Ayurveda believes that the nasal passageways are the entryway for prana, our breath & life force energy, to enter the body via a direct route to the brain. That’s why it is important to keep these vital passageways clean, healthy & clear via the use of neti & nasya in your daily routine. Nasal cleansing (neti) is a kriya (cleansing technique) that has been used to purify and cleanse the body by yogis in India for over 5000 years.
Nasal cleansing in Nepal
The word kriya comes from the word ‘kri’ which means ‘to do’, and implies a ritual that is done consciously and with effort. There are 6 main kriyas (rituals) used in yoga to cleanse the body and mind:
Neti – nasal cleanse
Dhauti – internal cleanse
Nauli – abdominal massage
Basti – colon cleanse
Kapalabhati – detox breath
Trataka – blinkless gazing or candle staring to flush the eyes
When these practices first arrived in the West they appeared to be a bit strange and shocking, but to yoga practitioners these are viable an even natural. Ultimately these kriyas open up the body’s pathways (nadis) and eliminate any physical, energetic or spiritual blockages, thereby allowing the body’s energy (prana) to fun freely. They assist in obtaining overall physical and mental harmony. The nose itself is an amazing organ. It cleanses the air before it enters our body and prevents dust and bacteria from entering the lungs, so it is very important to keep the nose clean and healthy.
Nasal cleansing is done in one of two ways: sutra (string) neti and jala (water) neti. String neti uses cotton that has been dipped in a beeswax sheet. It is more difficult and should be learned from a teacher.
Water neti is easy to do
Dissolve a teaspoon of non-iodized sea salt in a glass of lukewarm non-chlorinated water into a neti pot (the device used to cleanse the nasal passage; it resembles a small teapot.)
Tip your head back and place the spout of the neti pot into the right nostril.
Bend your head slightly forward and at the same time tilt the head to the left so that the water may flow out of the left nostril. Breathing takes place through the mouth. Pour half of the contents of the pot through the right nostril.
Complete the same on procedure on the opposite side.
To complete the purification of the nose, strongly expel the breath a further 3 to 5 times through each nostril while holding the other nostril shut (as when blowing your nose). It is important that the mouth remains open during this process to prevent water getting into the ears.
The benefits of neti:
Relief from headaches
Prevention from colds and blocked sinuses
Relief from hayfever and pollen allergies
Calming of the nervous system and relief from stress
The use of flor de sal makes the contact with the inner skin in the nose pathways less pungent and more agreable.