What is Sutra Neti?
Sutra neti (nasal cleaning with thread) is an advanced process for cleaning the nose, removing blockages in the nasal passages and ensuring unrestricted airflow through both nostrils. In Sutra Neti, a catheter (a long, thin rubber tube) or twined strands of cotton thread are passed through the nostrils. Sutra Neti is an excellent preparatory method for all types of pranayama techniques. For example, sutra neti will be most helpful if done immediately before practising Nadi Shodhana pranayama.
Sutra Neti is mentioned in various texts, the most descriptive of which is from the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
Tools and Equipment
- A long, thin, rubber urethral catheter. This can be purchased from almost any pharmacy for a tiny sum. Catheters come in different sizes, which are assigned other numbers according to the outside diameter. The choice of the length of the catheter, of course, depends on the individual nasal passage, but sizes 4, 5 or 6 are generally suitable.
- A bundle of cotton threads held together at each end with beeswax. The line should be soft and of good quality.
Sutra Neti’s instructions step by step
- Slowly and excellently, push the narrow end of the catheter or the cotton thread cord into the left nostril.
- As you slowly push the sutra into the nostril, twist it so it enters it quickly.
- Eventually, you should feel the end of the sutra emerging at the back of the throat.
- With your index finger and thumb or your middle and index finger, whichever you prefer, reach into the throat and pull the end of the sutra out through the mouth.
- Only a few movements of the sutra are recommended during your first few times of practice, the number of times being slowly increased as you gain proficiency.
- Don’t under any circumstances use force; the nose’s interior is very delicate, and any undue pressure could cause damage.
- If you use a cotton thread sutra, the middle unwaxed portion should be in the nasal passages, with the waxed end emerging from your mouth and the other from your nostril.
- If you use a catheter, one end will emerge from the mouth and the other from your nostril.
- If you feel any pain or discomfort, please stop right away.
- Under no circumstances should the practice be hurried.
- As you push the sutra into the nostril, it should be slowly twisted to more easily overcome obstructions.
- Could you ensure the sutra is clean before inserting it into the nostril? It is best to try sutra neti when you can perform jala neti without difficulty.
- The practice can be done within five minutes if a catheter is used.
- If you use cotton thread sutra, it may take ten minutes.
- At first, there were only a few movements and, at most, fifteen times.
- With practice, the number of movements can be increased to fifty.
- This technique should only be done sometimes. It can be done once every few days or every week if it is more than sufficient.
- The best time for practice is in the morning before breakfast.
Supplementary yoga pose
- After completing sutra neti, one should do jala neti1, which will flush out all the impurities.
- After performing sutra neti, the nasal passages may feel a little sore; in such cases, either buddha neti (not with milk) or ghrita neti (neti with ghee) merely involves introducing a few drops of milk or ghee (clarified butter) into the nasal passages.
Persons who suffer from chronic haemorrhage (bleeding) of the nose should not do this practice without expert guidance.
- Sutra neti gives a frictional massage to the internal mucus membranes of the nose, strengthening the membranes and making them more efficient and more able to effectively condition the air you breathe as it enters the nose before joining the lungs.
- Sutra neti stimulates many of the large number of nerve endings in the nasal passages. This improves the innervation of the various functions of the nose and their connections with the brain.
- Sutra neti is an excellent method of preventing colds or other nose inflammations, especially if supplemented with jala neti.
- The nasal passages are rendered more resistant to attack by germs or viruses.
Sutra Neti may cause mild irritation to the mucous membranes of the respiratory region. Scientifically, this practice can help remove dust, dirt, unwanted substances, retained secretions, or deposits from inhaled air. While there has been some research on the efficacy of nasal cleansing techniques like Sutra Neti, it’s important to note that more scientific studies are needed to establish the full range of benefits and potential risks associated with this practice. Always practice Sutra Neti under the guidance of an experienced yoga expert to ensure safety and effectiveness.