For a long while, I had been having trouble with pranayamas. All kinds. The simplest ones even.Another anamoly I noticed was that for almost 95% of the time I would be breathing in and out through my left nostril. The right nostril was active for very very short periods of time. While I never hit the alarm, it sort of concerned me enough for me to make a note of it and remember it.
I mentioned the same thing to the Yogacharya today. He then instructed me in the practice of Jala Neti. This topic was also mentioned by another Gentleman who practices the asanas at a park. Perhaps there was some blockage in the area of my nose. Perhaps Jala Neti would work. This post is not about the benefits of Jala Neti as I have just started trying it out. It is about the practice and the precautions. Neti is simply the process of cleaning that nasal passages. This is done by pouring water into one nostril so it comes out the other. In it’s journey between the nostrils, the saline water cleans out and disinfects the nasal packages. The process as you will see is very simple, logical and commonsensical. It is not rocket science. But I would still recommend practicing it under guidance. I cannot be responsible should anything happen to you. Again, please use common sense.
1. The water should be warm. Certainly not cold or even cool. But not too hot either. Use common sense. Comfortably warm. Always and without exception, water should be warm.
2. Salt should be dissolved in the water. Always use salt.
3. Wash the Neti Pot snout first with your hands and then wash the interior.
4. Fill the Neti pot with warm salt water
5. Stand and bend forward so that your mid section is around a 90 degree angle with the legs. Face forward. This simple precaution is so that the Neti water does not fall on your clothes or legs or pants and soil them.
6. Now tilt your head/face to one side so that one nostril is above the other nostril.
7. Open your mouth real wide. All through the Neti procedure, you will be breathing through your mouth not your nose.If you breath through your nose where is the place for the water to flow in the passages. It will irritate the whole system. So always breathe through your mouth.
8. Once you have accustomed yourself to breathing through your mouth for a few seconds, insert the snout of the Neti pot into the nostril that is on the top. Remember water flows from high to low. The idea in neti is that water is sent into one nostril and it comes out through the other. So the nostril it is poured into is naturally at a higher elevation to the one from which it comes out.
9. Once the water in the pot is all over, you need to blow your nose. This will clear out all the detritus/plegm that has been sticking to the nasal passages. The saline water passing through has loosened and softened the debris and then can be expelled from your system via a simple blowout.
10. Now blowing your nose is a little bit different from the conventional way you do it. Get into the same posture you were in before you started pouring the water into one of your nostrils, i.e. body bent forward, face forward, head tilted to one side so that one nostril is at a higher elevation than the other. Now place your finger to block out the nostril that is at the higher elevation and blow out the other nostril. After this is done, tilt your head to the other side and similarly blow out the other nostril.
11. Now repeat steps 5-10 again but this time tilt your head to the other side.
12. Finally, you may have some phlegm stuck in your throat. The normal tendency is to swallow it. Try to resist this tendency by gargling it out.
13. Neti can be practiced thrice a day before mealtimes. Preferably on an empty stomach. The practice of Anulom Vilom following this is recommended.
Once the neti procedure is over, it is time to practice the pranayamas. For this week, the teacher has counselled me to do the easy pranayama, a simplified version of anulom Vilom. Here, we do the alternate nostril breathing the same way as the conventional version, but with few differences.
b. Do not control your breathing in any way
c. observe your respiration
This is just anapana through alternate nostrils. Anulom Vilom can be practiced this way several times a day preferably on an empty stomach.