Saturday, October 17, 2009

Jala Neti

Tis the season of cold & flu! From the basic sniffles to the Big One (a little thing called H1N1) - everyone seems to be prepping their bodies and minds for an onslaught of sickness.

Enter the neti pot. Although not just for preventing and easing symptoms of cold and flu - this ancient yoga practice can soothe your sinuses all year long - the neti pot is definitely useful during this precarious season. We've had lots of people asking about them at the studio so I thought I'd provide a little info here.

Jala neti is one form of shat karma: yoga practices for body purification. These practices are ways of keeping the body clean and healthy so that we can feel comfortable when we practice asana (postures), pranayama (breathing techniques) and meditation. In Western science, jala neti is becoming well-known and medical doctors frequently recommend the practice for people with sinus irritations.

For anyone new to jala neti, the practice can be a little daunting. However, it doesn't take long to feel the positive effects and people are often surprised by how easy it really is (I know I was when I started!). To help you get started, the Himalayan Institute offers this how-to video.

From personal experience, I'd say the hardest thing is getting used to breathing while you pour the water through the sinuses. As long as you relax and breathe through your mouth you'll be fine!

You can find neti pots at a few locations in St. John's. We carry the same ceramic pots you see in the above video from the Himalayan Institute. Natural health stores and even basic drug stores often carry them as well.

So before you concede to the winter sniffles and sinus stuffiness, try a neti pot. Once you get used to it, your sinuses can be cleansed as quickly as your teeth each morning!

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