We can accompany some of our pranayama practices with some cleansing -practices to further increase the benefits we feel.
Some of these include:
- Neti- A process that cleanses and purifies the nasal passages.
- Kunjal Kriya- cleansing the stomach with water
- Kapal bhati - A breathing technique for purifying the frontal region of the Brian
- Basti - A technique that tones and washes the large intestine
- Nauli - A method that massages and strengthens the abdominal organs
- Trataka - Bahari Trataka - focus on a point outside like a candle or any fixed point, antaritrataka- focus with eyes closed on a point inside.
Types of Shatkarma
Jal is water and Neti is nasal. So this is nasal cleansing with water. Here we used special nets pot which can be made of plastic, pottery, brass, or another metal that does not have a contaminating effect on the water. The pot comes with a spout and nozzle which should fit comfortably inside one’s nostril and not leak outing water.
If one doesn’t want to invest in a special pot then a teapot may be used as long as the nozzle tip isn’t too large or sharp.
Fill the Neti pot with lukewarm water and add about 1/2 tsp of salt to it. Stir to make sure that the salt dissolves. A good guide to proportion would be one teaspoonful per half a litre of water. Salt makes sure the osmotic pressure of the water is equal to that of the body fluids, thereby minimizing any irritation to the mucous membrane. If one feels a painful burning sensation in the nose or the forehead, this probably means that you have added too much or too little salt.
Make sure to test the temperature of the water by pouring a little onto the back of your hand.
This step helps to drain trapped water from the sinus cavities.
Do not blow the nose too hard as the remaining water may be pushed through the ears.
Clean the nose and repeat from the other side.
Jal Neti may be practiced daily, once or twice a week, or as required. The practice should take a maximum of 5-10 minutes.
After you complete both nostrils, sit in simple sukhasana, inhale deeply and bend forward while exhaling. Place your hands on the ground behind you and stay in this position for some time. This allows any excess water of mucus to flow out and can also be blown out.
Jal Neti should ideally be practiced in the mornings before asanas and pranayama practice. If necessary, it can be performed anytime, except after meals.
THE PRACTICE OF JAL NETI HELPS TO:
Sutra Neti or Rubber Neti:
This practice involves tasing a length of cotton thread through the nose. Traditionally a specially prepared cotton thread called sutra was used. Several strands were. Tightly wrapped together and dipped in melted beeswax. However, nowadays, we prefer to use a thin, rubber catheter. Hence it is called Rubber Neti. The size of the catheter depends on the individual nasal passage. Dp the rubber into some lukewarm water first for a few minutes sterilize it. Lubricate it with melted ghee, butter, edible oil, or one’s own saliva so that it slides easily through the nasal passage.
One can perform this immediately after performing Jal Neti, before going into the Sukhasana position. Blow air through your nose onto the back of your hand in order to feel which nostril may be more open depending on which lets out more air. Start with this nostril
Make sure to breathe from the mouth only. The practice may take about 10 minutes with 5 minutes for each nostril. It can be performed twice a week.
Make sure not to use force at all as the internal parts of the nose are very delicate and we must avoid damaging it.
Sutra or Rubber neti should be performed before Jal neti as Jal neti will flush out all the impurities and particles in the nose which have been dislodged by Sutra neti.
However, it is best not to attempt Sutra Neti until Jal neti has been perfected.