DIY Nasya Treatment

Nasya, in Ayurveda, is a nasal application of medication (usually herbal). It’s generally prescribed to open and clear the sinuses, balance kapha dosha, and to affect the function of the brain and nervous system. Here’s a simple do-it-yourself nasya treatment you can do at home to clean and lubricate the nose as well as release stress and tension.

Supplies needed:

¼ to ½ cup massage oil
Small saucepan of boiling water
Bath towel
Neti pot
2 pinches of sea salt
Ghee or Super Nasya Oil


1. Put the small saucepan of water on the stove and heat on high until boiling.

2. While the water is heating, massage the scalp and face with oil. Really scrub and move the scalp. Work the oil deeply into the tissues to loosen the muscles of the head. Also try pulling the hair (from the roots) a little bit to release tension – this should feel really good. When you massage the face, do lots of repetitive strokes. Circles over the temples, the forehead, the cheeks and jaw muscles. Do some deep strokes just under the cheekbones. Massage the sides of the nose, do a few strokes over the eyebrows, etc. The massage will help loosen everything up to be eliminated during your neti wash in step #4.

3. Once the water begins to boil, remove the pot from the heat. Have a seat at your dining table with the pan of steaming water in front of you on a pot holder or trivet. Drape the bath towel over both your head and the pot of steaming water to create a steam tent. Close your eyes and breathe in and out through your nose for three to five minutes, allowing the steam to penetrate into the nose and lungs. This will help to loosen mucous, open the pores in the skin, and allow the oils on the face and scalp to penetrate deeply into the tissues.

4. Fill your neti pot with luke-warm water, and add two pinches of sea salt. Once the salt has dissolved, use your neti pot (per the package directions) to wash out the nose.

5. Put 3 or 4 drops of warm ghee or Super Nasya Oil into the palm of one hand, and using the pinky finger of the other, apply the oil to the insides of each nostril. Go as deeply as you can without discomfort. Immediately lie down on your back for several minutes to allow the oil to penetrate into the nasal tissues (You will probably want to put the bath towel under your head to keep the oil off your floor/furniture).

This DIY nasya treatment can be done daily before your morning shower or bath.

The Endless Debate

Channel surfing the other day, I became aware of the controversy sparked by Tom Cruise and Brooke Shields. Brooke Shields has recently written a book on how pharmaceuticals saved her life from severe post-partum depression. She was at a point almost dangerous to the life of her child and her own life. Tom Cruise, on the other hand, is going on the circuit claiming that drugs are over-prescribed, that life style changes, nutrition and exercise are all that are necessary for the treatment of depression. Who is right?

It is obvious that they both are, but only partially. I think it is really important to understand that in our current understanding of reality, we have to really start going beyond dualistic thinking.

Is it nature or nurture?
Is it body or mind?
Is it biological organism or environment?
Is the universe particle like or wave like?

These endless debates should come to an end. A single reality differentiates into cognition (how we think), emotions and moods (how we feel), perception, behavior, biological function, environment, social interactions, interactions with natures forces, and personal relationships. They all simultaneously, interdependently co-create each other. More and more, people are understanding that that single reality is consciousness itself, the ground of being. Isn’t it time we made the study of consciousness a discipline in our academic institutions? This way we would not be bound with certitude to a fragmented perspective. We would recognize that there is a role for everything.

Drug treatment, behavioral and cognitive therapy, life style changes and everything that everybody elese is talking about. Why not integrate all these approaches.

Love to hear your thoughts.


Why am I depressed?

Q. In the past year, I have been very depressed. I have a good family and job, but my energy is so low I have trouble getting out of bed. Outwardly, I seem fine, but inside I have lost my enthusiasm for life. Please help.

A: Depression is a complex condition with physical, biochemical, emotional and spiritual components. Although the conventional medical model tends to focus on imbalances in neurochemistry, we find that for many people, depression is the consequence of long-standing unresolved emotional issues, often from childhood, but also from later in life. The depletion of psychological energy used to repress accumulated painful feelings translates over time into depression. There are a number of things you can do to awaken your inner pharmacy and regain your enthusiasm and vitality.

First, I encourage you to learn and practice Primordial Sound Meditation. Meditation is one of the most effective ways to shift your inner reference point from the part of you that is depressed to the witnessing aspect of yourself that is beyond suffering and able to help you begin taking the steps to recovery.

This is an important time to eat in a healthy way by favoring a six tastes diet with fresh organic foods. Although you may not be in the mood for it, it is also helpful to begin some kind of exercise program, including yoga, cardiovascular and strength training activities. Getting your life energy moving will enhance the production of natural mood elevating chemicals.

Look at the emotional issues underlying your condition. Seek out a counselor who can help you see your personal issues from a more expanded framework. If your depression is interfering with your ability to function, a course of anti-depressants may be helpful and will not preclude you from exploring a more holistic approach to deeper emotional healing. We offer a program at the Chopra Center called Healing the Heart, which addresses depression from an Ayurvedic model. This process is designed to identify, mobilize, release, and replenish toxic, life-force inhibiting emoticons with nourishing life-celebrating ones.

There are a few Ayurvedic herbs which may be helpful in depression. I see these as part of a holistic program rather than as a substitute for anti-depressant medications. The most important Ayurvedic herbs to help improve the mind are Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) and Brahmi (Centella asiatica or Bacopa moniera.)

Cultivate conscious communication skills so that you are better able to identify and meet your core emotional needs. The confidence that you can cultivate healthy relationships from this point forward will help heal your heart and soul.