Monday, April 9, 2012

Yoga Weird - Kriyas - Neti

For those of you who delve deeply into Hatha Yoga, you will eventually hear about kriyas, or cleansing techniques. It is believed that these cleansing techniques help to prepare the body for the physical practice of asana.

One of the most common Kriyas is neti. There are two types of neti:

  • jala neti - pouring water in one nostril and draining it out of the other

  • sutra neti - pulling a fine thread in one nostril and out of the other
In addition, there are other types of neti where the practitioner can draw milk in one nostril and out the other. Some even use ghee - or clarified butter. Regardless, this practice is used to cleanse the nasal passage to help eliminate distraction and prepare the body for practice (asana, pranayama, etc).

As part of my teacher training, I had to buy a neti pot and join in on a group neti. Of course, I wanted to try a neti prior to class to ensure that I looked like I knew what I was doing. Unfortunately I could not figure it out on my own. For this reason, I walked in incredibly nervous. I did not want to be the student that gagged on my neti in front of everyone.

I was very thankful to have a teacher that could easily explain the process. I was also very stuffed up at the time, so I was doubly thankful to have a good nasal cleaning. I began to use my neti pot every morning, helping me easily keep my nasal passage clean - virtually eliminating my fall allergies. I stopped using it once the weather got cold, because I know that if one is susceptible to nose bleeds, they should not use the neti pot. When I was a child, I would get nose bleeds all winter long, so I have strayed from using it.

I am writing about neti today because I brought my neti pot back out for spring. Now that allergy season has started, I have been waking up with a runny nose - typical. I feel wonderful today - still some runny nose, but much better.

For those of you who have not tried it, I would encourage you to give neti a shot. When you do, ask someone who has been doing it for a while to show you how. This person can help you make sure that you have the right water/salt mixture and ensure that you are using the proper head tilting technique.

It is not as weird as you think - I promise.

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