Jal Neti – Technique & Benefits

Jal neti (nasal cleaning with water) is one of the six purifying techniques (shatkarmas) in the “Hatha Yoga Pradipika.” The term is Sanskrit and translates literally to “water cleansing.”Jal neti is an ancient practice performed by yogis to cleanse their nasal passages.Performing jala neti involves using a neti pot filled with room temperature saline water to pour through the nasal passages.

It is a small pot with a small spout which fits the nostril perfectly. It almost looks like a small teapot. Neti pots are mainly made of copper, brass, ceramic, stainless or  plastic, etc. however, the most popular ones are the stainless steel ones as they are very sturdy, long-lasting and easier to maintain.
Salt is a key component when performing jala neti. It is suggested to use only pure salt for this practice as table salt contains iodine and other additives.

The water should be pure, at body temperature and thoroughly mixed with salt in proportion of one teaspoon 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 minimising any irritation to the mucous membrane. A painful or burning sensation is an indication of too little or too much salt in the water.

1. Washing the nostrils:

– Stand over a sink and gently insert the nozzle of the neti pot into the right nostril.
– Breathe through the mouth
– Tilting the head to the left, slowly allow the saline water into the right nostril and through the nasal passages. The water will come out through the left nostril and flow into the sink. Once half the saline water is used, centre the head and let the water run out of the nose.
– Remove any mucus from the nose by blowing gently.
– Repeat with the opposite nostril.
– After completing this process, the nostrils must be thoroughly dried.

2. Drying the nostrils

– 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. Perform once for each nostril.

– Repeat the same practice with your trunk in a horizontal position, tilting the head to the right when closing the right nostril. And do the opposite for the left nostril.

– Stand erect. 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 for each nostril and then both nostrils together.

Perform it in the morning before asanas and pranayamas, or any other time, except after meals.

Practicing neti is especially beneficial for clearing the nasal passages of dust and pollen, as well as, infected and dirty mucous. Many allergens can be washed away with a neti pot. Flushing the nasal passages on a regular basis can help reduce sinusitis, soothe dry nasal passages and enhance the practice of pranayama and other breathing exercises.

Additional benefits include:

• Clears excess mucus from the nasal passages
• Helps to maintain good health of the ears, eyes and throat
• Expels harmful bacteria in the sinuses
• Relieves breathing disorders
• Stimulates nerve endings in the nose, improving the sense of smell
• Promotes mental clarity and focus
• Alleviates anxiety, anger and depression
• Removes drowsiness and eliminates excess heat in the head

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