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Me using the neti pot as one of he shatkarmas

Nostril in, nostril out

Who wants to be a yoga has to be pure. The shatkarmas might require so many preparations and precautions you can’t do them at home; I am not at home now. If I want or not, I have to do some of them.

At the beginning of the second week of my yoga Teacher Training Course Gaurav gives me a neti pot. It looks like a little watering can, with a strange, almost round head at the end. With the neti pot he gives me a rubber string. For the cleansing, he smiles.

With a big, welcome arm gesture he invites us to follow him down stairs and in the garden of the hostel. A big pot with salt water is awaiting us. Gaurav fills his neti pot with salt water and asks us to look carefully. He bows his head a little forward then twists is head, so his right nostril is above his left. Slowly he pours the water in the upper nostril. After a few seconds it comes flowing out of the lower nostril. When all the water of the neti pot has gone in, he fills it up again and repeats the process; this time with his other nostril up. Poring it nostril in, nostril out.

Next he picks up the rubber string and slowly pushes the four millimeter thick rope in his nose. When the string has disappeared for more than one third he opens his mouth, puts a few fingers in his throat and coughs a few times. We watch. In silence. Slowly his fingers come out again: holding the rubber string. One piece still hanging out of his nose, the other out of his mouth. The whole picture looks funny, but pretty uncomfortable at the same time. The tear, hanging down from his eye, doesn’t look to promising as well.

As soon as he has put the string through his other nostril, to clean that one as well, it’s our turn. I can’t say I’m too enthusiastic. With my head sideways, breathing through my mouth, I pure the lukewarm water in my nostril. It takes a few seconds before it runs out the other one. I can’t say the feeling is to unpleasant. What is, is the water escaping my nostrils and ending up in my mouth.

When the easy part is done, it’s time for the rubber string. Curiously I look around. Most of my class mates leave the sutra neti as it is. Claudia is the bravest of them all. Almost one quarter has gone into her nose. With some reluctance I try it as well. The first part isn’t so bad. It tickles, stings a bit, but the string slides in easily. Then problems start. Where the first few centimeters where no problem I know feel pain. A hard stinging pain, like somebody is jamming a knife in my head. I try again and again, the pain stays. I give it one more go. Same result: pain and I abort my mission.

Back at the yoga shala Gurav guides us through a series of breathing exercises whose goal is to dry out our nostrils and sinuses again so they can’t get irritated as a result of the cleaning process and the water that might be left behind. Otherwise the whole cleaning process has been for nothing.

This is and old story. I wrote this at the end of 2010, when I went to India for the first time, 
to do my first Yoga Teacher Training. I finally translated it in English. 
My first yoga teacher training was the starting point to walk to path of yoga seriously.
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