Simple neti potJala neti is a traditional Ayurvedic and Yogic practice to cleanse the nose and sinus passages by running warm saline water through the nose. The Sanskrit word ‘jala’ means water and ‘neti’ means to guide, thus ‘jala neti’ means guiding water through the nasal passages to cleanse them. It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries because of its powerful physical, psychological and spiritual benefits.

By clearing the nasal passages it allows for a fuller and freer breathing which increases the amount of Prana, or vital life energy, that we absorb. On a higher level it activates the Ajna chakra which is related to the third eye and the pituitary gland, which makes it easier to see the unity of creation. However, in the West the use of the neti pot has gained immense popularity for its dramatic effect on the sinuses. It has an immediate effect in solving sinus and allergy problems.

The practice of jala neti works because the warm water loosens and dissolves any internal build ups of dirt and bacteria filled mucous lining and drives them outwards. The sinus passages are also cleared by the vacuum pressure flow of the water. Through this mechanism it sucks out mucous from the sinuses, which would normally be impossible to drain because they are a dead-end cavity. The use of the neti pot also increases the working of the cilia, these are tiny hair like structures in the nasal and sinus cavities that wave back and forth to move the mucus either to the back of the throat, where it can be swallowed, or to the front of the nose, to be blown out.

For the neti pot it’s best to use lukewarm distilled, sterile or previously boiled water in which you dissolve salt to a ratio of about 1 teaspoon to half a litre of water. For the salt it’s best to use a finely grounded salt because this will dissolve the easiest in water. Avoid using table salt which can contain additives like aluminium or silicone to keep the salt from clumping together or iodized salt which is irritating for the nose.

Once you’ve filled the neti pot, lean forward and turn your head to one side, keeping the forehead at about the same height as the chin. Gently insert the spout of the neti pot in the upper nostril and gently raise the neti pot so that the saline water flows in through the upper nostril and comes out through the lower nostril. Breathe through the mouth and when the neti pot is empty turn your head facing down and exhale vigorously through the nose without pinching the nostrils for clearing the nasal passages. This procedure is then alternated with the other nostril.

After the use of the neti pot it’s recommended to perform a few vigorous exhalations by drawing the abdomen toward the spine with each exhalation and it can be beneficial to do some forward bends so that your head is pointing toward the floor and holding this position for a few seconds. These exercises will help expel any water left in your nose.
It’s safe to use the neti pot on a daily basis and it’s regular use has many benefits:

  • Jala neti promotes overall nasal and sinus health.
  • Jala neti gives immediate relief from respiratory problems like sinusitis and allergies.
  • Jala neti gently removes excess mucus.
  • Jala neti rinses away respiratory irritants such as dust, pollen and dirt.
  • Jala neti promotes a fresh and clean breath.
  • Jala neti keeps the head feeling clear and the mind refreshed, and so it can give relief from headaches, migraines, depression and mental tension.
  • Jala neti is helpful for meditiation because it has a subtle effect on the Ajna chakra.
  • Jala neti is very helpful in stopping with smoking. It reduces mouth breathing and re-sensitizes the nose to the discomfort of inhaling smoke.
  • Jala neti can be helpful against snoring in your sleep.