Jala Neti is a hatha yoga technique. The literal translation of the Sanskrit term means “water cleansing“. The newly established modern word for Jala Neti is nasal irrigation. It is practiced commonly in parts of India and other parts of South East Asia.
Nasal cleansing or neti kriya is one among the other shat karmas or the hatha yoga cleansing activities. In the yogic tradition, Jala Neti is performed every morning with the daily routine such as toothbrushing. It can be performed more often if you work or live in a polluted area or have health problems such as hay fever.
Jala Neti Pot
A Neti Pot is used for Jala Neti, and it is a very old cleansing technique of the Hatha Yoga tradition of India.
The Neti pot is filled with a body-warm saline solution of the same concentration as the body fluids. With this solution, the nasal cavities are rinsed so that the salty water goes in through one nostril and comes out to the other.
There are certain factors that need to be considered for jala neti to produce effective results. The water directed into the nostril should be at the correct pressure so that it can create the necessary effect. The level of water should also be of a certain quantity to irrigate the nasal passages sufficiently and also to create a correct flow pressure. While the neti pot is the perfect tool to bring about these results, it is best to learn as much as you can about the neti pot before attempting this.
When buying a neti pot ensure that: The neti pot is able to contain 500 ml of water. This amount is necessary to flush your sinuses sufficiently with the desired pressure. The end of the neti pots spout is tapered so that it plugs the inlet nostril.
Firstly, buy a type of salt without anything added. Industrial salt often has added chemical anti-caking agents. You can use normal sea salt, best without added iodine, or pharmaceutical salt which you can buy in health stores or pharmacies. However, the other kinds of salt you could use are as follows:
- Pickling salt
- Table salt
- Vegetable salt
- Rock salt
- Kosher salt
- Macrobiotic salt
The solution you use should have 0,9% of salt like the body fluids do. Some Neti Pots have a spoon to measure this exactly. If yours does not have such a spoon, you can start by taking 500 ml of water and add one teaspoon of salt, this is about 0,9%. Once you know how it should feel, you will find out how much you need for your own Neti pot. If it is easier for you, you can use the taste of the water to find the same concentration every time.
Take body-warm water for Jala Neti. Pour some drops on the inside of your wrist to see if the water has the right temperature, the hands are not sensitive enough. It is better to have the water a little bit too warm than too cold. Mix well so that the salt is diluted completely.
You will find all this out with growing experience, it differs from person to person. Some like a higher saline solution, some even do it without salt. The tissue of the nose is very sensitive and reacts immediately if something is not right. This shows you if everything is fine.If you take the described solution and temperature, there should be no uncomfortable feelings at all.
Jala Neti Procedure
- Fill the Neti Pot, with warm or salty water. The temperature of the water should be 38-40° C,
- Bend the head over a wash basin and breath naturally through your mouth. By opening your mouth wide enough, the passage from the nose to the mouth is closed. No water can get into your mouth or your throat. Don’t talk or laugh, no air should come into your nose now. There won’t be a feeling of having water in the airways if you pay attention to this.
- Now put the nose cone into your right nostril and seal it with some gentle moves so that no water is coming out of this nostril.
- Then gently bend your head forward and roll it to the left side. The left nostril should be the lowest point. Forehead and chin should be about the same level.
- You need to experiment with the posture of your head. Once the water is coming out of your left nostril, hold your head and only move the Neti pot to keep the water pouring in.
- You should start with half a pot per side. For this wait about 20 seconds and remove the nose cone out of your right nostril.If you practised with half a pot fir some time, you can use one pot per side.
- Bring your head to the middle and let all the water flow out. Blow gently with both nostrils. You should not close one nostril now and you should not blow hard. This can bring the water up to you ears where it cannot dry correctly.
- Repeat the procedure with the left nostril, doing everything in the opposite direction.
- When you finished let all the water flow out again and gently blow the water out of both nostrils. You can roll your head in every direction and let it hang and move it then to get all the water out. Drying up the nose is very important and should not be neglected!. You can also blow out all remaining water from both nostrils using the technique of Kapala Bhati Pranayama. To complete the purification of the nose, strongly expel the breath further 3-5 time 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.
- If you have a mucus blockage you can go back and forth for sometimes. Make sure that the water which has entered the nose does not flow back in the Neti pot. Therefore put the cone in your nose, pour some water in, remove the pot and let it flow out again.
- If you have problems doing this alone, you can ask people who practise yoga or give yoga classes to show you. Most yoga practitioners will know this technique.
- If you try it for some time and the water does not come out of the other nostril, you should ask a doctor for advice. There could be some type of anatomical blockage.
It is recommended that Neti is performed daily.
Jala Neti Benefits
Has a positive influence on all sense organs in the head. Strengthens vision and relieves tired eyes (e.g. after working long hours at the computer). Neti can also be helpful in relieving headaches. Memory and concentration are improved. It is also beneficial for problems associated with the nasal and sinus cavities. Neti has a preventative effect against head colds and sinusitis. With regular use, Neti can also cure or at least ease hay fever and pollen allergies.
It is beneficial for illnesses like bronchitis and asthma as it reduces the tendency to breathe from the mouth by cleaning the mucus from the nostril.
It is effective for certain kinds of ear disorders like tinnitus, glue ear, and middle ear infections.
Neti pots for sinus infections can also be used effectively as a natural remedy.
The olfactory’s nerves sensitivity is improved, therefore restoring a sense of smell that was lost.
It has a soothing and cooling effect on the brain by eliminating excess heat, and it is therefore an effective remedy for depression, hysteria, temper tantrums, epilepsy, migraines, and headaches.
It helps bring about better concentration and mental clarity.
It helps to get rid of all the harmful bacteria in the nasal cavity.
Caution: Do not practice if you have a severe cold or are suffering from an earache.