For the longest time, I just couldn’t get the sutra neti through my nostrils. It was just blocked, like there was a wall in my sinuses. And I would painfully pick and prod with my sutra to no avail.
Maybe I have a deviated septum. Or maybe my mucus is so hardened it needs to be surgically removed…
Thankfully, the problem was much simpler.
My face was too tense!
The energy in my face was blocked. I didn’t have a deviated septum or an indestructable pile of mucus. It’s just that my olfactory and occipital nerves were unhealthy, which meant my face and sinuses couldn’t open up enough to let the sutra through.
It sounds like a simple solution. Just relax your face. But for some of us, relaxing– really truly letting go– is the hardest thing in the world. Just yelling *HEY NOSE JUST RELAX SO I CAN SHOVE THIS ROPE IN YOU* is not going to work.
Here’s some advice on an effective, easy, tension free sutra neti practice:
1. Love the sutra
It sounds like bullshit, but loving this practice is the most important step to reaping its full benefits. Full acceptance is necessary.
Shoving thread up your nose and yanking it out of your mouth is weird and scary for most people. And when we’re afraid, we tense up.
So, if you’re afraid of the sutra, your sinuses will constrict, making it much harder to get the sutra through. This also makes the experience more painful, which then causes more fear in the future, which causes more tension and thus more pain and thus more fear and the cycle gets worse and worse.
Look at your sutra with love and acceptance. Internalize the safety of this practice.
Nothing will happen to you. You will not push the sutra into your brain. Don’t worry.
Trust the instruction of the great yogis of the past and let the whole body relax into the sutra.
Before I realized this, I would focus too hard on relaxing the face, only to find the fear had moved to the rest of my body. My abdomen and throat would be clenched, and my sinuses would stay blocked. Creating an attitude of acceptance towards the sutra, will naturally relax the whole body at once, allowing an easy passage.
By harmonizing the body with the sutra, I’ve noticed energy blockages clearing through my lower body as well, especially the abdomen.
2. Let pain guide your awareness
If you hit a painful point with the sutra, don’t muscle past it. This will hurt and create more unconscious fear.
Instead, let the pain guide your awareness.
Observe the point at which the sutra hurts. Twisting the sutra a bit helps bring awareness to the exact problem spot.
Are you holding any tension in the face? Are you in an attitude of acceptance? Feel into the point with your whole being.
With the full light of your awareness in the area, your body may tingle and shift as the area unclenches and the blockage clears.
3. If there’s no pain, keep awareness on the tip of the sutra
Feel the tip of the sutra as it moves through your cavity. This is great training to bring awareness to an often neglected area of our body.
If you can’t get the sutra all the way through, don’t get discouraged.
Just push it in as far as you can and practice awareness and acceptance, as described above. Even stimulating just the first part of the nasal passageway, will help open the face, the eyes, and allow mucus to drain much easier.
Treating sutra neti like a meditation. Experience the beauty of these yogic techniques with your full awareness.