Jala Neti (nasal cleansing with water) is a cleansing practice that focuses on removing mucus and pollution from the nasal passages.
How to do Jala Neti – Nasal Cleansing With Water
- A special neti lota, ‘neti pof should be used. This pot may be made of plastic, pottery, brass or any other metal which does not contaminate the water. The nozzle on the end of the spout should fit comfortably into the nostril so that the water does not leak out. Even a teapot may be used if the tip of the spout is not too large or sharp. The water should be pure, at body temperature and thoroughly mixed with salt in the proportion of one teaspoonful per half litre of water. The addition of salt ensures the osmotic pressure of the water is equal to that of the body fluids, thereby minimizing any irritation to the mucous membrane. A painful or burning sensation is an indication of too little or too much salt in the water.
Stage I : Washing the nostrils
- Fill the neti pot with the prepared salt water.
- Stand squarely, with legs apart so that the body weight is evenly distributed between the feet. Lean fonvard and tilt the head to one side.
- Breathe through the mouth.
- Gently insert the nozzle into the uppermost nostril.
- There should be no force involved.
- The nozzle should press firmly against the side of the nostril so that no water leakage occurs.
- Tilt the neti pot in such a way that water runs into the nostril and not down the face.
- Keep the mouth open. Raising the elbow of the hand which holds the neti pot helps to adjust the body position so that the water flows out through the lower nostril.
- When half the water has passed through the nostrils, remove the nozzle from the nostril, centre the head and let the water run out of the nose.
- Remove any mucus from the nose by b1owing gently. Tilt the head to the opposite side and repeat the process, placing the nozzle of the Iota in the upper nostril. After completing this process, the nostrils must be thoroughly dried.
Stage 2: Drying the nostrils
1. Stand erect
- Close the right nostril with the right thumb and breathe in and out through the left nostril 10 times in quick succession, as in kapalbhati pranayama.
- Repeat through the right nostril, with the left nostril closed.
- Perform once more through both nostrils.
2. 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.
- Finally, repeat again with the head centred, breathing through both nostrils.
Practice note While Doing Stage 2
- This step helps to drain trapped water from the sinus cavities.
3. 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 times.
- Repeat with the right nostril open and then with both nostrils open. Do not blow the nose too hard as the remaining water may be pushed into the ears.
If necessary, perform shashankasana for several minutes to allow the drainage of any remaining water.
Duration of Doing Jala Neti – Nasal Cleansing With Water
- This practice should take about 5 minutes.
- Neti may be practised daily, once or twice a week, or as required.
- Physical – on relaxing and positioning the body, on the flow of water through the nostrils, and on relaxed breathing through the mouth, especially for beginners.
- Spiritual – on ajna chakra.
- Jala neti is ideally practised in the morning before asanas and pranayamas. However, if necessary, it may be performed at any time, except after meals.
Jala Neti Benefits
- Jala neti removes mucus and pollution from the nasal passages and sinuses, allowing air to flow without obstruction. It helps prevent and manage respiratory tract diseases. It helps to maintain good health of the ears, eyes and throat.
- Jala neti relieves muscular tension of the face and helps the practitioner to maintain a fresh and youthful appear ance. It has a calming and soothing influence on the brain. It alleviates anxiety, anger and depression, removes drowsiness and makes the head feel light and fresh.
- Jala neti stimulates the various nerve endings in the nose, improving the sense of smell and the overall health of the individual. A balance is brought about between the right and left nostrils and the corresponding left and right brain hemispheres, inducing a state of harmony and balance throughout the body and mind. Most importantly, however, neti helps to awaken ajna chakra.
Precautions while doing Jala Neti – Nasal Cleansing With Water
- The water should only pass through the nostrils. If any water enters the throat or mouth it causes no harm, but indicates that the position of the head needs to be adjusted. Make sure that the nose is properly dried after the practice, otherwise the nasal passages and sinuses may become irritated and manifest the symptoms of a cold.
- Only practise neti when necessary. Prolonged practice is not advisable unless instructed by a competent teacher.
- People who suffer from chronic bleeding in the nose should not do jala neti without the advice of a competent teacher. Those who-consistently have great difficulty passing water through the nose may have a structural blockage and should seek expert advice. People prone to or having ear infections should not do neti. During colds, flu or sinusitis, when the nose is totally blocked, neti should be avoided.
Jala neti may be practised either in a squatting position or standing. The latter is most suitable for doing neti over a sink while the former may be performed outside. After some practice, a full neti pot may be used for each nostril.
- Practitioners may suck water up the nostrils directly from a glass or bowl. This is the original form of the practice called vyutkrama kapalbhati, or usha paan, which literally means ‘water of the dawn’.
- Other liquids may also be used instead of water for the practice of neti. These include warm milk – dugdh neti, warm clarified butter or ghee – ghrita neti, and yoghurt. If oil is used instead of ghee, it must be natural and without added chemicals. The most powerful form of neti is practised with the midflow ofone’s own urine, and is known as amaroli neti. This form is particularly useful for alleviating inflammation of the nasal passages. Each liquid bestows a different benefit. None of these variations should be attempted unless instructed by a competent teacher.