The Five Tibetan Rites is a yoga routine based on a ritual of exercises discovered in the early 1900's, by a British army colonel, Colonel Bradford, who was living in a Himalayan monastery. The rites are comprised of five different movements, with each movement performed up to 21 times. It is best to start with 3 repetitions of each exercise and gradually increase the repetitions. The entire routine can be completed in less than 10 minutes.
Here are the Five Tibetan Rites and how they work on the body (remember to breathe deeply using the diaphragm during the movements).
The first rite is the practice of spinning, which effects the emotional body by speeding up the vortexes. Children naturally spin while playing. As one spins clockwise, Lamas say that negative residues are flung out of the body and the bridge is strengthened between the left and right hemispheres. Spinning stimulates the body's energy system and wakes up the chakras.
Extend your arms out to the sides and spin (in a clockwise direction). Go as fast as you can without losing control (slow down or stop if you get dizzy). Try to do 21 revolutions.
Follow your right arm so that you spin around to your right. As you begin to spin, focus your vision on a single point straight ahead and continue holding your vision on that point as long as possible. Eventually you have to let it leave your field of vision as your head spins with the body. As this occurs, turn your head around quickly and refocus on your reference point as soon as possible. Using a reference point helps prevent dizziness. Stop spinning as soon as you feel slightly dizzy. Lie on the floor and breathe deeply before you begin the next rite. Raise your hands above your head to stretch the back.
Rite two is similar to Western abdominal exercises. By raising the head to the chest, you create an extra stimulus to the solar plexuschakraand the "Conception Vessel" moving through the center of the trunk.
Use a thick rug or yoga mat to protect your back as you lie on the floor.
First lie flat on the floor, face up. Fully extended your arms along your sides, and place the palms of your hands against the floor, keeping the fingers close together. Then, raise your head off the floor, tucking the chin against the chest. As you do this, lift your legs, knees straight, into a vertical position. If possible, let the legs extend back over the body, toward the head; but do not let the knees bend. Then slowly lower both the head and the legs, knees straight, to the floor. Allow all the muscles to relax, continue breathing in the same rhythm. Breathe in deeply as you lift your legs and breathe out as you lower your legs.
Upon sitting up, stretch your legs out in front of you. Starting at the thigh area, stroke down the outside of your legs with your hands until you reach your feet. Grab your feet on the outside, pulling your head as close to your straight knees as possible.
Rite three opens the solar plexus and heart. We begin life by drawing energy in through the umbilical area. Lamas believe we continue the habit of sucking into the solar plexus, which is the seat of the emotional body, without being aware of what we are taking in. All kinds of emotional energies enter in this way. Psychically, we attract negative emotions that relate to those we ourselves are carrying. Thus, fear or anger inside us acts as a magnet to people who are carrying the same kind of energies.
Contraction interferes with the functioning of the solar plexus ganglion that relays messages to the brain relevant to our sense of safety and stimulates the "fight or flight" reflex. This rite provides an extension and a powerful lifting of the entire trunk, which is the opposite of a defensive, contractive stance. By performing this motion, you are reversing the energy flow and raising the energy to the heart area.
This is a classic back bend. Kneel on the floor, knees under your hips, toes flat, with the body erect. Place hands on back of legs just under the buttocks. Tilt the head and neck forward, tucking the chin against the chest. Then, tilt the head and neck backward, arching the spine backward, and look upward. After arching, return to the original position, and repeat up to 21 times.
Inhale deeply as you arch the spine, exhale as you return to an erect position. This rite opens up the front of the body and spine. Establish a rhythmic breathing pattern. Breathe in deeply as you arch the spine. Breathe out as you return to an erect position.
When you are finished with this series of motions, extend your arms at shoulder level straight out in front of you and lean back without arching your back. You will feel this stretching the fascia latae at the outer thighs.
This rite causes a pleasant stimulation throughout the sacral area which stirs the meridians and the energies going to and from the groin and down the legs. This rite strengthens and tones the legs and glutes.
Sit on floor with your legs extended, body erect, feet flexed and about 12 inches apart, palms flat on floor next to your hips, fingers pointed toward your feet. Tuck the chin forward against the chest. Now, tilt the head backward as far as it will go. At the same time, bend your knees and push up to a "tabletop" position, arms straight. Let your head fall back gently. The trunk of the body will be in a straight line with the upper legs, horizontal to the floor. Then, tense every muscle in the body. Finally, relax your muscles as you return to the original sitting position. Rest before repeating the procedure.
Breathe in as you raise up, hold your breath as you tense the muscles, breathe out completely as you come down. Continue breathing in the same rhythm as long as you rest between repetitions.
Rite five brings an immediate change in the energy currents of the body. It makes one feel strong and invigorated and brings a happy glow to the face. This is the most powerful rite in terms of speeding up the chakric vortexes.
Up Dog & Down Dog:
Begin on all fours, toes flexed, palms on floor, weight distributed evenly among your knees, your palms, and the balls of your feet. Throughout this rite, your hands and feet should be kept straight. Start with your arms perpendicular to the floor, and the spine arched downward, so that the body is in a sagging position. Slowly lift your buttocks toward the sky, with a flat back, lowering your head, so your body makes an inverted "V." Tuck your chin to your chest. Pause, then lower your buttocks while pressing your palms into the floor, until your legs are in a plank position (parallel to the ground), moving your chest out and shoulders back. Inhale on your way up; exhale on your way down. Repeat, up to 21 times. In the rite, your body is moving in concert, moving energy up the spine.
Follow the deep breathing pattern used in the previous rites. Breathe in deeply as you raise the body, breathe out fully as you lower it.