Healthy longevity in 10 minutes flat
The Tibetan Rites were re-introduced to me by the wonderful yogini Eugene at Somers YogaFest. I was re-inspired by these because they:
- are simple
- are quick
- are effective
- allow for progression
- nourish glands
- are cleansing
- enhance energy.
But what really won me over is how little time the require! They only take 5-20 minutes depending on how many repetitions you are up to.
There are seven Tibetan Rites in total. The first five are physical activities – I’ve sketched a simple depiction of these. For great photos and detailed explanations of contraindications and preparation exercises see this excellent contribution from Mary Kurus.
The Rites were originally reported by an English man – “the Colonel” – who youthed after living with Tibetan Lamas in the Himalaya for a few years. In Tibet, he had learned and adopted their way of life, and had seemingly reversed the aging process in doing so. This way of life includes specific dietary and lifestyle habits, and also these exercises. They are commonly known as “The Five Tibetans”, despite being seven exercises. The last two involve breathing and sounding, more than physical movement.
These exercises can be practiced every day. Ideally do them first thing in the morning, without food in your stomach. Best in a well ventilated room after a cool shower. However, anytime and anywhere is better than not at all. Always practice to your own level. If you have any physical ailments, go gently and build up strength for the practices. Even imagining your body in the positions will help you to, over time, achieve the full position.
Spare a thought for the culture that delivered these to the West. If you feel to support Tibet to retain it’s cultural heritage, and protect basic human rights, consider supporting the the Free Tibet or Australian Tibet Council.
- As a general rule, breath in and out through the nose.*
- Between each physical exercise, the stance with arms on hips, breath in through the nose and out through the open mouth, with a long, loud exhale. This is very cleansing.
Begin by practicing only ONE of each exercise, then gradually increase the number of repetitions each week.
Stand up with feet directly under hips. Stretch out your arms in a straight line from your shoulders, with the palms facing down, fingers extended, shoulders relaxed. Look to your right hand and spin in that direction. Do one up to twenty-one rotations.
When you have finished spinning, stand with your arms on your hips. Inhale fully through the nose, and slowly and loudly exhale from the mouth, with lips pursed in an “O”. Complete two full breaths before moving to exercise #2.
This exercise strengthens the vestibular apparatus in the inner ear (used for balance). On an esoteric level, it is toning for the crown and third eye chakra.
Lie on your back with your legs fully extended and your ankles together and flexed. Have your hands along side your body, palms touching the floor. Tuck your hands slightly under your buttocks. On an inhalation, lift your legs to 90 degrees toes pointed, and lift your head, pressing your chin into your
neck. Most of your back stays on the floor. Exhale come back down. This is one repetition. It is a smooth flowing exercise, continue doing them as appropriate for you.
When you have finished your repetitions, stand with your arms on your hips. Inhale fully through the nose, and slowly and loudly exhale from the mouth, with lips pursed in an “O”. Complete two full breaths before moving to exercise #3.
This exercise tones the throat center, so will bring more blood flow to the thyroid and parathyroid. Esoterically, it activates the throat chakra.
Kneel with your toes tucked under, and from knees to head upright. Place your palms on the backs of your thighs, under your buttock. Ensure your knees are hip-width distance apart. Tuck your chin to your chest.
Inhale through the nose, arching your back, opening your shoulders and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Drop your head as far back as is comfortable for you. Use your hands to support yourself leaning back.
Then exhale as you return to starting position, with chin tucked to chest. Draw in your gut muscles to support your lower back if needed.
This is one repetition.
When finished your repetitions, stand with your arms on your hips. Inhale fully through the nose and slowly and loudly exhale from the mouth, with lips pursed in an “O”. Complete two full breaths before moving to exercise #4.
This exercise focuses on opening and toning the heart chakra.
Sit with legs outstretched and back upright making a 90 degree angle.
Place your palms onto the ground along side your hips, fingers pointing towards toes, arms straight.
Shift your weight on your hands and feet and, inhaling, lift your hips into a “table”. Your arms and calves are the legs. Your thighs and torso the table top. Allow your head to fall back.
On the exhalation, swing back to the starting position.
This is one repetition.
When finished your repetitions, stand with your arms on your hips. Inhale fully through the nose and slowly and loudly exhale from the mouth, with lips pursed in an “O”. Complete two full breaths before moving to exercise #5
This exercise focuses on opening and toning the solar plexus.
Start on your hands, with arm straight, and your toes, with legs straight and your tail bone high in the air, with your back straight. ie “Down face dog” but on your toes. Inhale and control your swing through to “up face dog”, still on your toes. Keeping your spine long. Gently lift your gaze. On the exhale, revert back to starting pose – on your toes.
This is one repetition.
When finished your repetitions, stand with your arms on your hips. Inhale fully through the nose and slowly and loudly exhale from the mouth, with lips pursed in an “O”. Complete two full breaths before moving to exercise #6
This exercise focuses on toning and opening the lower two chakras.
These first five exercises can be done a maximum of TWENTY-ONE times. The last two should only be done THREE times each, regardless of how many of the first five you perform.
This is a standing position, wherein you hold the three energetic locks (bundhas) – the base (pelvic floor), in the stomach (pulling up under ribs with tummy flattened) and the throat (chin into throat). This should be done on an empty stomach and should not strain your body.
To start: Exhale fully, bending down to force additional breath out, then draw in the energy locks (base, stomach and throat) until you feel the need to inhale. Release the energetic locks and THEN breathe in.
Perform three times (maximum).
The holding of the energy locks to gather energy (prana) into the body. It is said to make sexual energy more potent. Ideally have an experienced yoga teacher teach you these in person.
Sit with your spine straight. Decide upon a positive intention (sankalpa) for your practice. It should be phrased as follows”
“ I COMMAND, …. (positive intention statement here) …., RIGHT NOW”
Decide on your intention.
When ready chant “A – U – M”.
The “A” sound relates to the first, second and third chakras
The “U” sound relates to the middle chakras
The “M” sound relates to the top two chakras (eyebrow centre and crown)
When you chant the “M” sound, mentally declare your intention: “I command – your positive intention – Right now.”
Repeat this three times (maximum)
This is a powerful way of programming your subconscious and unconscious with thoughts of your own choosing, rather than a marketing or product companies.
Practice this series every day if you can.
Always practice gently. Never strain your body or take it into discomfort.
Increase your repetitions, one per week. Start with one or two, and build up. Be aware of your body with every move. Make the practice a moving meditation. Body awareness and breath awareness will make it all so much more powerful. You don’t have to do the sixth and seventh practices if you don’t want to.
*There is a lot of debate about the correct breathing, as Peter Kelder, the man who recorded The Colonel, didn’t actually record the breathing. In yoga, pranayama -breathing practices- and bundhas -energy locks – are fundamental in nourishing and developing energy in the body. I had always wondered about the correct breathing, and am enjoying practicing starting the movement with the inhale. Try it that way, and try it the other way, and feel what feels best for you.
Namaste! (“Hi” in Hindi ; “The divine in me acknowledges the divine in you” in Sanskrit)
This is one element of Sparkle Detox Course – a step-by-step, effective and safe, body tissue cleansing process designed by Naturopath Sally Mathrick. If you haven’t already, join Sparkle Detox. You’ll have life-time access to wholistic, doable, ‘delicious-with-benefits’ practices to keep your precious body-mind healthy, fresh and vital. JOIN NOW