Shatkarma: Cleansing Techniques

shatkarma-cleansing-techniques

Shatkarma

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.


Shatkarma: Cleansing Techniques

In this article, we will talk further about Jal neti and Sutra neti.  As with all the articles, please don’t assume that you can now start practicing these techniques after reading this article. One must learn from an experienced teacher.

Neti involves a process of cleansing and purifying the nasal passages. The practices are of two types. : Jal Neti and Sutra or rubber neti.

jal-neti

Jal Neti:

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.

  • Micro bend the knees and bend forward over a sink or squat if out in the open ground.  Make sure that your body weight is distributed evenly between the feet.
  • Breath from the mouth with your mouth open. Long slow breaths that are being longer on the exhale.  At least 10-20 breaths
  • While continuously breathing from the mouth, insert the nozzle of the pot into your uppermost. nostril.
  • Keep exhaling slow breaths from the mouth
  • Tilt ur head to the other side of the inserted nozzle. Make sure that you are holding the net pot cupped from the bottom and not at the side as this makes it easier while u are pouring.
  • Tilt the head to the point that the water flows from one nostril and out the other. One should not feel any rushing or burning sensation to the brain. Keep calm, breathe slowly and feel the water going through from one nostril to the other. There should be no force involved.
  • One never breathes from the nose and only from the mouth.
  • The nozzle should press firmly against the side of the nostril so that no leakage occurs.
  • When half the water is over in the pot, remove the nozzle and place the pot down.
  • Place both palms on your thighs and performKalpalbhati about 10 times. Next close the nostril which the nozzle was inserted with one hand, tilt the head and repeat kapalbhati through the open nozzle.
  • Repeat kapalbhati again through both nostrils with the head centered.

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:

  • Remove excess mucus from the nasal passages,
  • Clears migraines and sinus
  • Increases eye strength and maintains the health of the eyes, nose, and ears.
  • It relieves muscular tension of the face
  • Alleviates. anxiety, anger, and depression, removes drowsiness.
  • It improves concentration, brainpower and increases heat in the body.
  • It balances out the left and right nostrils and corresponding left and right brain hemispheres, including a state of harmony and balance throughout the body and mind.
  • It also helps to awaken the Ajna chakra
sutra-neti

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

  • Stand with your back against the wall and micro bend your knees
  • Relax your whole body
  • Tilt the head slightly forward and insert the closed end of the rubber nets into the more open nostril. (the one through which air is moving more freely)
  • Twist the head of the thread as you insert it, so that enters the nose easily. Make. Sure not to forfeit down or hurt the sides of your nose and eventually throat. Always keep the tip pointing downwards
  • When the catheter aches the backoff the noose, insert the index and middle fingers. Into the mouth
  • Pull the catheter slowly out through the mouth, leaving some out through the nostril still. The action of putting your fingers into your mouth may cause you to retch at first but this will diminish with practice. You may also find it difficult to feel the catheter because of excess saliva.
  • Hold each end of the catheter and very gently and slowly, pull it backward and forward.
  • Remove slowly through the nose and repeat on the other 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.

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