One way to assure ourselves of a clean nose is by the use of a neti pot. This is a small ceramic or metallic container with a narrow opening about the size of a nostril. Long a part of yoga health practices, it is said that those who use a neti pot daily will have healthy noses, better breathing and can overcome some of the effects of allergies and colds.

The noise is one of the main organs of the respiratory system. It cleans the air we breathy of particulate matter, such as dust and pollen, and warms (or cools) the air to the optimum temperature. The nose and surrounding sinuses add volume and vibrations to the voice. And our sense of smell is located here, particularly in the inner nose.

Smelling is made possible by small nerve endings of the olfactory nerve that "drop" through a bony plate which covers the floor of the brain cavity or roof of the nose. This direct connection to the brain may produce problems if one is not careful in ridges, turbinates, that warm or cool the air by swirling it into contact with the mucous membrane.

The nose is line with many hairs and smell blood vessels that modulate the temperature and aid in filtration. It also secretes a sticky substance called mucus that aids in its function. The sinuses are similarly equipped. There are very small openings from the large sinus cavities to the interior of the nose. This often makes drainage of the sinuses very difficult. Drainage is necessary because the mucus may be trapped under pressure thus producing pain. The nose opens into a large camber, the pharynx, that is connected with the trachea, mouth and ears, throat and esophagus. There is a small valve that helps to direct the food and air into the correct channels.

Since the interior of the nose is mostly hidden, we are not always aware of what its condition is. If we have a cold, we know that excess mucus forms and tends to run out of the nose and back into the throat. X-rays are necessary to reveal the contents of the sinuses. We can surmise that there is always mucus present, as well as the "dirt" filtered out of the air. If we do not cleanse the nose of this dirt we may end up with infections, irritations and other abnormal conditions.

The fact that the nose is in direct communication with the brain cavity and the inner ears means we must be careful not to exert too much pressure when blowing the nose. If there is any obstruction, we must be extremely careful.

A neti pot cleanses the membranes of the nose and sinuses of excess mucus and particulate matter. To use the pot, first fill with a mil salt solution. Then with the head turned 45 degrees bending over the wash basin, pour half of the contents through one nostril. Rotate the head, allowing the water from the first nostril to drain into the sink, and pour the remaining solution through the other nostril. Then, with the mouth close, forcefully blow out the total contents of the nose. This should be done daily, and sometimes twice a day.

There are times that we must invert or lower the head to allow the sinuses to drain without forcing the water out. This is a good cleansing of the sinuses, and it is known that polyps in the sinuses have been cured by the use of the pot.

Some people suck water up from their cupped hand into the nose for cleansing. This is hazardous as the force is so great that the water may go into the inner ear which can not happen with the use of the neti pot. Ad a neti pot to your daily cleansing routine and soon you will notice many benefits from the better respiration and increased absorption of prana.

Neti pots may be purchased from Himalayan Publishers, RRl, Box 405, Honesdale, PA 18431. Price is US $7.95 plus $1.50 shipping ($2.00 foreign).

Article copyright Himalayan Academy.