Sutra neti (nasal cleaning with thread)

This Practice involves passing length of cotton thread through the nose. Traditionally, a special prepared cotton thread was used. Several strands were tightly rapped together and dipped in melted beeswax. The width was about 4 mm and the length 36 to 45 cm.

Nowadays, however, the practice is more conveniently performed by using a thin rubber catheter lubricated with butter or saliva so that it slides easily through the nasal passage. The size of the catheter depends on the individual nasal passage but 4, 5 or 6 are generally suitable.

Technique 1

Basic practice

  • Take any comfortable standing or sitting position, or squat.
  • Relax the whole body.
  • Tilt the head slightly back. Gently and slowly insert the narrow end of the catheter or waxed end of the thread into whichever nostril is flowing more freely.
  • As the thread is inserted twist it so that it enters the nostril easily.
  • Always keep the tip pointing downward towards the floor of the nose.
  • Never push it straight up.
  • When the thread reaches the back of the throat, insert the index finger and thumb, or the middle and index fingers, into the mouth. Pull the catheter or thread gently and slowly out through the mouth, leaving a few inches of thread hanging out of the nose.
  • This action may cause retching at first but with practice it will become easier.
  • Hold each end of the sutra or catheter with the fingers.
  • Very slowly and gently pull it backward and forward, no more than 15 times on the first attempt.
  • Remove it slowly through the nose and repeat the process with opposite nostril.

Technique 2

Advanced practice

  • After completing technique 1, the thread should be left so that it still passes through one of the nasal passages with one end passing through the mouth and the other through the nostril.
  • Gently insert the waxed end emerging from one nostril into the other nostril and pull the end through the mouth.
  • In the final position both waxed ends emerge from the mouth.
  • Loosen the hard wax at the tip of each end so that the individual strands again become separated.
  • Push the two ends together so that they merge with one another, and twist the thread so that the two ends become joined. If the join is too thick some of threads may be cut away so that the join may pass easily through the nostrils.
  • The thread is now circular.
  • Slowly draw the join into the mouth, progressively sliding the thread through the nostrils.
  • Eventually the join should be located between the entrance to the two nostrils.
  • Disconnect the join.
  • The thread now enters one nostril and embraces from the other; it no longer passes through the mouth.
  • Gently pull the sutra to and fro, a few times only to begin with. If there is the slightest discomfort, stop the practice immediately.
  • Pull one end of the thread and slowly withdraw it from the nose.


  • Breathing is performed through the mouth.


  • With a catheter the practice take less than 5 minutes.
  • With a sutra it takes about 10 minutes.
  • Once every few days or once a week is more than sufficient.


Sutra neti removes mucus and pollution from nasal passages and sinuses, allowing air to flow without obstruction. It helps prevent and mange respiratory track diseases such as asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis and pulmonary tuberculosis.

Sutra neti can rectify the problem of deviated nasal septum. If one or both nostrils are not flowing freely due either to deformed bone or fleshy outgrowths, the regular friction of sutra neti causes these obstruction to disappear with in a few months.