Updated: May 3, 2022
Yoga and Ayurveda practitioners are no strangers to the practices and rituals that support us in staying healthy in mind, body, and spirit. We are very familiar with using breathing exercises, yoga poses, and meditation as tools that help keep ourselves in balance so we can feel our best.
So what about the Neti Pot?
You've probably heard of it, but have you ever successfully (without feeling like you were drowning) used a Neti Pot to help reduce the effects of seasonal allergies on your aching head, stuffy nose, scratchy throat, or itchy eyes?
If not, read on for my tips on how to successfully incorporate the neti-pot into your morning self-care routine, especially during the current allergy season, or if you live in a city with everyday air pollution.
What is a neti pot? The neti pot is a vessel that looks like a small teapot with a long spout and is specifically designed to deliver a stream of saltwater into your nasal cavities through one nostril and out the other. Nasal irrigation has been a part of Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years and is an effective, natural way to relieve nasal congestion. It improves your ability to breathe by clearing your nasal passageways of dust, pollen, and other environmental irritants like pollution, city smog, and other debris.
Here's how you "Neti"
Mix warm, sterile water with pure salt in the neti pot before you start. I use 1 cup of water (that's been boiled and cooled) and 1 scoop of the Neti Salt sold by Himalayan Chandra. This is enough for me to do both nostrils.
Tilt one ear to the side and place the spout in one nostril. Turn your face up slightly and lift your elbow up high for the most success.
Breathe through your mouth while saying the alphabet out loud. Saying the alphabet out loud will help you breathe out, not in. Let the saline solution drain through your sinuses and out your bottom nostril.
After you've said the alphabet on one side, clear your nose (there will be a lot going on in your nose area) and continue with the other side.
A final, nourishing step: The salt rinse with the neti pot is cleansing. If the nasal passages are only cleansed but not lubricated afterward, your body will produce more mucous to re-hydrate your inner nose. This will have you blowing your nose all morning, and we don't want that! A simple Ayurvedic solution is to add nourishing Naysa Oil to your inner nostrils to relubricate your cleansed nasal passages. Here's how you "Naysa":
Put 1 drop of Naysa Oil in your palm. The bottle says 3-5 drops, but 1 drop is good for what you are doing here.
Rub a pinkie finger in the oil and circle your finger inside your nostril a few times. Inhale to pull the oil in. The oil will help release tension from your head and promote mental clarity.
Use your ring finger and do the same on the other nostril.
Remember, it’s crucial to use sterile water for your neti pot rinse. Do not use water from a river if you happen to be camping somewhere! Since I do my neti pot rinse in the morning, I boil enough water for both my tea and my neti pot. After I drink my tea and do my morning meditation, the neti pot water is usually cool enough to use.
The Himalayan Chandra website has a helpful "How To" video if you want to see it done. Fun fact- my Ayurveda teacher is narrating this video! Be sure to ask your doctor if you have any concerns about nasal irrigation.
My son and I do the neti pot daily during the allergy season, sometimes twice a day if the allergies are really bad. If you are doing it twice a day, don't do it too close to bedtime as it can be stimulating. And Do Not use the neti pot or nasal irrigation on an infant.
Let me know how this goes for you in the comments below.