Ayurveda Techniques For Spring Health, Part 1: Jala Neti

Are you looking for more ways to stay healthy this season? Want some internal Spring cleaning for your body?  Ayurveda cleansing  techniques, like Jala Neti (nasal lavage with a neti pot), help Yogis stay healthy and strong.  They can do the same for you!

Yogis hold their bodies in deep regard and have many ways to support their health. Kriyas are special purifying exercises.  They allow one to practice Saucha, cleanliness, as outlined in Raja Yoga and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.

The 6 Kriya Practices:

  1. Jala Neti – nasal rinsing
  2. Kapalabhati – invigorating breathing exercise
  3. Trataka – candle/steady gazing
  4. Dhauti – cleansing the esophagus & stomach with gauze
  5. Basti – cleansing of the intestines with an enema
  6. Nauli – abdominal churning

These exercises are so effective, they’re still practiced today by serious yogis. But a few of them, especially numbers 4 – 6 above, are either extremely difficult to perform or may be too weird for many Americans.

B.K.S. Iyengar, in his book The Tree of Yoga, says that the kriyas should not be performed by healthy people.  He says they’re “drastic treatments, only to be given in drastic cases, and not for everybody.”

Yes, there are contraindications that I’ll list below – they are certainly not for everybody. But I would also argue that many of us in America are NOT healthy and DO need more drastic help!

The first 3 exercises are easy to do and are very therapeutic. I do them all regularly and feel they are safe enough to suggest them to you too.

You can start practicing Jala Neti before exploring the other two kriyas that I’ll introduce next week.

Jala Neti | Neti Pot Benefits

Directly translated as “water net”, jala neti is nasal rinsing with salt water from a neti pot into one nostril and out the other.

Benefits: Removes microorganisms, pollen, dust, excess mucus, and other impurities from the nasal passages. Can help immensely with seasonal allergies and can shorten the span of the common cold if done in the first few days.

Contraindications: Do not use untested well water or even water from the tap. Because of the intimate nature of the sinus cavity and the brain, it’s best to use the cleanest water possible. Deionized or reverse osmosis water is suggested. Do not do Jala Neti if you have a serious sinus infection or earache (see your primary care provider first).

Jala Neti Instructional Video

If you’re intrigued by the idea of cleaning the nose & sinuses but are concerned about using a neti pot, you can use a purified saline spray. In my experience it can help, especially with kids. For adults with chronic allergies, a neti pot is definitely more effective.

I would love to hear how your experience with jala neti has been. For those of you who’ve done it, did it work as you expected? And if you have any questions, please post in the comments. I’ve been using one for almost 20 years so I can probably help you out!

Ready to learn more about how to boost your health this Spring? Check out Ayurvedic Techniques for Spring Health, part 2: Kapalabhati Breathing

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Brandy Falcon L.Ac.

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