Jala Neti (Nasal Irrigation), a type of Neti, is one of the six body cleansing techniques (Shatkarma) laid down by the Yogis in the Hatha Yoga Pradeepika.
Other five techniques are Dhauti, Neti, Basti, Trataka, Nauli, and Kapalbhati. Where each Shatkarma is performed to clean a particular part/parts in our body, Jala Neti focuses on Nostrils/ Nasal Passage and areas related to Nasal cavity.
Besides draining out all the impurities clogging your nasal passage, this Yogic activity is helpful for clairvoyance and effective breathing for pranayama practice. Practicing this Shatkriya is useful for you if you reside in a place affected by Air Pollution or is congested.
Things You Need for Jala Neti
Before you begin the Neti process, the following things are essential to have:
1. Lukewarm Water
Water is the medium through which cleansing takes place in Neti. Use pure drinking or distilled water for neti to ensure the proper cleansing and avoid any impurity accumulation of water in the nasal cavity.
Further, this water is warmed up at the room temperature because nasal muscles absorbance for warm water is usually less than cold water. In this way, no water gets accumulated in the nasal passages.
Check the suitability of water temperature for neti by pouring a little drop on your hand. In this way, you will get an idea of whether the water temperature is suitable to pour into the nose.
Ideally, water should have the temperature equal as your tears have.
Using salt in neti water further makes the whole solution (saline water) less absorbent for nasal cavity muscles. Ideally, salt used for jala neti is finer ‘sea salt’ as it has no other minerals and quickly dissolves in the water.
If ‘sea salt’ no available, one can use simple cocking salt for Jala neti as it’s originally occupied from the sea salt.
The solution needs to be made isotonic i.e. similar to the tonicity of human blood.
To make your own saline mixture for Jala neti at home,
- Take 1 pint (16 ounces or around 500 ml) of lukewarm water
- Generally, a solution consists of salinity 1 teaspoon/500 ml is considered ideal for the nose (you can go with 1/2 or even 1/4 teaspoon of salt)
- Mix salt properly in water and then pour it into the neti pot.
3. Neti pot
Neti pot is an instrument similar to a teapot, usually small with a long spout on one side. It’s designed in such a way that it fits easily in the nostrils without any obstructions.
Once the saline solution is mixed well, it’s poured into the neti pot to follow jala neti procedure. Usually, neti pot comes with a capacity of 500 ml (around 1 pint), so this amount of water is enough to clear nasal passages.
3 Stages of Jala Neti
The practice of Jala Neti comprises 3 stages according to the practitioner level. These 3 stages of Jala Neti are following.
It’s the most practiced and beginner stage of Jala neti. In this, Water flows from one nostril to the other.
It’s also called Vyutkarma Kapalbhati. In this stage of Jala Neti, Water takes in through one nostril and spat out from the mouth.
It’s also called sheetkarma Kapalbhati. In this stage of Jala Neti, Water is taken in through the mouth and expelled out through the nose.
Jala Neti Stage 1: Simple Jala Neti
Jala Neti should practice in the following phases and steps prescribed below.
- In the whole process of using the neti pot, open your mouth to breath gently through it. Avoid nasal breathing throughout the whole process of using the neti pot.
- If you are not doing jala neti on the sink, Use some container at ground level to ‘not spread’ the water draining out of the nose.
Phase 1 – Use of the Neti Pot
- Take a sterile neti pot and fill it with lukewarm water.
- Now bend forward from the waist and tilt your head at 45-degree angle.
- Insert the pot spout into upper nostril properly. To prevent any leakage maintain the seal of spout inside the nostril carefully
Neti pot spout should not touch your septum.
- Tip the neti pot a little until water freely starts flowing through your nose.
- Maintain neti pot elevation until the complete solution flows out from one nostril to another.
- Once complete neti pot solution is finished, remove it gently from nostrils and bring your head up.
- To remove any water droplets from nasal passages, blow out gently through your nostrils.
- After blowing, repeat the same steps with the second nostril.
If you are still left with mucus and blocked nose, you can repeat the whole procedure.
Phase 2 – Drying of Nostrils
After draining the water from both nostrils, the proper drying of the nose is necessary to prevent cold or infection in the sinus or Eustachian tubes of the ear.
- Stand upright and bend forwards from the waist
- Keep your head upside down with the nose pointing towards the floor, In this way, any leftover water is drained from the nose
- Point the nose towards the knees.
- For about 10 times, inhale from the mouth and exhale from the nose in each position.
- The water residues may run down.
- Stand up and breath rapidly through the nostrils for about 10 consecutive breathes. Sniff in and out.
- Focus on the exhalation.
- Use one finger to close off the right nostril and breathe through the left and vice versa.
- Breathe through both the nostrils for 10 times.
Repeat until the nose gets properly dried.
Jala Neti Stage 2: Vyutkarma Kapalbhati
This is an advanced stage of Simple Jala Neti which may require proper guidance from a teacher for the beginners.
It is known as “Sinus Bellowing” or “Vyutkarma Kapalbhati” and works more effectively on the posterior sinuses, whereas simple Jala Neti doesn’t provide many effects.
How to Perform Vyutkarma Kapalbhati
1. Allow the free flow of water from one nostril to the other (Like simple Jala Neti).
2. While the flow of water through the nostrils, gently sniff it backward.
3. Spat that water out from the mouth.
4. Avoid swallowing any water.
In another part of this phase, separate inhalation of water from each of the nostrils is done followed by spatting from the mouth. And then the nose is allowed to get dried.
Jala Neti Stage 3: Sheetkarma Kapalbhati
The Sheetkarma Kapalbhati is the third phase and a more advanced level of simple Jala Neti. It is difficult and can be uncomfortable to perform in the beginning.
In this, water is taken from the mouth and blown out through the nose. It is more beneficial and effective.
Benefits of Jala Neti
- Jala neti clear all the impurities and bacteria that obstruct your nasal passage. Hence, it eliminates any nose related allergies.
- Through the simple draining procedure, you also enhance your sense of smell and restore the mucous membrane to its pure state.
- The chances of the multiplicity of Common cold virus (also called Rhinovirus) are reduced since the lukewarm water is used to treat the nasal passage.
- All the excessive mucus gets drained out of the nostrils, and sinuses hence, creating a smooth route for air to flow through the breathing route.
- The Nasal Irrigation directly relieves from Cough, cold, influenza, Asthma, and bronchitis.
- This one of the six Shatkriyas also helps clear the tear duct to enhance a fairly sharp vision.
- This procedure keeps your ears away from infections (tinnitus) and related irregularities caused by external agents.
- If your decision to give up smoking has become an everyday habit, try Jala Neti this time. It’s an effective way to get rid of smoking dependency.
- By reducing your tendency to breathe through the mouth, you rejuvenate the nose’s senses against the inhaled smoke, thereby resetting the encouraging your brain against physical and psychological addiction.
- Since your mind and senses become balanced through Jala neti, you can achieve an enhanced state of meditation after practicing jala neti.
Cautions Needed for Jala Neti
1. If water runs onto the face
There can be some faults in the pot or its positioning which can cause water running onto the face. Performing steps slowly and with cautious is a way to prevent water this problem.
Maintain the right angle between the pot and the head is also helpful in preventing it.
2. If water goes to the back of the throat
It often occurs due to nervousness and hurry. To avoid this, perform the steps slowly, gently with a proper tilt of the head. Take care of the position of the pot.
3. Avoid blockage of water
If water doesn’t flow out, check the end of the nose cone for any obstacles & aligns it straight. Now tilt the neti pot again and avoid the leakage.
4. Nasal irritation
Pollutants present in the water and the contaminated pot cause stinging in the nose. Rinse the pot properly.
To prevent excessive nasal irritation, use pure water and the appropriate proportion of the salt.
5. Popping in the ears
Release of pressure from the Eustachian tube during the flow of water inside the nostrils can lead to discomfort in the ears. There is no need to be frightened. It subsides soon.
The fear of anxiety about Jala neti can lead to a headache. It goes as one becomes comfortable in the practice.
7. Drying the Nasal Passages
Once done performing this Kriya, maintain hygiene through drying the nose properly. The remains of water must be cleaned deeply as it might lead to infections.