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What is Jala Neti?

Jala neti is a cleansing tradition originating in India as part of the tradition of yoga.  In jala neti, known in the West as “nasal irrigation,” sterile water is used to cleanse the sinuses and flush out mucous, bacteria, and allergens lurking in the nose.  Saline solution—a salt and water mixture—is often employed since it is sterile and mimics the blood’s salt content.

In stage one of jala neti, the saline solution is poured into one nostril and cleanses a small portion of the nose before coming out the other.  As the practitioner becomes more adept at jala neti, he can progress from stage one to stages two and three, in which the water cleanses the entire nasal cavity before being expelled through the mouth.

The word ‘yoga’ means ‘breath,’ and breathing is an important part of jala neti.  Practitioners are encouraged to continue breathing through the mouth during practice, as this creates a suction to help loosen mucous.  After rinsing out the nose, the practitioner blows out through the nose to dry the nasal passages and expel any remaining mucous.

Jala neti is typically practiced with a small, spouted container such as a Betti Pot.  The angle of the spout enables the practitioner to easily cleanse the nasal passages, and the pot’s handle assists the practitioner in removing the spout effortlessly from the nose.