I celebrated my birthday at the beginning of the month with…… a neti pot. Yes, I came down with a cold the evening before my birthday and woke up with the gift of a supremely stuffy nose the next morning. I reached for the neti pot. I happen to own a neti pot because it was required during the Live Your Yoga workshop as part of my yoga teacher training through Global Family Yoga. I did not own a neti pot and had fashioned an improvised neti pot during past colds. I had had some success, but wasn’t completely sold on the idea. So I bought the neti pot last year and headed for my training.
We used the neti pots prior to our morning’s pranayama practice. I would not have said that my nose was stuffy before using the neti pot, but I could not believe how much clearer my nasal passages were afterward. I guess that I had a low level of congestion, probably from the stale, air conditioned air in my hotel room, and I had just ignored it. I had never thought of using the neti pot in the absence of acute congestion, but I now sing the neti pot’s praises at every opportunity. I would have probably continued to use my mostly ineffective improvised neti had it not been for it being required for my yoga training and the amazing transformation I experienced. Thank you, Mira!
I do not use the neti pot on a daily basis, but I do integrate it as part of my cleansing routine as the seasons change, like during the recent equinox, or on waning moon cycles. There is a great article called Natural Health: The Neti Pot in the current Yoga + Joyful Living magazine. It offers both history and detailed instructions. I use a ratio of just under 1 C water to a slightly heaping 1/4 tsp. salt for 1 neti pot treatment. We use Sea Salt from Eden Foods, which is very coarse. The mixture should not be so rich as to burn you nasal passages with the salt or too lean as to feel like water going up your nose while swimming. I had never realized until my yoga training how comfortable the neti pot treatment should feel. It is an odd sensation, but it should not be uncomfortable.
In addition to my success with the neti pot, I have had great results using the neti pot with Henrik. I started using a neti pot with him when he was about 3 ½ years old. It took a bit of convincing the first time. He had watched Rob and me using our neti pots during our colds so it wasn’t a completely new idea. But, he had his reservations. He finally conceded and both Rob and I worked together to get him in the right position. We lean Henrik over the edge of the tub. He is supported by the tub, and Rob when he is home, and I stand with him between my legs and lean over into the tub. Rob is really there for moral support and it is no problem to have just one adult helping with position and pouring. Henrik isn’t able to stay in position as long as I am so I pour a little into each side a few times and blow in between (careful not to encourage too forceful blowing). The first time Henrik got a full flow through from one nostril to the other he was so proud of himself. He now cheers me on when I get good drainage. I prepare a half batch for him with half the water and half the salt.
I would highly recommend the neti pot before naps and at bedtime to help ease breathing issues (a drop of eucalyptus essential oil on the corners of his pillowcase also helps to open airways) and encourage better sleep. The neti pot and Elderberry Syrup (immune support) from Honey Gardens combine to form the cold fighting team for my preschooler. The adults in our house use the same combo. Good luck keeping congestion at bay this cold season!