The Five Tibetan Rites for "youthing"
The Five Tibetan Rites, the Five Tibetans, also known as the Five Rites of Rejuvenation, were first written about by Peter Kelder in a 1939 publication entitled: The Eye of Revelation. In it he describes how the exercises came to the West early in the last century century, compliments of a retired British army officer, who learned them, possibly, in the Himalayas. These Rites, similar to some early forms of Yoga has roots that date back to times possibly before Yoga came to be, and are likely to have originated from a system of Kum Nye which date back 2,500 years.
Chris Kilham, whose 1994 book, The Five Tibetans resparked the the Five Rites' current popularity, fully describes this exercise program for "youthing". In it we can also read a series of testimonials where people report: more energy, increase in strength and endurance, gray hair turning back to its original color, vision improvement, arthritis relief, better memory, younger look, weight loss and more extraordinary rejuvenation. People claim to “look ten years younger” and to have “never felt better.”
The Five Tibetans are highly energizing postures and exercises, liberating and enhancing the innate energetic power of the human body and mind. These five exercises take a minimum of daily time and effort and space, but offer remarkable results in the way of increased physical strength and suppleness as well as mental acuity, enlivening the senses and generating and harnessing energy, especially when no days are skipped.
Regular practice of these movements relieves muscular tension and nervous stress, improves respiration and digestion, benefits the cardiovascular system, leads to deep relaxation, better sleeping and well-being and tunes and energizes the chakras. They offer benefits far exceeding the time and energy required to perform them.
When the flow of prana is inhibited, for whatever reasons, that’s when aging starts. So the key to eternal, or at least greatly prolonged youth, is to keep the chakras spinning full spine, and one of the ways to do this is to practice the five Tibetans everyday.
For the old and sick people:
1) practice slowly at first, each rite three times a day for the first week and then increasing the speed a bit each week
2) then with every following week, increase the repetitions by two
3) eventually, after more than 10 weeks, performing 21 repetitions for every rite, every day.
Most people can start right away with 7 repetitions and increase with 7 repetitions by the second week. And are performing the full set of 21 repetitions in the third week. You could even start right away with 21 repetitions. The end goal is to perform 21 repetitions for every Rite, and do the series once or twice a day.
These exercises may stretch muscles you haven't felt in years. Some practitioners also recommend taking caution prior to performing the Rites due to the possibility of aggravating certain health conditions. Approach this program gently and begin with three repetitions each day, increasing each exercise by two repetitions when you feel up to it. One thing that is important to remember is that the Rites work in conjunction with each other. So it is important to do all of them. Performing the five Rites with 21 repetitions each will take you from 15 to 20 minutes.
A good time to practice the Rites is in the morning, after taking a shower. You will find that practicing the five Tibetans, in the morning, will make you feel more energetic and fresh during the rest of the day. You will have better results if you practice the Rites slowly without rushing, and if you breathe deeply in-between the Rites. It is also critically important to combine correct breathing with the movement. (There is no point in doing the Rites as fast as possible and not doing the breathing work). However, if you don’t have much time, you could do fewer repetitions. Also, most people have found that doing more than 21 repetitions is not useful. 21 seems to be the magic number.
Stand erect with arms outstretched - horizontal to the floor, palms facing down. Your arms should be in line with your shoulders. Spin around clockwise until you become slightly dizzy. Gradually increase the number of spins from 1 spin to 21 spins. Kelder cautions that when performing the First Rite, spinning must always be performed in a clockwise direction. He also states that Bradford clearly recalled that the Maulawiyah, otherwise known as "Whirling Dervishes", always spun from left to right, in a clockwise direction (athough we could debate this...).
Breathing: Inhale and exhale deeply as you do the spins.
Lie flat on the floor, face up. Fully extend your arms Along your sides and place the palms of your hands against the floor, keeping fingers close together. Then raise your head off the floor, tucking your chin into your chest. As you do this, lift your legs, knees straight, into a vertical position. If possible, extend the legs over the body towards your head. Do not let the knees bend. Then slowly lower the legs and head to the floor, while always keeping the knees straight. Allow the muscles to relax, and repeat.
Breathing: Breathe in deeply as you lift your head and legs and exhale as you lower your head and legs.
Kneel on the floor with the body erect. The hands should be placed on the backs of your thigh muscles. Incline the head and neck forward, tucking your chin in against your chest. Then throw the head and neck backward, arching the spine. Your toes should be curled under through this exercise. As you arch, you will brace your arms and hands against your thighs for support. After the arching return your body to an erect position and begin the rite all over again.
Breathing: Inhale as you arch the spine and exhale as you return back to an erect position.
Sit down on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you and your feet about 12" apart. With the trunk of the body erect, place the palms of your hands on the floor alongside your buttocks. Then tuck the chin forward against the chest. Now drop the head backward as far as it will go. At the same time raise your body so that the knees bend while the arms remain straight. Then tense every muscle in your body. Finally let the muscles relax as you return to your original sitting position. Rest before repeating this Rite.
Breathing: Breathe in as you raise up, hold your breath as you tense the muscles, and breathe out fully as you come down.
Lie down with your face down to the floor. You will be supported by the hands palms down against the floor and the toes in the flexed position. Throughout this rite, the hands and feet should be kept straight. Start with your arms perpendicular to the Floor, and the spine arched, so that the body Is in a sagging position. Now throw the head back as far as possible. The, bending at the hips, bring the body up into an inverted "V". At the same time, bring the chin forward, tucking it against the chest.
Breathing: Breathe in deeply as you raise the body, and exhale fully as you lower the body.
See the positions at: http://www.10ac.com/five_tibetan_postures.htm
And a quick little video at: http://community.yogajournal.com/_Five-Tibetans-Teachers-Doing-21-Repeti...
(Thank you Carolinda Witt in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia for the graphic of the positions.