How Can Yoga Aid in the Treatment of Sinusitis?

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How to Use Yoga as a Treatment for Sinusitis

One of the most common ailments that plagues humans today is sinusitis. The reasons are many, including allergies and infections to extreme changes in the weather, high levels of air pollution, or simply a lack of proper care for the sinuses. Even if the health of the sinuses are generally good, some amount of maintenance is needed from time to time. Yoga emphasizes this need through a series of practices called “Shatkarma”. This is a set of six cleansing techniques done to cleanse the system of toxins and provide an effective treatment for sinusitis.

One of these series of practices is called Jala Neti and is used specifically to cleanse the sinuses and the passages around the ears, nose and throat. This technique is done using special equipment called a neti pot. The pot has a hollow base with a long spout and the practice involves the use of warm, saline water. The spout is inserted into one of the nostrils and the saline solution is allowed to pass through the nasal membrane and flow out through the other nostril.

The passage of water from one nostril, into the other and outside, cleans the nasal passage of mucus and other accumulated toxins, relieves nasal congestion and upper respiratory difficulties. It can be successfully tried for relief in allergic rhinitis as well. In some instances, a deviated septum has also been shrunk (that is the action of saline solution on the septum) to enable better breathing.

Jala neti has several implications for health. On the one hand it alleviates problems associated with the upper respiratory tract. On the other hand, it has great benefits for mental wellbeing too. Jala neti practiced regularly induces a sense of calm and concentration. According to the yogis, it activates the ajna chakra (the chakra located between the eyebrows) and enhances intuitive functioning as a result.

Jala neti can be taught to children from the age of six. I started practicing jala neti very young and have completed eliminated my tendency for upper respiratory infections and persistent sinus problems. When proper breathing is a given, the benefits of exercise can be felt more fully.

A word of caution, however: this practice is best learned under the supervision of a well-trained and experienced yoga teacher. While a regular practice is essential for the technique to bear results, jala neti done too often or in a faulty fashion can have negative implications.


Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha by Sw. Satyananda Sarswathi