Neti pot time….Ayurveda tune-up for seasonal changes….


This is my Neti pot from Kaivalyadham Ashram, India, its ceramic, small, the right aperture for my nostrils and adorable. (Note: there are some plastic pots which are good for traveling too.)

Ayurveda is the sister scientific practice to hatha yoga.  The science of keeping the life force at its optimal levels with natural tune-ups.  Ayurveda is an intricate mandala (complete circle) of healing practices that braid together and form a potent synergy of rejuvenation and rebirth.  Existing in our body, as well as, in all living organisms are the five elements organized in a particular pattern known as the doshas.  (See the earlier post about how to learn about your Dosha- August 5th.)  There are three main doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha and they relate to: air, fire and water principles.  Ayurveda is a natural science that causes no harm and is used to uplift our own healing powers.  The human body like all living organisms maintains a delicate homeostasis.  This science of ayurveda is a process of balancing the doshas from effects of disease in a systematic act of cajoling, tempering, shocking and nurturing the body.  In ayurveda  excesses are  never forcibly removed.  An intricate weave of knowledge about the seasonal effects on the tissues, the precise time the dosha changes, the overall condition of the person, which phase of the moon is present, as well as the signals from nature all contribute to the findings of one’s constitution: well-being or lack of well-being.  The mandala or full spectrum of practices may include: yoga postures, pranayama, Kriya/meditation, cleansing kriyas and healing treatments,  and diet.  This mandala (all-inclusive circle) of regimen followed with regularity and in conformance with nature (seasons, etc.) will not only restore health but allow us to live life at optimal levels.  When practicing yoga on a regular basis, meaning that some continuity of the sadhana is maintained daily (pranayama, Kriya and/or asana) we then are able to claim our inherent birthright.  Hence: Neti!!!

Jala Neti is the classical term for what is  now called  Neti pot use (as Oprah made so many aware and willing to try this safe nasal irrigation practice.  For years I tried to get students to use the neti practice and was looked at like a Martian – I am grateful for Oprah using her celebrity for health benefits.)  It is a vessel that is filled with warm water used to wash/irrigate the nasal passages.  There are plastic, ceramic and metal products on the market.  One can even use a plastic water bottle.  I prefer the ceramic as it can be boiled on the stove easily without any harmful particles breaking down like with plastic.  On YouTube there are hundreds of how-to videos to see how to use the neti pot.  I recommend starting with barely warm water only.  Standing over the bathroom sink hold your head on an angle so that as you pass the water into one nostril a stream will flow out of the opposite nostril.   And reverse for the other side.  Sometimes it may feel like a big relief if a blockage is cleared, sometimes it may be shocking and tears may flow.  The benefits are too many and I will list a few here but no matter what your first experience do try to stick with it as it gets better every time.  Those with structural blockage and regular nose bleeds should not attempt this practice.

Benefits of Neti cleansing are many and include the following.  Removal of mucus and pollution from nasal passages and sinuses which allows air to flow without obstructions.  It helps prevent and manage respiratory tract diseases such as: asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis, and pulmonary tuberculosis.  It helps to relieve allergies, colds and sinusitis.  Various disorders of the eyes, ears, throat, hay fever, tonsillitis and inflammation of the adenoids and mucus membranes.  Neti cleansing relieves muscular tension of the face, nervous ticks, and Bell’s palsy and helps the user to maintain a youthful facial appearance.  It has a cooling and soothing effect on the brain and useful for those who suffer from epilepsy and migraines.   It alleviates anxiety, anger and depression, removes drowsiness and makes the head feel fresh.  Neti stimulates the various nerve endings in the nose, improving the activities of the brain.  A balance is achieved between the right and left nostrils as well as the right and left brain hemispheres.  This brings a state of harmony and balance throughout the entire body including circulation and digestion systems especially.  It helps to awaken the third eye area for higher powers of intuition.  Note that with regular daily use will bring about the effects stated above, do know that a one time process cannot affect changes so easily.

Now for some specifics on the neti practice.  Remember to pick a pot that will not contaminate the water which is used for nasal irrigation.  But I do recommend that one try with a plastic water bottle or small tea-pot before making any purchases. The Himalayan  Institute has a kit that can be purchased online.  I like the ceramic pots sold by Sinus (Baraka), as these are like art work – pottery with beautiful colors and the aperture is correct for the nose opening (I have purchased these for family and friends.)  Some health food stores sell products made in China that don’t fit at all….they should have gone to the source India!!! (Once I was visiting a friend in Paris and they took me over to an artist’s home, while there I used their bathroom and was so impressed to see a pure silver neti pot above the sink!!! Of course I asked about it and they said when they were having some custom jewelry crafted in India they had this pot custom-made.)

Next thing is to place in your vessel warm water that is comfortable for your body temperature.   After some time of regular use with only warm water then salt may be introduced.  A special salt, not table salt, as it has to be fine enough to be absorbed  into the fluid.  For this one must purchase online or in a health store.  The amount must be found that will ensure the proper osmotic balance to the body’s fluids so to minimize any irritation to the membranes.  If any painful or burning sensation is felt the amount needs adjusting.  Keep the mouth open while doing the cleansing and hold the head to one side as mentioned above.  No force should be used.  Just try to do a little for one side and reverse and take breaks in between, sit down, rest, blow your nose and continue again.  It’s best to do this first thing after rising in the morning.  It may be practiced twice or three times daily.  Try not to practice directly after meals.  If I notice any congestion beginning or I have been around any germs I want to stay clear of I may  do three sets: water only, then salt and thirdly with a product called Vacho Veda (a Himalayan Institute product available online and in stores).  For those who are yoga teachers, healers, healing therapists who have contact with others energies this is a good clearing tool so that you may stay free and clear, keeping your healing powers untainted and at a high level.  I started my Autumn seasonal regimen today with Jala Neti and will add a few other components in the next few days.  There are many other things that could be written and shared here about the Neti practice but I thought I would start with this, please do share your experiences and comments here.  Do feel free to share this with family and friends so we may keep more folks free of unnecessary illness and discomfort.  Namaskaram

56 responses »

  1. As a consistent user of a Neti pot I was already aware of many of the great things it does for you. When I first began to use my plastic neti pot, in which I purchased at CVS, I was not fully using it correctly. However, after looking up tutorials, I learned how to use it correctly and since then it has done great wonders for my nasal passages as well as my other senses. I feel very relieved and cleared up in my nostrils when using it. It also helps clear my head a lot, as someone who is suffers from constant migraines. One thing that was mentioned in this blog that I was not aware the neti pot could do for you was relieve your anxiety, anger, and depression. I think these are all great things to relieve in such a natural way. After reading this, I definitely would like to use my Neti pot more throughout the day. For now I use it once a day, but I think that doing it 2 or 3 times a day will have greater effects on the balance in my body. I encourage many people to use the Neti pot,especially when sick because of the great relief of congestion it gives you. I feel as if I am able to breathe much better after using the Neti pot and I think it is very smart to use it before going to bed so that you are not sleeping with the congestion and mucus that builds up in both your nasal passages and your throat. You will feel clear and healthier if used repeatedly. Eventually I would like to look into buying a ceramic Neti pot, because as you said, it can be boiled on the stove easily without any harmful particles breaking down like with plastic.

    Caitlin McCarthy

  2. Ayurveda is the science of balancing the doshas in an intricate web of the mandala. The mandala includes but is not limited to pranayama, kriya, diet, and yoga. The scope of the mandala must be in unison with nature, and practiced perpetually to live life at a maximum level. The panorama of the Ayurveda is a vast and gradual process and I find myself becoming impatient and wanting all the parts of to be in unison now. However, I learning more all the time and continuing to progress forward. I could benefit by using the Neti Pot. Recently, I have become congressed and experiencing sinus blockage. Cleaning out the nasal passage would be a good idea, and I realize how much people would benefit by doing so more often. Something so simple and effective, yet it often gets overlooked.

  3. Ayurveda is the science of keeping the life force at optimal levels with natural remedies and practices. We use ayurveda to balance the doshas vata, pitta, and kapha. With a regimen in accordance to the seasons and nature the balancing can be achieved. One tool that I am excited to try and use myself is the jala neti or the neti pot. I know several people who have used it and extolled its virtues, but I wasn’t aware of all its effects and with the winter season and all the colds and congestion I go through, this seems like an awesome way to help my body.

  4. Ayurveda is an interesting practice that accompanies hatha yoga. Like a mandala, it is a circle of practices that promote healing and balance within the body. While it is a science, it does not directly heal a disease or illness. It is actually a process that works with the body to find balance allows the person to recognize the disease/effects that exist within their body. Through practices including yoga, meditation, and others, positive healing effects can be felt and if these practices are continued, overall wellness can be achieved. Ayurveda seems like it can be very beneficial to people with a variety of health problems, not to cure anything but to help individuals see the healing from a different perspective, to be in touch with themselves during the process of healing and/or finding balance or relief.
    The Neti pot is something I have seen many times in stores and online but I’ve never tried one. Before reading this blog post I thought it was just for people suffering from colds and allergies but I’ve always been curious. There are so many benefits from this very simple little tool and it’s really amazing. Looking at it, I never would have have thought it could help people with depression or anxiety, but after reading that it made sense because your nasal passages are actual passages to the brain and the mind. More people should really see this post because I think a lot of people either haven’t heard of the Neti pot and others have heard of it but know very little about how much it can do. I think I’m going to look into trying this myself in the future.
    -Emily Gregorek

  5. I’ve seen these pots used before in movies and TV but never knew what their purpose was, or even if I had to guess I would think it was simply used for clearing congestion. I didn’t know that it’s use expanded much farther than that and aided in balancing the body and helping other sense, and even migraines or anxiety. That’s very fun to learn and know about the pot, and make it less scary an idea to try.

  6. Make sure you boil the water (and ideally do not use tap water and instead buy distilled or sterile water) before using this. There have been instances of people dying from improper use of Neti Pots. Be careful out there…

  7. My aunt owned a Neti pot she recieved as a gift from when she visited India. Hers is decorated with crystals and fills it with scented oils, although I dont think she ever used it for the purpose of Jala Neti. I have a friend who uses a Neti pot and said her anxiety has decreased steadily since she began using it. I have seen them at a health store near my house and didn’t know what they were until I read this post.

  8. My mother has been using the neti pot for years. It’s the only thing that helps her sinuses. I’ve never tried it though, always a bit intimidated, but after reading this post I think I may! I love the idea of it being a full spectrum, as though the water becomes the breathe in a way. It’s movement would be similar to the breathing exercise we do so often in class (closing one nostril inhaling, closing both, then exhaling out the other nostril).

  9. This sounds like a hidden gem that once tried, I’m sure will benefit my health greatly. I would like to see what this process looks like so that I can maybe try it. I especially think the fact that it relives muscle tension in the face and maintains one’s youthful appearance is a great benefit and I can’t wait to try it

  10. Before reading this I had never heard of the Neti Pot but it sounds quite interesting. Everything in our bodies are so interconnected it makes sense that clearing the nasal passages of pollution will clear other areas of the body. Its fascinating that it can lead to relieving not only extreme physical ailments but mental ones as well. I know that when I get a congested nose pouring salt water can help cleanse the area and I have tried that but I have never tried the Neti Pot. Water (or kapha) has always been a healing element and this Neti pot seems like the perfect tool to utilize that element.

  11. After reading benefits of Neti Cleansing, i realized that I could help me clear up my respiratory tract. I have bronchial asthma and aside from my inhaler, when my asthma is bad, I use Vicks vapor rub because it’s something that helps loosen up my chest and my nasal passage. I never considered a neti pot but definitely see myself purchasing one when I am financially stable. It is a more natural remedy that I think will definitely help my breathing especially in a dorm where the air is dry.- Brittany Petronella

  12. As someone who constantly suffers from allergies causing my nose to become congested for long periods of time, I am definitely interested in the effects of this practice. It seems strange only because I have never heard of it or seen it done before, but I plan to research some instructional videos soon and see how the neti pot may help my breathing.

  13. I found this article to be mind opening, as I have always heard of people doing the Neti pot, but have been timid to try it myself. Every time I am sick I produce a lot of mucus for days, to which people say a Neti pot would help, but I am too fearful of the discomfort. Yet after reading about the reliefs it presents as well as the mental passageways opening I will reconsider my position on it. I find it interesting and great that everything is connected and that through the passage of water through your nasals your anger or depression can be subsided.

  14. I found this post to be especially interesting. I have bad nasal allergies and use to get a lot of sinus infections. I would use the netti pot and my nasal passages would be instantly clear. I would love to try this before doing a yoga practice. What I found interesting is that “Neti cleansing relieves muscular tension of the face, nervous ticks, and Bell’s palsy and helps the user to maintain a youthful facial appearance”. I had no idea that the netti pot could be used for other ailments as well.

  15. Growing up, there had always been a Neti Pot in my family’s house, for when colds were coming on or for when our allergies were at their worst. However, I had no idea the benefits could be so great, or that daily use was not only safe, but affective at preventing a multitude of ailments, including migraines. I am also interested to learn more about the three main doshas, Vata (air), Pitta (fire), and Kapha (water) and the ways in which they are balanced throughout the body and life itself.

  16. This has been very informative for me because I’ve heard of it done and some of its uses but never really looked into it. Having a better idea of its purposes and benefits makes me want to give it a try at least once for my own benefit. But, I have actually shared this reading with my father who suffers from a lot of allergies and I feel he would definitely benefit and this could serve as a simple way to help his body.

    -Lucia Meneses

  17. I like the approach of Ayurveda practices instead of taking medicine for healing. I’ve heard of Ayurveda techniques as being a good alternative to relieve symptoms of cold and allergies (my mom was on the Oprah neti pot craze). The neti pot works with the existing problems in the body and addresses them directly. It’s amazing to think that “modern” medicine’s approach to healing is actually just a process of elimination. Eliminating good and bad cells in order to remove the problem. But in doing so it weakens the body. As someone who suffers from allergies I can attest to the benefits of using a neti pot. It definitely feels better than a sinus spray and feels like it’s working with the way your body processes antibodies and cells that are protecting your immune system.

    – Geovanna Borden

  18. Since I am familiar with previous experiences with the nettipot, i can reflect on this article and relate with its positive side effects. During my stay on campus at SUNY Purchase, i have come down with several sinus issues. This is due to the cluttered roommate situations that allow for more dust and debris to accumulate. I am used to having a very orderly living space at home and the first few semesters away at school was very hard for me to adjust health-wise. Anytime i use the nettipot, I would feel a sense of relief in my nasal cavities. At first the nettipot was very difficult for me to get accustomed to because i am not used to the pressure it creates, as well as having liquid run through my sinuses. However, using the nettipot has made it easier to tolerate the poor environment that i’ve experienced while dorming.

  19. The Neti pot seems to be an excellent addition to one’s daily health regimen. I’ve heard about its use before but never got around to picking one up for personal use. I do plan on getting one soon and beginning the practice as I believe it will offer many benefits to me. These sorts of things should be more common in our culture as they are easy and highly effective, it’s unfortunate that they are not.

  20. I LOVE my Neti Pot…it’s pretty much changed my life. At first, I thought the idea of it was pretty strange, but my doubts were silenced after trying it for myself. Now, any time I have a stuffy nose, sinus or breathing problem, the Neti Pot is the first thing I go to, rather than trying to get relief from allergy or pain relief medications, and get much better results.

  21. My mom has been doing it right all these years! My family would always laugh at my mom because as a sufferer of terrible migrains, she is always fussing about where her neti pot is and how she need it right that instant! We saw it as this strange, overly simple thing that couldn’t possible work because how could anyone benefit from poring water up their nose? Well, I now what the first thing I will be doing when I get home. I have terrible anxiety issues and tend to get even more anxiety when thinking of ways to try and calm myself down. I would love to see how the neti pot would work being used consistently (will it lower my anxiety in the long run?), but also during an episode of me having anxiety. I am very curious and a bit scared to do it wrong but I will make sure I have the technique down packed first.

    • Do ask your Mom to guide you with your Neti use and do remember the Isha Kriya is the best practice to overcome anxiety and stress, practiced daily to gain mastery over your experience….OM

  22. The practice of using the Neti pot seems like a fantastic solution for better health. It appear to be the answer to many ailments that I suffer from such as asthma, migraines, and frequent colds, to name a few. I would love to put this to use but I unfortunately do suffer from nosebleeds and fear that it might be a little intense for me. However I would definitely pass this information along to others with similar ailments as I.

  23. I remember asking you more in depth about the neti pot in class I thought it was really cool. I still have yet to come across one but have spoke to a couple of people I know about it cause I was so intrigued. I would like to still practice this in the near future. it seems like a good way to clean your sinuses.

  24. Once I began getting into natural remedies, I was introduced to the Neti Pot. I have used it, but personally I don’t find it that helpful, but I would recommend it to people who want to find natural remedies to the common cold. I would hope it helps people who are sick!

    • Actually when used as a daily regimen it prevents colds, flu and virus….it makes the ocular muscles strong for better vision and sends waves to the brain tissue for benefits…OM

  25. I know a lot of people, especially singers who use this method not just for when they have a cold but also for their allergies. I just never realized it could be used just to maintain balance. I guess we are a more reactive than proactive species. Good information

  26. I could almost hear my grandmother reading this to me since she was the biggest neti pot user I knew. She used to tell me that every time she felt that she needed to use the pot, she believes that it’s not just a cleansing of her nose, but her entire body and especially mind. It helps to think clearer, releasing all bad things (bad energy/negativity) and starting with a new body. What a great way to cleanse yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally!

  27. I became very curious about Ayurvedic practices after my mother started to use the Neti pot. I didn’t know what it was or its purpose until reading this post. It’s quite interesting seeing the benefits that this tool has had on my mother’s sinus problems. She doesn’t suffer from sinus infections and breathes much easier. Studying the Hatha yoga practice I have become more aware of the importance of proper breathing. Clearing of the nostrils helps for better breathing and results in a more efficient practice. Breathing restores the body and contributes to balance. The Neti pot is such an important tool to clear the airways for the practice in order to achieve the full effects.

  28. I was very hesitant at the thought of using a neti pot, it just seemed so out of my comfort zone, a very strange new concept. But after reading this post, I’m definitely more inclined to try it out. While reading this post I thought mainly about my sister, as she suffers from allergies especially during the spring time. And she is always complaining about having a stuffy nose. I might just buy her one as well! I would also very much like to try it when I suffer a cold as it says it can help relieve those symptoms. This simple little contraption has so many benefits, its surprising that not as many people are trying it out. The fact that it helps things such as Bell’s palsy, anxiety, depression, and migraines(!!) is astounding. I suffer from headaches constantly, and it has come to my attention that I am relying too heavily on OTC medication. To think that I can use something as natural as pouring water through my nostrils to help alleviate those headaches is very exciting. I will most definitely be giving this a try.

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