Nasal cleansing practices
Nasal cleansing (Neti) is intended mainly to the cleaning of the air passageways in the head. As mentioned in the previous blog, there are 4 different types of neti.
- Jala (water) neti, passing warm saline water through the nose.
- Sutra (thread) neti, passing a soft thread through the nose.
- Ghrita (ghee) neti, passing clarified butter through the nose.
- Dugdha (milk) neti, passing milk through the nose.
However, we will show you the steps to the most practiced techniques: jala (water) and sutra (thread).
Jala (water) neti
Jala neti is a process of cleaning the nasal passage with salt water. So it is essential in allowing free breathing as required in many of the yoga practices.
- Stand squarely, legs apart, body weight evenly distributed between the 2 feet and lean forward.
- Fill the neti pot with sterilized and lukewarm isotonic salt water. Hold the bottom of the pot with one hand.
- Open the mouth slightly and breathe through the mouth.
- Gently insert the end of the nozzle into the end of the left nostril. There should be no force involved, but the nozzle should press firmly against the side of the one nostril so that no water leakage occurs.
- Progressively tilt your head to the right side while simultaneously raising the neti pot in such a way that water runs into the left nostril.
- The whole body should be relaxed.
- When you have used half of the water, remove the neti pot. Remain bending forward, centre the head and let the water run out of the nose.
- Practise in the same way passing the water through the right nostril.
Sutra (thread) neti
Sutra neti (nasal cleaning with thread or rubber cacheter) is an advanced process for cleaning the nose. It supplements and performs the same function as jala neti, namely it cleans and removes blockages in the nasal passages. In this way, free flow of air through both nostrils is achieved, this being so important for many yogic practices as well as general health. In jala neti, salt water is used to clean the nose. Whereas In sutra neti a catheter (a long, thin rubber tube lubricated with clarified butter) or twined strands of cotton thread (wiped with melted beeswax) are passed through the nostrils.
- Squat on the heels and tilt the head slightly back.
- Gently push the narrow end of the catheter into the left nostril. Be very careful and do it slowly.
- Twist it so that it enters the nostril easily. Don’t apply any force under any circumstances. The interior of the nose is very delicate and any undue force could cause damage. Eventually you should feel the end of the tube emerging at the back of the throat.
- With your index finger and thumb reach into the throat and pull the end of the tube out through the mouth.
- Never leave the other end of the tube, which you are holding with your other hand. This action may make you retch a little at first, but with practice it will cause absolutely no disturbance.
- Now using both hands move the tube in a massaging motion to clean the nostrils and throat.
- Repeat the procedure with the right nostril.
- After the practice is over, remove the catheter and clean it. Store the catheter in a clean place for another day’s next practice.
Benefits of nasal cleansing
The practice of nasal cleansing is very beneficial to our body, mind and soul. It exerts a profound physiological effect. It cleanses the cranium and bestows clairvoyance. Furthermore it destroys all diseases which manifest above the throat.
On the physical level, irrigation of the mucous membrane removes accumulated mucus from the nostrils, associated passages and sinuses, allowing air to flow without obstruction.
Nasal cleansing exerts a relaxing and irrigating effect upon the eyes by stimulating the tear ducts and glands. It also clears the entrance to the eustachian tubes in the nasopharynx. The sinuses, important bony cavities within the facial and frontal bones, are also lined with mucous membranes and help to make the skull light and the voice resonant. Neti promotes drainage of the sinuses, preventing stasis of mucus and keeping them clean and functional.
Regular practice of nasal cleansing maintains healthy secretory and drainage mechanisms of the entire ear, nose and throat area. Hence, this helps to ward off colds and coughs, allergic rhinitis, hay fever, catarrh and tonsillitis.
It also gives resistance to various diseases of the ears, eyes and throat, such as myopia, tension headache due to eyestrain, certain cases of deafness such as ‘glue ears’ and middle ear infections, inflammation of the adenoids, as well as inhibiting the formation of nasal polyps.
Nasal cleansing relieves muscular tension of the face and nervous tics, and helps maintain facial youth and freshness. Finally, it releases emotional tension and is beneficial in anxiety, depression, epilepsy and hysteria.