Author: Randeep Singh / go to all Techniques of Yoga articles
Thread and Cleanse the Nasal passage with Sutra Neti
What is Sutra neti?
Sutra here means a soft cotton thread,
and neti is a process of cleaning and
purifying the nasal passages.
Unlike Jalneti where water is used
to cleanse the nostrils,
in sutra neti a waxed soft cotton thread
is used for nasal cleansing.
Traditionally, a cotton thread was specially prepared
as neti sutra by dipping it in melted beeswax for making it stiff enough to be able to move through the narrow nasal passage and come out of the mouth unhindered. Several strands of the thread are twisted together before dipping it in the beeswax.
The ideal thickness of the neti sutra was around 4 mm, and it was supposed to be 36 to 45 cms in length.
Today, the availability of a rubber catheter has done away with the waxing process as a rubber catheter lubricated with saliva or ghee can easily perform the same functions as the waxed neti cotton thread. Thus, today we can also call sutra neti procedure as rubber neti. Catheter sizes 4, 5, or 6 can be successfully used as neti sutra for most of the individuals though its size depends on the individual nasal passage.
One end of the sutra ( Rubber or cotton) needs to be inserted into one of the nostrils and pulled out from the mouth, both the ends are held with the hands and slow, light to & fro movement is created by alternately pulling and releasing each end of the sutra. This movement of the thread or catheter creates enough friction against the wall of the nasal passage to be able to dislodge any nasal congestion causing material, like booger, off it, this clears the nose of any blockages in the process.
Once the nose is clear and purified with this procedure breathing becomes easy, issues related to sinuses, headaches, and other nostril related issues are healed. Since the inner lining of the nostrils is very sensitive to external irritation, it can cause tears to appear in the eyes, most of the practitioners are scared of inserting a foreign object into them. Moreover, not everyone is aware and comfortable with the anatomical fact that a thread can be inserted into the nose and pulled out from the mouth. In fact, its a very simple process, The fear factor is only in the mind without any concrete base.
Sutra Neti Steps ( Rubber Neti)
- Slightly wet the neti sutra, cotton thread, or the catheter by dipping it into a pot of saline water
- Get into any comfortable body position; sitting or standing, this neti can also be done in a squatting position and mentally relax the whole body
- Tilt the head slightly back, and insert the narrow end of the neti sutra into any of the nostrils ( usually the nostril which is free of any obstructions is inserted first) by carefully avoiding its contact with the outer half of the inner nose to avoid any irritation
- Push the thread, catheter straight in while twisting it slightly, keep the head tilted back, make sure the tip of the sutra remains pointed downwards while it is pushed inside the nostril, the neti sutra should never be inserted with its end pointed upward
- As the thread reaches the back of the throat it will bend down with the throat, keep inserting it further down, now insert two fingers ( middle and index preferably) into the mouth and grab the thread in the throat and gently pull it out through the mouth, the ends of the thread, catheter must remain a few inches out of the nose as well as the mouth
- Hold both the ends of the neti sutra firmly with both hands and move it simultaneously in and out of the mouth and the nose using the motions of the hand not more than 8 – 10 times in one session, the eyes may water a little which is normal
- Breathing must be done through the mouth while doing this cleansing procedure
- Remove the thread, catheter by pulling it out of the nose, repeat with the other nostril
- Do not do anything after doing sutra neti, like lying down, for at least the next 30 minutes
- Do not combine it with any other kriya, in case planning to do jalneti the same day do it before sutra neti
- Its better to master jalneti before attempting sutra neti
- Do not play with the neti sutra, catheter, only use it for doing sutra neti after which clean it properly before storing it at a clean place
- Never use force to push the thread, catheter into the nasal passage to avoid injuring the sensitive inner lining of the nostrils, owing to the involvement of sensitive inner nostrils and throat the beginners must attempt sutra neti only under a competent teacher
- Sutra neti is best done on an empty stomach, keep a gap of some 4 hours after the meals before doing it
- The neti sutra used must be properly cleaned and disinfected before use to avoid any nasal infections later on
- Stiffen the end of the sutra which will be inserted into the nostril by twisting it strands between the fingers for easy insertion
- Perform sutra neti before doing asanas and pranayamas as open nasal passages will benefit both these processes, all standing and sitting asanas can be done immediately after doing sutra neti, only forward bending asanas must be done after a gap of around 15-20 minutes after doing it
- Avoid tilting of the head backward while doing Jalneti
- In case the deviation fo the septum present is severe and is blocking the movement of the neti sutra through it do not force it in, keep trying gently till it is able to pass through
- Cotton threat as neti sutra is more beneficial than the catheter in practicing sutra neti
Sutra Neti how often When to do?
- It should be done once a week or at the most twice a week for both nasals
- With the catheter, the practice of sutra neti will take around 5 minutes, whereas with the thread it takes around 10 minutes
- It’s better done first thing in the morning before one begins one’s day
Contraindications – When no to do Rubber neti
- In case of chronic bleeding in the nose
- Presence of any issues of the ear canal
- Avoid sutra neti in case cataract or any retinal issues in the eye are present
- Presence of any infection in the sinuses
- Presence of nasal ulcers
- Though it benefits the conditions of nasal polyps, and severe malformation of the nasal septum one must consult a doctor before attempting sutra neti in case these conditions are present
Advantages – Rubber neti Yoga Benefits
- It opens the nasal passage for improved breathing and is the best Yoga kriya for nasal cleansing or for removing nasal congestion
- It is a very effective remedy for all nose related issues like a sinus infection, blockages in the nasal passage, catarrh etc.
- It is good for throat related issues like tonsilitis, It is always included in the yoga procedures for the benefit of throat
- If practiced over a period of time it strengthens the lining of the nasal passage and the sinus glands which can heal rhinitis, certain allergies, and some types of asthma
- It helps stimulate the nerves and muscles of the eyes imparting strength to them and benefits the eyesight, it also enhances the working of the tear glands and ducts, It is an important technique of Yoga for eyes health
- Rubber net is good for everything above the shoulders; ears ( improves hearing, shoulders, thyroid etc. Yoga for ear’s health is incomplete without sutra neti
- It enhances the sense of smell by strengthening the brain cells in the corresponding brain region, it helps rejuvenate the cells of the entire brain
- This cleansing technique strengthens the immune system of the body
- It improves blood circulation in the related region
- It balances the flow of air in both the nostrils
- It activates the Ajna Chakra located between the eyebrows
- It helps keep nasal infections like coughs and colds away by correcting the deviated septum condition ( bone outgrowth) which causes these infections
- It benefits by improving the concentration ability of the mind
- Sutra neti helps by making one more aware of the working of one’s body by creating self-awareness
- It generates a sense of achievement in the mind and thus comes under aisvarya bhava from among the four bhavas in yoga
- Rubber neti has been found to remedy different forms of headache in some cases, It is used with other techniques of yoga for relieving headache with satisfactory results
- Regular practice of sutra neti can heal one of insomnia and make one more alert, and awake during the day time
- Practice sutra neti for curing premature greying of hair
- It is a potent memory booster as well
How does Sutra Neti Work?
The friction – gharshana- which the inner lining of the nasal passage receives while practicing sutra neti irritates the mucosa of this lining. Thus irritated mucosa dislodges any dust, dirt which has reached there along with the inhaled air, or deposits of nasal secretions and booger collected therein, which keeps the air passages clean. The same friction from the to and fro movement of neti sutra exercises the tissues of the inner lining of the nose and makes it strong over the period of time. Similarly, the nerve endings and blood vessels under this lining remain stimulated for better function.
Advanced Practice of Sutra Neti
The advanced practice of this technique begins from the stage of the basic technique, as explained above, where the two ends of the neti sutra are left coming rout of one nostril and the mouth respectively. Gently insert the end of neti sutra which is coming out of a nostril into the other nostril and as it bends down the throat pull it out of the mouth with the help of the middle and the index finger.
Now both the ends of the sutra stay emerged out of the mouth. Now loosen the hard twisted ends of the thread to separate its individual strands. Insert push the loose strands of the two ends of the neti sutra into each other to merge them together and again twist the joint to add strength to it. now the entire thread has become a closed circular loop. For this advance practice only the cotton thread as prepared in wax can be used as it is not possible to form a joint of the free ends of the rubber catheter. In case the joint – where two ends are merged together- appears thick cut off some of the strands so that it can easily pass through the nasal passages.
Now slowly slide the thread through the nostrils for the joint to move inside the mouth and emerge out of one of the nostrils till it reaches in between the entrances of the two nostrils. Now disconnect the joint, the neti sutra now remains inserted in one nostril and emerged from the other nostril, it is no longer passing through the mouth. Hold both the free ends with the fingers of the respective hands and make to and fro sliding motions with it, lightly scrubbing then insides of both the nostrils. Pull the sutra from one end and remove it from the nose to end the practice. In case any discomfort is felt while doing so discontinue the practice immediately.