In the ancient text on the practice of Yoga, "Hatha Yoga Pradeepika", six cleansing techniques have been prescribed:
Neti: nasal cleansing,
Dhauti: cleansing of the digestive tract,
Nauli: abdominal massage,
Basti: colon cleansing,
Kapalbhati: purification and vitalization of the frontal lobes, and
Trataka: focused gazing.
What is Jala Neti?
Jala neti is an ancient Indian yoga technique, meaning literally “water cleansing”. Jala neti, though relatively unknown to western culture, is a common practice in parts of India and other areas in south east asia, performed as routinely as using a toothbrush. It is performed daily usually the first thing in the morning with other cleansing practices. Sometimes it is done more often such as at the end of the day if you work or live in a dusty or polluted environment. When dealing with problems of congestion it can be performed up to 4 times a day and has been shown to speed up the healing process for common colds. The Neti pot is filled with warm isotonic water, as I mentioned before. The spout is inserted into one nostril, the head is tilted, as shown and the warm salty water flows through one side of the nasal cavity to the other and out the other nostril.
For this technique, lukewarm isotonic salt water is poured
into one nostril, so that it leaves through the other. The
procedure is then repeated on the other side, and the nose
is dried by bending forward and by rapid breathing
How It WorksYou can use the neti pot to rinse away pollen, dust, germs, and other airborne contaminants; to remove excess mucus when you’re congested; to moisturize the nasal membrane after spending time in planes or in heated or air-conditioned rooms; and to open the nostrils as you prepare for meditation.
The anatomy is simple.Your nose is divided into two passages, and there’s a septum in between. You pour the water in one nostril, it goes around the back of the septum, and gravity helps it flow out the other side.
The nasal wash, she says, can also prevent or treat sinus infections. “Your sinuses drain into your nasal passages through little openings called meatuses. It’s when these openings get blocked that mucus accumulates and causes pressure and infection. The neti water washes over the meatuses, keeping them open and the mucus inside the sinus cavities flowing out—the water doesn’t actually go into your sinuses.”
How It Feels?
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- Neti removes all the dirt and bacteria filled mucus from within the nose.
- It helps to drain the sinus cavities. This in turn, will help to reprogram the body’s natural mechanisms against nasal infections such as hay fever, allergies, sinusitis and other upper respiratory complaints like sore throats and coughs, post nasal drip, inflammation of tonsils and adenoids.
- It is beneficial for illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis as it reduces the tendency for mouth breathing by freeing the nostrils of mucus.
- It has a cooling and soothing effect on the brain by drawing out excessive heat, and is therefore beneficial for headaches, migraine, epilepsy, temper tantrums, hysteria, depression and general mental tension.
- Neti is of great benefit for problems associated with the eyes. It helps flush the tear ducts, encouraging clearer vision and gives a sparkle to the eyes.
- It can be beneficial for certain types of ear disorders such as middle ear infections, glue ear, tinnitus.
- Neti improves sensitivity of the olfactory nerves, helping to restore lost sense of smell, and thereby benefits the relationship with taste and the digestive processes.
- It has subtle effects on the pineal and pituitary glands which control the hormonal system. This has a harmonising effect on emotional behaviour.
- Neti affects the psychic centre known as Ajna Chakra which helps in awakening higher states of meditation.
- It helps to stimulate better powers of visualisation and concentration and gives a feeling of lightness and clarity to the mind.
- Neti is excellent for those trying to give up smoking. Since it reduces the tendency for mouth breathing, Neti re-sensitises the nose to the actual pollution of ingesting smoke, thereby de-programming the brain of the physical and psychological addiction.