Sutra Neti – A cleansing Kriya I wish I discovered earlier

I have been plagued with persistent non-allergic rhinitis since I can remember. I get flare ups ever so often; 3-4 times a week. The perpetual sneezing, runny nose, blocked nose, accompanied with coughs, sore throats, headaches and puffy eyes; it is disruptive, so bothersome and oh-so-tiring. The only solution was to take medication (or if I have the luxury of time or able to take medical leave – sleep it off)

Now, I am not one who is in favour of taking medication. Litres of H2O and a lot of rest are my go-to remedies. However, it becomes a different story when a flare up occurs.  So when Master Paalu said he will be showing us how to perform “Sutra Neti” and that it is good for people with sinus problems, I found myself seated in the front row for an up-close view of the demonstration. Anything to relieve me of rhinitis flare ups, I will try.

Before I commenced my YTT class at Tirisula Yoga, I saw it on their social media channels; it was taught as part of the YTT programme. I wondered what it was all about – “What are they putting in their noses? Why were the students cringing? Oh my gosh, doesn’t it hurt?!!

After the demo, we tried it out ourselves. Cringing, gagging, drooling, with tears welling up in our eyes. We were told to conduct the Sutra Neti three times a week, in the morning, with an empty stomach. But me – I was specifically told to do it everyday. At that point, I thought, “Wow.. it must be so obvious that Master Paalu knows of my rhinitis issues just by looking at me.

So, what is Sutra Neti?

Swatramana described the practice of Sutra Neti in the second chapter of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika as follows:

“A cord made of threads and about six inches long, should be passed through the passage of the nose and the end taken out in the mouth. This is known by adepts, the Neti Karma. The Neti is the cleaner of the brain and giver of divine sight. It soon destroys all the diseases of the cervical and scapular regions.”

What is Sutra Neti, again?

Sutra Neti is a Hatha yoga technique to clean your nasal cavity. In Sutra Neti, a waxed cotton string is inserted into the nose and then pulled out from the mouth. Then both ends are held with the hands and nasal cleaning is done by to and fro motion of the strings. In layman terms, the action is akin to flossing. Traditionally, a specially prepared cotton thread was used. Several strands were tightly wrapped together and dipped in melted beeswax. However, today, it is more convenient to use a thin rubber catheter so that it slides easily through the nasal passage.

Demo video:

And its benefits? 

The nasal cavities can get clogged with impurities which may cause infections, inflammations and headaches. Sutra Neti can give the following benefits:

  1. It helps to maintain the nasal hygiene by removing the dirt and bacteria trapped along with the mucus in the nostrils.
  2. It de-sensitizes the sensitive tissues inside the nose, which can alleviate rhinitis, allergies and some types of asthma.
  3. Several health problems like sinusitis, migraine, headaches, can be reduced by doing Neti.

So has Sutra Neti helped me with my rhinitis issues?

I have not had a major flare up since. REJOICE!