As yoga is the science comprising body, mind, and soul, It’s very important to strengthen the first and foremost element of it i.e. Body.
To strengthen the foundation of yoga, the body needs to be purified by external and internal agencies and for this purification, there are 6 techniques (Dhauti, Neti, Nauli, Basti, Kapalbhati, Trataka) called Shatkarma.
What is Sutra Neti?
Sutra is a Sanskrit term which literally translates into ‘Thread‘ and Neti is used here for ‘Nasal Cleaning‘
Sutra neti, a type of neti, is one of Shatkarma which uses a cotton thread or rubber catheter to clean the nasal passages. It’s also called Thread Neti. Anciently this technique was described in Hatha Yoga Pradipika & Gheranda Samhita in a detailed manner.
In sutra neti, A cotton thread or a rubber catheter is inserted into the nostril in a way that it comes out of the mouth. In this way, mucus and debris are removed and hence nasal passages opened to their fullest capacity. It is also proved to be beneficial in nasal polyps.
Thread used in Sutra Neti
Either you can use cotton thread having 4mm width and around 36 cm long (long enough to pass down the nose and reach out through the mouth) or a thin rubber catheter.
For beginners using a thin rubber catheter is preferred as it’s more lubricated as compare to a cotton thread, so it easily slides through nasal passages.
While using cotton thread for Sutra neti, make sure to lubricate it using beeswax (or any other agent) otherwise it can produce a sense of nausea.
Anatomy of the Nasal Cavity
Beginners performing sutra neti should have clear knowledge about the anatomy of the nasal cavity and the structures from where the thread is passed.[alert-note] The nasal cavity resembles a long cave. The roof is narrow and the floor is wide. There lies a valve near the root of the nose into the upper back of the throat. [/alert-note]
It is important to keep the thread pointed toward the back of the throat. Move it downward and inward. It should easily slide down inside the back opening of the nose.
The entire procedure should be completely pain-free. If pain is experienced, the method needs to be checked and string should be inserted again and in proper direction and speed.
How To Perform Sutra Neti
Follow the following steps to perform.
Take a cord made up of thread dipped in beeswax or in place of thread, you can take a catheter made up of rubber. Rinse the cord in warm water or some specialized oils or medications and then dry it properly.
Insert thread into one of the nostrils slowly and gently. Keep the cord pointed towards the back of the throat.
Take your hand into the mouth and grab cord at the back of the throat using the index and middle fingers.
Reach to the thread at the back of the throat and Pull it out from the mouth slowly and gently.
Hold both ends of string using both hands and move it to and fro twice or thrice.
Repeat the same steps with another nostril.
Once this practice is mastered, it can be performed by passing the cord from one nostril to another.
Frequency and time of practice:
Best time to practice Sutra neti is the early morning, before breakfast, when naturally nasal passages opened at their fullest capacity. Also, it’s not a practice of daily routine, once in a week is considered good to practice sutra neti.
Benefits of Sutra Neti
These are some instant and long-term benefits of sutra neti you will feel when practicing it with proper instructions from an expert.
1. Lightness in breathing
Practicing sutra neti after jal neti aids in clearing excessive mucus from the heavy nostrils. Also, thread opens the blocked mucus membrane which further makes you feel very light in breathing.
2. Improves Vision
Many subtle nerves of eyes connected with frontal and back of the nose area, which got a stimulation when thread passes through it. This stimulation increases the blood flow through these nerves which improves the overall vision of a person.
3. ENT care
Eyes, nose, and ears (ENT) are internally connected to each other. Blockage in anyone can cause disturbances in the other two organs too.
Consistent practice of sutra neti is the easiest way to care ENT (eyes, nose, and throat) problems. Whether your vocal cords are affected, nasal congestion or feeling irritation in the ears, jal and sutra neti is the natural remedy for all.
4. Alleviate Inflammation and excessive mucus
Mucus stuck in blocked sinus cavities, which further becomes a cause for inflammation, expelled out by practicing sutra neti. Sometimes, mucus inside the nose also becomes dried, it causes blockage in the nose.
When massage takes place in sutra neti, it opens these blockages of mucus and relieves from blocked nose and inflammation.
5. Deviated nasal septum reduced
Some people have deviated septum which arises many respiration related problems. Often an ENT specialist suggests surgery in this case.
Sutra neti is a natural remedy for a deviated septum. However, it’s a long-term process but with the time you will realize the decrease in obstruction cause of deviated septum.
Thread used in sutra neti works as a stimulator for nerves and membranes in the nose which relieves from the symptoms of cough, cold and headache symptoms.
Also, the dormant cells in the frontal brain area activated which enhances hair growth, memory and reduce insomniac.
While preparing for sutra neti practice, ensure the following cautions to get the maximum benefits out of it.
1. Don’t force thread into nose
There could be some reasons (physical or mechanical) that sutra (thread) may not pass through nasal passages easily. In this case, don’t intentionally push thread into nostrils because the thread can penetrate soft nasal tissues and it may cause bleeding.
2. Practice it before pranayama session
Like other shatkarma, sutra neti should perform before asana and pranayama practice as it opens the nostrils at their fullest capacity which helps in effective breathing while pranayama practice.
3. Perform it after Jal neti
Jal neti is comparably easy and quick practice as compare to sutra neti. Practice jal neti before performing sutra neti as it will moisturize the nasal passages, so that thread will easily pass through nostrils.
4. Ensure thread is clean and trimmed properly
A thread could have a number of dust particles sticky on it. Ensure proper cleaning of thread using the warm saline water and then put it aside for drying before inserting into nostrils.
Also, if you are using thread in place of rubber catheter, ensure thread ends are trimmed properly so it may not curl while coming out through the mouth.
People suffering from a history of chronic nasal bleeding, nasal polyps, and hypertension, in any condition, practice Sutra neti on consulting from an expert. Also, avoid doing sutra neti during sinus problems.