are not familiar with how to use your neti pot, check out this demo video courtesy of the Himilayan Institute.
Now lets talk about sutra neti or thread cleansing. This cleansing excercise is a bit more intimidating and takes some getting used to, but when you’re sick and feel like there is nothing else you can do.. you will start to love sutra neti. The sutra neti is a great stimulant for the nerves in the sinus, nose, ears, eyes and throat and works to relieve congestion and mucous conditions. Now, if it is your first time you will find yourself saying “this string is going where and coming out where??” There actually is a passageway through your nasal passage down to your throat, so if you find that your thread simply won’t budge past your nasal cavity, this just means you’ve got years of blockage (gross, but I’d say this means you are due for a clean!). Just breathe and insert the string slowly.Basically, sutra neti is performed by passing a cord made of cotton threads or a rubber catheter into the nose through one nostril and then out via the mouth. You will want to dip the string or catheter into lukewarm water, insert the catheter into one nostril, then when you feel it on the back of the tongue slowely draw the catheter out through the mouth using your index finger and thumb. Yes, your eyes will water and slimy mucus will be flowing: this is completely normal. Just remember to go slow, breathe deeply and have plenty of tissues on hand.
Click here for a Sutra Neti demo video
You can purchase catheters and neti pots at pharmacys, health food stores and all over the internet.
You’ll be smelling the roses in no time!