Sutra Neti. Limitations

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, making them more efficient and more able to effectively condition (that is clean, moisten, disinfect and warm) the air that you breathe as it enters the nose prior to entering 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.

This stimulation also causes a slight irritation to the mucus membranes, resulting in an increased blood circulation in the nose which tends to encourage excessive secretion of mucus for a short period of time. This is very beneficial, for it removes any stagnation of blood in the nostrils and flushes out the secretory glands. The organs in the nose are consequently encouraged to function far more effectively. This includes the eyes, since the tear duct outlet in the nose and the blood supplies are closely connected.

Sutra neti is an excellent method of preventing colds or other inflammations of the nose, especially if it is supplemented with jala neti. The nasal passages are rendered more resistant to attack by germs or viruses.

The ideal combination is sutra neti performed in conjunction with jala neti. Jala neti removes the less ingrained obstructions and flushes out the nose, while sutra neti removes the more obstinate foreign bodies and dried up mucus deposits. It is for this reason that we highly recommend that jala neti be practised immediately after sutra neti to flush out all the particles in the nose and leave it in the cleanest possible condition.

The importance of stage 3

In stage 3 the sutra was arranged so that it emerged from both nostrils, crossing from one nostril to the next at the back of the nose. The flow of air through each nostril varies; sometimes the flow is greater through the left nostril and sometimes the flow is greater through the right nostril. Sometimes the flow through each nostril is equal and this is very important in yoga. Predominant air flow through the right nostril corresponds to extroversion and physical activity and flow of air predominantly through the left nostril represents introversion. When the flows are balanced, then this is conducive to higher awareness; one is neither lost in outside activities nor mentally brooding over problems or whatever. There is a balance and this balance is conducive to relaxation and receptivity in

your whole being. This balance in flows can only occur if both nostrils are unblocked and if the passage that links the two nostrils in the back of the nose prior to entry into the throat is also unblocked. Stages 1 and 2 of sutra neti clean and remove obstructions in each individual nostril. Stage 3 also does this, but simultaneously it ensures that there is an unimpeded passage between the two nostrils inside the nose. Jala neti does the same thing of course, but not nearly as directly and effectively as sutra neti.

In particular, we recommend sutra neti as an excellent preparatory method for all types of pranayama techniques. For example, sutra neti will be most useful if done immediately before practising nadi shodhana pranayama. It will encourage the freest possible flow of breath through the alternate nostrils. The problem of course is time; if you have sufficient time then do sutra neti before practising pranayama, otherwise don’t worry.

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