Neti is a main part of shatkarma, this is the yogic system of internal body cleansing techniques. Neti is a process of cleansing and purifying the nasal passages internally. This Practice include two main variants: jala neti and sutra neti.
(Nasal cleansing with water)
A special neti lota, neti pot should be used. The lota may be made of plastic, pottery, bras or any other metal which doesn’t contaminate with water. The nozzle on the end of the spout should fit comfortably into the nostril so that the water doesn’t leak out. Even a tea pot may be used if the tip of the spout is not sharp. The water should be at body temperature and mixed with rock salt or saindhav lavan in the proportion of one teaspoonful per half liter of water. The addition of salt ensures the osmotic pressure of the water is equal to that of the body fluid, thereby minimizing any irritation the mucous membrane .If a painful or burning sensation is felt it is an indication that there is either too little salt in water.
Stage 1. Washing the nostrils
Fill the neti pot with the prepared salt water .Stand comfortably, legs apart, with the body weight evenly distributed, and bend forward. Close the eyes and relax the whole body .Tilt the head to one side .Start breathing through the mouth .Slowly insert the nozzle into the uppermost nostril. Tilt the neti pot in such a way that water runs gently into the nostril and not down to the face .Adjust the body position to enable the water to pass out through the other nostril.
Stage 2.Drying the nostrils
Close the right nostril with the right thumb and breathe in and breathe out through the left nostril 10 times in quick succession, assert exhalation as in kapalbhati pranayama. Repeat through the opposite nostril, with the left nostril closed.
Bend forward from the waist so that the trunk is horizontal .Repeat the same process as described above but tilt the head to the right, closing the right nostril. Repeat again, tilting the head to the left and closing the left nostril with the help of left thumb. Finally repeat again with the head centered, breathing thoroughly with both nostrils. This will help to drain trapped water from the sinus cavities.
Stand erect with the feet apart .Close the right nostril and exhale forcefully while bending forward rapidly from the waist .Inhale normally while returning to the upright position .Repeat 5 to 10 times .Repeat with the right nostril open an then with both nostrils open.
Jala neti is ideally practiced in the morning before pranayamas and asanas. However, if required, it may be performed at any time except just after meals.
Those people who suffer from chronic bleeding in the nose should not do jala neti without expert advice .Those who consistently have great difficulty passing water through the nose may have an anatomical deformity and should seek expert advice.
Jala neti removes mucus and pollution from the nasal passages and sinuses, allowing air to flow without obstruction .It helps prevent respiratory tract diseases such as asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis, and pulmonary tuberculosis. It helps to cure seasonal allergies ,cold and sinusitis ,together with disorders of the ears ,eyes and throat ,including myopia ,allergic rhinitis ,hay fever ,some types of deafness such as glue ears ,tonsillitis(inflammation of the tonsils most commonly caused by viral or bacterial infection ) and inflammation of the adenoids and mucus membranes. It relieves muscular tension of the face, nervous tics, and Bell’s palsy and helps the individual to maintain a fresh and youthful appearance.
(Nasal cleansing with thread)
This practice involves passing a length of cotton thread through the nose .In ancient time, a specially prepared cotton thread was used .Several strands were tightly wrapped together and dipped in hot and melted wax. The width was about 4mm and the length 36 to 45cm.
The practice is more conveniently performed by using a thin rubber catheter lubricated with butter or oil so that it slides easily through the nasal passage .The size of the catheter depends on the individual nasal passage but sizes 4,5 or 6 are generally used.
Take any comfortable standing or sitting position .Relax the whole body. Gently insert the narrow end of the catheter or waxed end of the thread into whichever nostril is flowing more freely and smoothly .As the thread is inserted twist it so that it enters the nostril without friction .Always keep the tip pointing downward towards the floor of the nose .Never push it straight up. When the thread reached the back of the throat, insert the index fingers, into the mouth .Pull the catheter or thread gently and slowly out through the mouth, leaving a few inches of thread hanging out of the nose .This action may cause retching at first but with practice it will become easier .Hold each end of the catheter using the fingers, very slowly pull it backward and forward, no more than 15 times on the first attempt. Remove it gently through the nose and repeat the sutra neti with the opposite nostril.
Sutra neti should be performed before jala neti as it will flush out all the impurities and particles in the nose which have been dislodged by sutra neti.
Those people who suffering from the chronic nose bleeding should not do sutra neti .Anyone with polyps, nasal ulcers and severe malformations of the turbinate or nasal septum should first seek the advice of ayurvedic or yogic doctor.
Benefits are the same as for the jala neti .In addition ,however, sutra neti can rectify the problem of deviated nasal septum .If any or both nostrils are not flowing freely due to either fleshy outgrowths or deformed bone, the regular friction of sutra neti causes these blockage to disappear within a few weeks.