Last evening, I had my first neti experience. Krishan had brought out the dreaded neti pot, a blue-colored plastic one that we got from Sivananda Ashram. It was on my mind to try it out, given that I had just attended a very informative class on breathing and self-care by one of our Yoga teachers, German Bravo. He talked about the importance of keeping the nose clean, with this ‘Aladdin’s Lamp’ shaped device (we all had a chuckle when he demonstrated rubbing an imaginary one and making a wish).
My fear around it was simple: That the saline water would go up my nose, into my brain, or other parts of my body. I would get a brain-freeze, or it would be like one of those nasty, painful experiences when you accidentally swallow or breathe in salty ocean water while swimming. Perhaps I would be the one person that the neti didn’t work for!
Krishan helped explain how it worked, and demonstrated it. I was a little wary of using it right after him, but after he washed it, I decided to give it a shot – this is my chance! He showed me how to cup the bottom of the pot, so that it was easier to pour, side-ways. After mixing in a little sea salt in warm water, I sank low over the sink, left side of my head near the sink top, and looked up. I brought the nozzle close to my right nostril, and began to pour. Nothing was coming out… I tilted the pot lower, to allow the flow, and fearfully waited for the water to start flowing through my other nostril. Then it started, as a little trickle. I felt a warm, somewhat familiar sensation in the back of my nose (memories from the ocean!). I held my breath, and prayed for the water to not enter my nasal passage. Krishan told me to keep breathing normally through my mouth, and let the water flow… and it did! After finishing that side, I blew my nose a little, and tried in the left nostril. Success!
The post-neti experience was quite interesting – my inner nose passage felt soft and tender, a little sensitive. I couldn’t figure out if this was a good or bad thing; Krishan assured me that it was, and that when he did it for a year (twice daily), he never fell sick. Sounds good to me, sign me up…. maybe let’s just start with once a day (if I can get a routine going)!