Sunday, June 20, 2010

Neti Lesson

One of my dear friends from teacher training, Stephanie, came down from Baltimore to spend the day with me yesterday. and we've talked over and over about using a Neti pot. She pretty much swears by it though by her own admission she has fallen out of the habit lately. When we first roomed together I said how interested I was in using one but had never tried it. A few weeks later, sometime in December, a Neti pot arrived at my door, a gift from Stephanie. Then we roomed together again in March and she asked me how it was going and I had to admit, I hadn't started. I had actually forgotten all about it in the drama of the holidays and the snow. Again in May we roomed together and she asked. This time I only had the excuse that I was a little intimidated to try.
It's weird, right? Pouring water in your nose does not sound at all like a pleasant experience. I'd heard stories about how much it hurt the first time. I'd heard stories about people filling their sinuses with water and being in pain for the next few days. I didn't want to go alone, I needed a model and a little moral support --- maybe even a little kick in the tail.
So on Saturday night after an evening dinner at Impanema (a great little vegetarian restaurant here) and putting the Babe to bed, Stephanie gave me a quick neti lesson over my kitchen sink. It was just what I needed. She was the perfect teacher. She set up the Neti pots with just the right temperature of filtered or distilled water (about body temp) and just the right amount of iodized salt (individual to each person) and then demonstrated the ideal technique. What was key for me was that she said : "if it's going to drain {as in not through the other nostril} you want it to drain to your mouth, not up into your sinuses" and then she just went for it. A perfect stream in one nostril and out the other.
Next it was my turn. I put the pot to my nose, stuck my neck out, tipped my head and waited for the burn. It didn't come! Instead I got a pretty good stream right into the sink (and a bit in my mouth but that was fine with me). YAY! I can Neti! I immediately felt a difference between the two sides in how clear my breath moved. The second side went pretty well -- less in the throat and maybe a little some towards the sinuses but not so bad. And afterwards I truly felt much more clear in my nose and breath. I even felt better falling asleep that night. Even today almost 24 hours later I think I'm feeling better.
Stephanie's suggestion and recommendation was to go for at least a week and then really notice the difference. Using the Neti should improve allergy symptoms, help with sinus problems, improve pranayama practice, and make you feel better. And after this experience, I'm a believer. I'm not yet a regular, but neti is definitely something I can add to my bag of tricks for keeping healthy and strong. Those yogis know what they're doing, don't they!?!

1 comment:

Jennifer Fields YogaLifeWay said...

The trick to not letting the water go down your throat is to say the letter K while doing the neti. When you say K K K K K K K - it closes your throat and the water can't go down that way!