Yesterday I watched a magnificent hawk soar overhead and land in the top of a sky-scraping pine tree. He sat for a while surveying his new digs and I wondered how he felt about our burned out hillsides. His life has changed drastically since the recent wildfires, just as ours have. He knows he can no longer live in the charred remains of our Angeles Crest Forest. Just as he makes adjustments, we need to as well.
The soot and fine dirt blowing down from the hillsides have brought us some nasty air quality that we need to be careful of. Fine particles of ash and dust can exacerbate asthma, sinus problems, and even acne. It can cause headaches, eye irritation, and increase instances of the common cold. Even if you have no history of respiratory issues, you may notice chest soreness and breathing difficulties.
Before reaching for over the counter meds, there are some things you can do. First, give nasal irrigation a try. It can be done in the shower by dipping your face and nose into a bowl of warm water, but I recommend a neti pot. What an amazing, simple tool for not only those prone to allergies and sinusitis, but for everyone else as a part of good hygiene. A neti pot is a ceramic pot that is shaped kind of like Aladdin’s lamp. And likewise, for some will produce “wondrous” results.
Using ¼ teaspoon natural sea salt to one cup of warm water, place the spout in one nostril. As you are looking down into your sink, turn and look over your shoulder as you lift the pot to pour up into your nose. It’s a little startling at first but soon becomes comforting leaving you feeling much “clearer in the head.” It removes allergens and dust, keeping your nasal passages cleaner and your body more available to heal itself. The benefits come from the therapeutic effects of the sea salt as well as the removal of irritants. Make sure you use a high quality sea salt or Himalayan salt, no conventionally processed salts.
In the Ayurvedic medical tradition, nasal irrigation or “jala neti” has been used for centuries to help gently flush away irritants that cause allergy symptoms and sinus infections. I recommend to the students in my Mind & Body yoga class at the Community Center to use their neti pot before class each Tuesday, no matter what the air quality is.
You are going to breath thousands of times today, let’s allow the body to use each breath efficiently, with less difficulty. Air quality may improve and decline as time goes by but we still have choices that we can we make to lessen any bad affects.
That gorgeous hawk made a choice to avoid the dangers of the soot. Using a neti pot is one choice we can make to help us do the same. There’s more to come on protecting yourself from dust, dirt and soot. But I’ll have to save that for next time.
I’ll see you in two weeks.
Love & health, Loa
Get in touch LOA BLASUCCI teaches her stress relieving work out at the Community Center Tuesday mornings at 8 a.m. She can be reached at (818) 399-5345.