Sutra Neti, String Neti, String Nasal Cleaning, Nasal Cleaning
Neti is one of the six Kriyas, the ‘Shatakarma’. There are four different ways of doing Neti: Jala Neti, Dugdha Neti, Ghrit Neti and Sutra Neti.
Sutra means string and that is usually a string made of soft cotton. As it is however not easy to find a soft string suitable for this Kriya, it is nowadays often replaced by a thin catheter.
How to perform Sutra Neti
If you wish to do Sutra Neti, you should be practiced in Jala Neti, the practice of Neti with water, otherwise it will be difficult for you to do the practice with a string or catheter.
Take a cotton string, about 12 to 18 inches long, which you have boiled in water to kill off any bacteria. When it is cool, you can apply warm melted Ghee to the string. Mustard oil can also be used but the scriptures mention Ghee as the best lubricant recommended by Ayurvedic science.
Another opinion about the cotton string is that one should use bee wax to harden it a bit in order to let it go through more easily. This can however make the string too hard, too, so if you are worried about it, maybe a catheter would be easiest for you.
Before starting, it is wise to perform two rounds of Dirgha Pranayama and Nadi Shodhana Pranayama in order to prepare your nose for this practice and to relax your body and mind.
Sit in Utkatasana or simply squat down. Lean forward, take the string and start inserting one end slowly into that nostril which is the active one. When you go deeper, you will notice it touching the nasal walls, then it reaches the nasal cavity. It is like a deep cave, broad in front and narrow in the back.
If you know this, you can have a better feeling of where the string will go on now. It goes through the nasal cavity and then down the throat. From there it should come out itself into the mouth. If not, put the index and middle finger of your second hand into your mouth, grab the string and pull the second end out without leaving the other side.
Now you can give a gently massage by moving the string front and back a bit. After two to six movements you can pull the string out through your throat.
Repeat the same practice from your other nostril.
When you are done with both sides, sniff out forcefully. Afterwards you should give your system rest by lying in Balasana for a minute and then in Shavasana for another minute until the body is fully relaxed.
Benefits of Sutra Neti
Obviously you get all the cleansing benefits of Jala Neti if you perform Neti with a string. Additionally you stimulate the nasal cavity, walls and glands which cannot be done with water.
The string opens the nasal cavity completely so that breathing gets easier. The nerves in that area are stimulated.
Performing Sutra Neti is very good against sinusitis and other issues with nose, eyes, ears and generally with breathing.
Sutra Neti is also a good exercise in preparation for performing Khechari Mudra.
There should not be pain in any condition. If you are experiencing pain it mean something is going wrong. Maybe you are forcing it too hard or doing it too fast or the catheter is not soft enough and sharp on the edges. In this case do not continue taking the string or catheter out but take a break and start again later.
Try not to force it against the nasal wall but insert it slowly. If you are still experiencing the pain in practice then you must consult your yoga teacher or Doctor and get your nose checked as this should not be happening.
Tips and Help
Don’t rush or be in a hurry. Take your time. Some people can do this Kriya easily and for others it takes months of practice. So don’t worry if it doesn’t work straight away but try again.
It may happen that you feel like sneezing during this practice, that you feel ticklish in the back of nose and mouth or that you even feel nauseous. That is a normal reaction of the body to this unusual experience. It will get better, keep on trying!
Some people say you should take the string out from the nose, not from the mouth, as this will give another experience to your nasal cavity. You can do that as well, but especially in the beginning this will be difficult. You can practice it in both ways and remain with whatever feels better for you.