Nowadays, environmental and lifestyle changes impact our nasal and upper respiratory health to a large extent. Some reports have suggested that the rapid urbanization of the Asia-Pacific region is the predominant cause of various upper and lower respiratory diseases and conditions.
After the latest COVID-19 pandemic crisis, many people experience lower immunity and various respiratory ailments, which make people more prone to respiratory diseases.
Many yoga practitioners encourage people to incorporate various yoga asanas and procedures to build immunity and lower their chances of contracting respiratory issues. One such procedure that can immediately relieve symptoms of respiratory congestion is Neti Kriya. We have heard neti kriya, Jal neti, and sutra neti kriya from our elders to improve sinusitis and other upper respiratory issues.
Let’s understand what Neti kriya is and the importance of neti kriya in yoga.
What is Neti kriya?
Neti kriya is one of the six yogic purification kriyas (popular as shatkarma). It is a yogic nasal cleansing exercise and is solemnly used for nasal sinus cleansing and purifying the nasal passages. The shatkarma (six yogic cleansing techniques) has a powerful impact on our immunity.
By performing Neti kriya, you can keep your body clean and healthy with improved immunity. Jal neti and Sutra neti boost health by removing toxins and obstructions that block our prana flow.
Anyone can practice neti kriya, including children and elderlies. According to many yoga practitioners, one can reach higher levels of harmony between body and mind by practicing shatkarmas daily.
According to the ancient Hindu yoga tradition, neti kriya activates the Ajna (third-eye) chakra and removes its blockage so that it functions efficiently. Ajna chakra creates a balance between mind and body, improves intuition, eliminates toxins, and brings out the best of us. Similarly to neti kriya practice, Yoga Nidra also balances the interlink between mind and body.
What are the types of Neti kriya?
Neti kriya is the most beneficial cleansing procedure of the nasal passage and sinuses. It is of the following types:
- Jal Neti kriya
- Sutra Neti kriya
- Dugdha (milk) Neti kriya
- Ghrita (ghee) Neti kriya
Let us understand these neti kriyas.
What is Jal Neti kriya?
Jal or Jala neti practice needs a neti pot filled with warm, saline water. In Jal Neti kriya, the practitioners have to tilt their heads to the side, so that water can seamlessly pass through the nose. One must breathe through the mouth throughout the entire practice.
To gain the most benefit from Jal Neti practice, you should always work with an experienced practitioner.
Many yoga practitioners suggest daily practicing Jal neti for sinus issues, colds, headaches, epistaxis or nosebleeds, eye strains, and eye infections. One should practice Jala neti weekly once or twice if one has no underlying medical condition.
What is Sutra Neti kriya?
As the name suggests, Sutra means thread. Sutra neti practice consists of passing this thread through the nose. When inserting this thread or catheter straight into the left nostril, you should sit on your heels and tilt your head slightly back. One should push this Sutra gently and not forcefully to the back of the throat until it slowly passes down into the throat. Once the thread reaches the back of the throat, you should pull it out through the mouth, leaving a few inches of this thread outside from the nostril. Gently pull this Sutra backward and forward around 30-50 times to cleanse the nasal passage. The back-and-forth movement of this thread will remove mucus or blocks and fragments on the nasal mucous lining.
Only cotton thread coated with beeswax or soft rubber catheters is suitable for this type of neti kriya.
Many yoga practitioners believe that sutra neti is more effective than Jal neti in nasal cleaning. By daily practicing sutra neti, you can improve breathing and clear obstructions that may be a prime cause of upper respiratory ailments, such as colds, sinusitis, headaches, and discomfort in the head and neck.
What is Dugdha (milk) Neti kriya?
Dugdha (milk) Neti kriya is similar to Jala neti practice. It uses a neti pot filled with warm milk to cleanse the nasal passage.
The yoga professionals advise Dugdha Neti after Jala or sutra neti, as the latter can cause nasal passage dryness. Milk moisturizes the dry nasal lining.
What is Ghrita (ghee) Neti kriya?
Ghrita (ghee) Neti kriya comprises warm ghee or cold-pressed virgin oil to irrigate the nasal passage and tear ducts. The daily practice of Ghrita Neti kriya prevents upper respiratory diseases and improves nervous connections. It also restores skin texture.
When to perform neti kriya?
According to many yoga practitioners, you should practice yogic cleansing regularly, as the first act in the morning, after completing your morning rituals and brushing your teeth.
Jal Neti and Sutra neti have physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. They activate our Ajna (third-eye) chakra and improve our mind and body balances.
What are the benefits of Neti kriya?
Neti kriya is one of the most used ancient yoga practices. In recent years this practice has been gaining popularity because of its enormous health benefits. The following are some research-based benefits of this yogic practice:
- Cleanse and irrigates the sinus and nasal passage:
This shatkarma purification technique thoroughly cleanses the nasal sinuses and the nasal lining. It removes dirt, pollens, mucus, and allergens from the nasal passageway. It also hydrates and moisturizes the sinus and nasal lining.
- Improves upper respiratory health:
According to various research, neti kriya is effective in preventing as well as managing upper respiratory issues such as
- seasonal allergies
The yogic practitioners recommend Jal neti for sinus problems.
- Better prana-flow:
Purification and activation of the body chakra improve our vital energy flow. Breathing is the most subtle form of yoga to enhance prana or vital energy. It regulates all our voluntary and involuntary functions, such as blood circulation, growth and development, digestion, consciousness, emotions, and overall health and well-being.
- Eases breathing:
By regularly performing a neti kriya, you will be able to eliminate toxins, allergens, and blockages in your sinuses and nasal passageways, resulting in better breathing. More efficient breathing can improve our vital energy, making us more efficient.
- Improves headaches and other nervous ailments:
Neti kriya is very effective in relieving and managing headaches and migraines. Various yoga experts stated that the neti kriya is effective for nerve-related conditions such as Bell’s palsy, epilepsy, and facial muscle tension. However, one should practice neti kriya after medical evaluation for these conditions.
- Improvement in eyes, throat, and ears issues:
Jala neti is famous for irrigating sinus and tear glands and ducts. Therefore, daily practicing neti kriya can prevent various sinus and glandular illnesses, manage symptoms, and reduce the severity of the diseases. Neti kriya is also beneficial in various diseases and disorders of eyes, ears, and throats, such as allergic rhinitis, sore throats, tonsillitis, seasonal allergies, and earache.
- Uplifts emotional and psychological health:
Pranayama and yoga are famous for increasing mental awareness and reducing anxiety, stress, and depression. Similarly, the shatkarma purification technique, neti kriya, improves our body and brain connection and reduces stress and anxiety.
- Enhances awareness:
A regular neti kriya practice stimulates the pituitary gland and balances the autonomic nervous system, which helps promote mental clarity and heightened consciousness.
Neti kriya is one of the shatkarma techniques. Many best hospitals in India encourage people to practice neti kriya to improve immunity, health, and overall well-being.
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika and various classic yoga manuscripts describe the neti kriya as one of the shatkarma purification techniques. When practiced daily, neti kriya promotes vital energy, enhances awareness and mental clarity, and improves emotional, psychological, and physical well-being. Daily neti kriya practice may prevent various illnesses and reduce the duration of symptoms. So, you should include neti kriya in the yoga session and notice the changes.