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Nasya is the nasal administration of medicinal herbs, decoctions and oils. Different types of substances are used to treat many various aliments. Nasya oil is an herbal infused oil which is both nurturing and nourishing, alleviating numerous discomforts that occur above the clavicle area.
Nasya oil is a balancing formula for all doshas and especially good for vata dosha. This therapy is most commonly indicated for dry nasal passages, hoarseness of voice, stiffness in the head, neck and jaw area, headaches and certain eye and ear problems. It relieves mental and emotional stress, anxiety, fear and negativity.
The nose is the doorway to the brain, mind and consciousness.
Prana, the vital life force, enters our bodies through the breath. Lubrication of the nasal passages with medicated oil provides subtle moisture to the air we breathe and affects the higher cerebral faculties and sensory organs. It promotes clarity of perception, intuition and stimulates memory. Nasya enhances cerebral circulation, restoring and balancing prana in the body.
Here is a simple procedure to follow for self-administration of nasya:
- Begin by comfortably lying down on your back and tilting your head back with your nostrils opening towards the sky. If you are lying on a bed, you may hang your head off the edge of the bed, or place a small pillow beneath your neck for support.
- Place 5-10 drops of nasya oil in each nostril. With skill, you can administer the oil, drop by drop, circling the inside perimeter of the nostril, thoroughly coating the nasal membranes.
- Take a big sniff in, then rest for a few minutes allowing the nasya to penetrate.
Another method of administration of nasya oil is called Marshya nasya or Pratimarshya (if practiced daily). This is a very useful method when lying down is not always convenient.
- Place a drop of nasya oil on the little finger and gently insert it into the nostril.
- Gently massage the inner walls of the nasal passage.
- Alternate left and right nostrils until each nostril has received a total of three applications of oil.
The lubrication and gentle massage helps to alleviate stress and release any tension in the tissues. One commonly asked question at Banyan is, 'Can I use the nasya oil immediately following the neti pot wash?' This is not recommended. Especially if these therapies are new to you, it is wise to wait at least a day after washing with the neti pot, ensuring full drainage of the saline, before administering nasya.
Other contraindications include: pregnancy, menstruation, immediately before or after eating, intoxication, or acute fever.
By taking just five minutes a day to incorporate this simple treatment into your daily ayurvedic regime, you can enjoy the many healing benefits of nasya!
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