If you are a practitioner of yoga and meditation and have not yet started the practice of Jala Neti, now is as good a time as any to do so. A few years ago, if you were to ask someone about neti, there's a good chance they would reply with "Neti who?". These days, as meditation, yoga and other avenues of holistic health become more widely practiced in the Western World (not to mention the fact that Oprah is a big fan of Rhino Horn Neti Pots), you are probably more likely to get some knowing feedback.
So what's the big deal about pouring slightly warm salt water through one's nose anyways? Well, from a physical standpoint (and any Doctor of Medicine will tell you this), neti helps to cleanse the little hairs (cilia) inside one's nose, which serve to filter out unwanted particles and bacteria, as well as help regulate the temperature and humidity of incoming air. Just like an air conditioner filter gets built up with dirt, resulting in less efficiency, a dirty nose will inhibit one's respiratory system, not to mention immune system.
In addition to washing out toxins, neti also helps stimulate blood vessels inside the nose and drain the sinus passages, which for anybody with chronic sinus conditions, knows how good a feeling it is to have one's sinus passages given immediate relief. An even less obvious benefit of Jala Neti is that it helps stimulate the pituitary gland.
In regards to meditation and yoga, the benefit of Jala Neti is priceless. For both yoga and meditation, one's Life Force begins with the breath. Pranayama, which is the art of breath control and one of the most important aspects in yoga, is more readily mastered when one does Jala Neti before starting a yoga session. Not only is Oxygen and Life Force delivered to more cells throughout the body, increased breath helps to instill more relaxation and alleviate tension.
In meditation, breath and relaxation go hand-in-hand. Furthermore, the stimulation of the pituitary gland (as mentioned) is of major importance. In the Ayurvedic tradition, this corresponds to the awakening of one's energy center, or the Ajna Chakra, which is essential to achieving higher states of meditation.
So take it from the Sages of the past who have been doing neti as far back as thousands of years ago: A little salty, warm water may just be one of life's best health elixirs.
If you are looking to purchase a neti pot, we recommend the rhino horn neti pot available at WaiLana Yoga.