Friday, October 8, 2010

Embrace the mucus

I have had a few questions about the Neti Pot picture on "Here's to my yoga friends" so let me take a little while to explain. I admit if you haven't done it, it looks a little bit strange to see a picture of someone with a dolly's tea pot shoved up their nose!
Lets go from the beginning! One of the "Niyamas" or the observances of the yogic way of life is "Saucha" which sounds like a kind of yummy Swiss chocolate bar but unfortunately there is nowhere in the yoga history that says that you should stuff as much cocoa into your body as possible! I am thinking of lobbying the yoga alliance about adding that to the eight limbs, but that's another blog altogether! Saucha actually means cleanliness or purity and this cleanliness operates on many levels, so not just making sure you take a shower regularly and blow the day out of your nose after a journey home from the city on the train. You should aspire to breathe clean air, keep a clean house, eat healthy non processed foods, drink clear water etc. This purity can also be extended into your thoughts and actions. Thinking good thoughts, not polluting our minds with negativity or harbouring strong emotions. Hard for me who is a tangle of emotionally charged fixations and obsessions and has a mouth like a sailor! Is life really worth living if you can't have a good swear?! 
me and the neti

Back to the matter in hand. The physical act of keeping clean is much more tangible for me (I shall leave the story of the colonic irrigation that I received as a 35th Birthday present for another day!) and the chance to get to grips with a neti pot seemed like a good challenge.
First get your neti! I got a little purple plastic one off the internet for a few quid but you can go all posh and spend some serious cash on a designer one. I don't know why you would want to as it is not really something you need to be sharing with anyone but each to their own. Victoria Beckham has probably got one in her spring 2011 collection!  If the Beckham route isn't for you then log onto for something cheap and cheerful that will do the job beautifully!
Laurent the neti pro!
I first experienced neti potting when I was on my teacher training. We all trotted off to various bathrooms after we watched our teacher demonstrate the pouring method and then the snotting all over the shop after effects! Loo roll factors largely in the neti experience! So, I diluted a teaspoon of salt in the body temperature water and was ready to go. Pretty much the key in this whole deal is that you have to relax and breathe (shocker!) otherwise you will experience something akin to water-boarding which is not much fun! (if you've ever been incarcerated in  Guantanamo you may know what I am talking about!) So you tip you head over to one side and slightly forward, shove the spout of the pot way up your snozzer, open your mouth and start to pour. It is such a  weird feeling but as soon as the water starts to come out the other nostril it is a very proud moment! Of course you can't get too excited about it because then you forget to breath and you choke and that is not a good look for anyone! I did it with my lovely French friend  Laurent and he is a net pot veteran. He was so sweet, "Yes! Petal you 'ave it! I see ze dribble! Good garl!" It was like a father excited about a first for his precious child! 
After the pouring, half the pot of water through each nostril, then you have to blow. Your nose! (Mind out of the gutter people, this is about cleanliness remember!) Not too hard though because then you get the most horrendous popping in your ears and I speak from experience when I say it bloody hurts! So gently does it and go on, have a look because you have probably never seen so much good snot in one tissue! Be proud, embrace the mucus!
Afterwards there is the feeling of achievement but also the lovely minty fresh feeling as the breeze whistles easily in and out of your nasal cavity with every deep breath.

As you can probably tell, I have become somewhat of a neti pot obsessive. Some love it some hate it. Some find it helps with allergy symptom relief some add a little eucalyptus into the mix to help with sinus pain. It is worth a go once as another thing to say you've experienced in your life. And you know what they say, don't knock it until you've tried it!


  1. I ADORE my neti pot and it helps so much when I am plagued by colds and sinus infections. I would also recommend NeilMed Sinus Rinse which is cheaper and available at your local Walgreen's/CVS and doesn't involve as much of an undertaking to use. I often use both!

  2. I was rubbish at this! Dinah and Jane managed it so elegantly and I kept choking.... behaved like a drama queen as usual. Hee hee x

  3. I too, really wanted to be good at this, but I panicked and swallowed the salty water so threw the pot to one side and said "its crap" and havent used it again. I am definitely gonna try it again tho.

  4. I didnt know you were a closet nettier!
    Victoria? Don't be anonymous!
    Pricey316, you should try it again for sure. I think it can often be a confidence shaker to start with but stick with it, get a good technique going and you won't look back. The trick is to tip your head forward and to the side!