Jala Neti is a yogic technique to clean your sinuses. Neti is one of the six purification methods in Hatha Yoga. The sinus cavities can get clogged with impurities which may cause infections, inflammations and headaches. The yogic text Hatha Yoga Pradeepika gives a simple method to keep your sinuses clean. The text gives six practices for cleansing the body and to prepare the body and mind for higher practices of Yoga. These are called Shatkarmas. One of them deals with Nasal hygiene and is called Neti. Nasal hygiene is extremely important as it is linked to many conditions like sinusitis, migraine, headaches, allergies and asthma. Neti is a very simple practice that can be done along with your daily routine, say immediately after brushing your teeth in the morning. It takes just a few minutes and helps to relieve many of the problems related to the nasal and sinus cavities.
To do Jala Neti (Neti using plain warm saline water), you need a Neti Pot, some salt and water. Neti pot is a small pot with a long spout on the side which is inserted into one of the nostrils during the practice. It can be made of copper, steel, ceramic or even plastic. It is available in most health stores that sell yoga products. Prepare salt water by mixing 1 table spoon of salt to one liter of warm water. The salt should be of the right proportion and the water should be slightly warm so that it does not irritate the tissues inside the nostrils. Neti practiced with water is called Jala Neti. Neti can also be done using milk and is then called Dugdha Neti.
How to Practice Jala Neti (Nasal Cleaning with Water)?
- Pour the salt water into the Neti pot and place the spout of the pot into one of the nostrils, say the left nostril. The cone at the end of the spout should to be placed inside the nostril.
- Tilt your head gently and open your mouth (Breathing should be done through the mouth during the process). Adjust the tilt of your head up to a point where water starts flowing from your left nostril to the right nostril. Continue till the water in the pot is finished.
- Fill the pot again with salt water and try the same procedure from the other nostril (say the right nostril).
- You can repeat this process any number of times, depending on your need and time.
When you first start this practice, you may get irritations in the nose, sneezing, coughing, etc. which will disappear after few sessions.
Benefits of Jala Neti (Nasal Cleaning with Water)
- Neti helps to maintain the nasal hygiene by removing the dirt and bacteria trapped along with the mucus in the nostrils.
- Neti de-sensitizes the sensitive tissues inside the nose, which can alleviate rhinitis, allergies and some asthmas.
- Several health problems like sinusitis, migraine, headaches, ear problems like tinitis and middle ear infections can be reduced by doing Neti.
- It can alleviate upper respiratory complaints, sore throats, tonsils and dry coughs.
- It can clear the eye ducts and improve vision.
- Effect of Neti on the mind is also notable. It can remove tensions and depressions; and give clarity of mind.
Associated Practices of Neti
Neti or Nasal Cleaning can also be done with milk. It is then a called Dhugdha Neti. There is another practice called Sutra Neti. In Sutra Neti, a waxed cotton string is inserted into the nose and pulled out from the mouth. Cleaning is done by to and fro motion of the string. Instead of using cotton thread, a rubber catheter may also be used, as it is convenient and easily available in any medical store. Benefits of Sutra Neti are similar to that of Jala Neti.