November 30, 2023

In the sacred dance of life, myriad muscles move in harmony, weaving an intricate ballet beneath our living, breathing epidermis, their tireless exertions often thanklessly cloaked in the shroud of invisibility. One such unseen hero is the nasalis, a humble servant laboring without pause to facilitate our very essence, the breath‐the prana, as we attune to it in the Indian yogic tradition. This narrow slip of muscle, quaintly nestled betwixt the sinuous contours of our nose, occasionally raises its silent protest in the form of discomfort or even pain, having been taxed by habitual sneezing, a piquant gust of curry's spice, or merely the wear and tear of an overworked existence.

When the nasalis muscle yearns for relief, it echoes the eternal call of the universe, a plea for connection, a susurrus begging the soothing balm of mindful self-care to restore harmony and balance. Our personal journey of healing commences with turning inwards, tapping into the expansive toolbox of ancient yogic wisdom.

The time-honored practice of Anuloma Viloma, known in our contemporary vernacular as alternate nostril breathing, serves as a soothing sonnet sung to the overworked nasalis. In this calm, restorative dance of breath, we invite a gentle stretch to weary nasal muscles. First, form Vishnu Mudra (the gesture of Universal Balance) with your right hand – curl your middle and index finger toward the palm. Exposing your thumb, ring, and little finger, now close your right nostril gently with your thumb and inhale deeply through the left nostril. Swap fingers to obstruct the left nostril, exhaling through the right nostril. The cycle continues, repeated with conscious rhythm, nurturing the Nasalis with each ebb and flow, effacing muscular tightness and bathing the tissues with oxygen-rich life force.

As our yoga mat serves as a sanctuary to honor the body, let us not overlook the potent healing found just outside our shala door. Mother Nature's apothecary offers her bounty of bountiful plant allies, each in a divine dance with the universe, flourishing beneath the sacred gaze of Surya, the sun. In the depths of her roots, the verdant tendrils of her leaves, and the fragrant whispers of her flowers, we find solace and healing for our distressed nasalis.

Harness the power of essential oils, the liquefied vitality of nature's flora, to quell the nasalis agony. Eucalyptus oil, a potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent, when diluted well with a carrier oil like sweet almond, can be gently massaged onto the affected area. Its penetrating coolness pacifies the excess Pitta or fiery energy, in Ayurvedic parlance, associated with muscular discomfort. Remember, when dealing with such potent natural forces, less is more – a drop suffices in most cases, for the potent botanical essence is a testament to the plant's tenacity and strength.

In our evenings, as the celestial curtain descends, swathing us under its iridescent tapestry of twinkling constellations, we may concoct an herbal poultice, another gift of Gaia's green pharmacopeia. The unassuming, sun-dappled plantain leaf offers a cooling, analgesic blanket for our ailing nasalis. Crush a handful of these leaves into a pulpy paste with a mortar and pestle, binding them together with a trickle of water. Apply to the area, allowing the plant's spirit to commune with your own, its healing vibration seeping into the sore muscle like a peaceful lullaby lilting through the ether.

Finally, invite a sense of gratitude for this discomfort. In the Buddhist tradition, dukkha, or suffering, is a teacher, a lantern illuminating the path to personal growth and enlightenment. Your aching nasalis, seemingly an inconvenience, is in truth a spiritual messenger. It invites you to foster resilience, cultivate compassion, rejoice in the miracle of our body, and marvel at the transcendent fusion of nature and self.

Life is a symphony, a rhapsody of imperfections, aching muscles, and healing breaths. So, as you explore these paths of self-care, remember the nasalis' small, often unnoticed, but pivotal role in your existence. Honor it with nurturing breath, natural remedies, and an abundance of gratitude. For, in the grand tapestry of our bodies, every strain and every stitch holds an indispensable role in the dance of life.

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