There are 3 different stages of Jala Neti and several other ways to utilise Neti as follows.
Jala Neti Stage 1
The simplest version is Jala Neti Stage 1, which is to use warm salty water running up one nostril and out the other nostril. The water does not, should not, go to the back of the throat and into the mouth. This stage of nasal cleansing works on clearing gross matter such as dirt, bacteria and mucus from the main frontal nasal passages as well as drawing infections and old mucus down from the frontal sinus passages. Other areas on this website such as The Jala Neti Booklet include all the details about performing Jala Neti (Stage 1) so it will not be repeated here.
Jala Neti Stage 2
The second stage of Neti is called Vyutkrama Kapalbhati, or sinus bellowing. Whilst the water is running through from one nostril to the other as in Stage 1, it is sniffed backwards and spat out of the mouth. It's a more advanced and powerful practice, hence one should master the simpler version first. One potful of water should be done as in the normal, simple version of Stage 1, before doing a second pot in this more advanced way so that the dirt accumulated in the front nasal passages is not flushed through to the back. Vyutkrama Kapalbhati Neti works on clearing out the posterior sinus passages and is very effective for post nasal drip, sinusitis, snoring, chronic catarrh, thyroid imbalances, coughs and throat problems. Extra care must be taken to dry the nose fully after Stage 2, as more water floods the nasal passages and may cause irritation for some time if not properly and completely dried out.
Jala Neti Stage 3
The third stage or method is a little more difficult and advanced again. This is called Sheetkrama Kapalbhati. Here the warm salty water is taken in through the mouth and snorted out the nose. This can be a little bit tricky at first and may be a little uncomfortable in the beginning. Mastery of Stages 1 & 2 should be gained before attempting Stage 3. The benefits are similar yet stronger than the other forms of Neti. Again, the nasal passages must be properly dried after performing this.
Sutra means "thread" and Sutra Neti is performed by threading twisted, waxed, cotton threads in through one nostril and out of the mouth. Alternatively surgical rubber catheters can be used. This is a very effective method of keeping the nasal passages open to their fullest capacity. It is recommended for those people who may have been trying Jala Neti and who find that at all times one nostril is more blocked than the other. They may have some kind of fleshy obstruction blocking the nasal passages. Short of a medical operation, Sutra Neti is a viable alternative to clear these blockages. Firstly one should master the 3 forms of Jala Neti using water for some months and if this fails to relieve the blockage, a medical examination should be made of the nose and the cause of structural blockage ascertained. Sutra Neti should then be learned under the guidance of a competent teacher.
Neti with Milk - Dughda Neti
Using a little milk warmed to body temperature in the Neti pot, is a practice suitable for those who may suffer chronic nose bleeds or after Jala Neti Stages 1, 2 ,3 for those who find intense irritation from the use of salty water. It may be done in cases such as where chemicals or excessive saline cleansing have irritated the nasal lining. It can also be done following Sutra Neti if irritation is uncomfortable. Milk Neti should not be done without qualified advice for your specific problem and even then, should not be done excessively.
Neti with Ghee - Ghrita Neti
Warmed ghee is used in place of milk. This is used to temporarily line the internal nasal membranes with a fatty lining to relieve irritation from numerous causes.
Neti with Urine - Swamootra Neti
Using ones own urine for therapeutic purposes is a whole other branch of yoga therapy called Amaroli. We are not going to try to address most people's "that's disgusting" reaction - so if the idea turns you off, then read no further! There are many reputable books on this topic by medical and yoga researchers.
The reasons for implementing such an unusual mode of medicine correlates exactly with the principles of homeopathy, that is - that a little bit of like cures like. By irrigating with urine through the nasal passages, you are giving the brain subtle messages about what wastes and by-products are coming out of the body at levels of either excess or deficiency. The body's micro substances such as hormones, vitamins, minerals and proteins are used as biofeedback to help the brain correct internal metabolic processes. Once again, this branch of yoga therapy should be learned from a qualified master of Amaroli.
As well as the common traditional methods listed above, there are some even more specific variations where different substances such as essential oils, herbs and even allopathic medicines can be prescribed in the Neti Pot. However, we do not advise any substances except salt to be used without qualified guidance.
Link to Frequently Asked Questions about the Cleansing Practices
Home Page: - An Introduction and its Applications
The Links Page: For Finding Teachers and Neti Pots
Learning Jala Neti: - How to, and how not to, do it
Our Library of Articles: on Nasal Cleansing