According to Ayurveda we’re now well into the ‘Kapha season’ of winter (due to its qualities being characterised by Kapha), where we are more prone to catch a cold or flu, and have a lot of mucus in the chest or sinuses. It’s when nature slows down, and we naturally slow down also. Winter is associated with rain, cold temperatures, and snow. In line with this, Kapha relates to the elements of earth and water and its qualities are cold, wet, oily, heavy, and sticky (like glue).
For years I battled with severe sinus infections and used to dread the onset of winter. If you’ve ever experienced allergies or sinus trouble, you know just how miserable facial pain and clogged nasal passages can be! By integrating some simple steps into daily life at this time you too can help manage the dominance of Kapha creeping up.
One of my favourite winter rituals is the daily use of a Neti pot. It is by far the best method I’ve discovered for preventing and eliminating colds. A Neti pot originates from the Ayurvedic/hatha yoga tradition and is something of a cross between a small teapot and Aladdin’s lamp. It is filled with a salt and water solution which is used to clear the mucus from high up in your nostrils, releasing it from your sinuses. This process of cleansing the nasal passages is known as Jala Neti.
The cold virus flourishes in nerve tissue, particularly the olfactory nerves in the nose. During a cold, Jala Neti greatly helps by removing the accumulated mucus in the nose, which is a breeding ground for bugs.
How to use your Neti pot:
Fill your pot with warm water and the right amount of salt; the water should be as salty as tears (I use 1 metric teaspoon for 500mls water).
Stir well until salt has dissolved.
Tilt your head so that your nose and crown line up on the horizontal axis.
Turn your chin toward your shoulder. This prevents water from going into your sinuses.
Lift the pot to your upper nostril to get gravity going. Let the water run through. If your nostril is completely blocked, try the other side. Never force water through if you’re stuffed up — it’ll aggravate your body even more.
Drying the nostrils:
Close off the right nostril and do 5-10 quick breaths (gently sneezing on the exhale) out the left nostril. Repeat other nostril, then both together. Repeat if needed.
Regular practice of Jala Neti even when you don’t have a cold keeps the nasal passages (channels) working at optimum efficiency. It helps to maintain good health of the eyes, ears and throat and thus a healthy body. Jala Neti also has a very soothing influence on the brain and can help to relieve migraines, anxiety, anger, depression, tension and brain fog.
Here’s to clearing the channels in your very own head☺