In the Western world, people are starting to embrace ancient practices like yoga and Tai Chi. These forms are great for adding stretching to your fitness routine! Yet, it might be missing something even more effective: the five Tibetan rites!
This set of Tibetan exercises is more than 2,500 years old, but it wasn’t publicized until Peter Kelder published a book called “The Eye of Revelation” in 1939. The “rites” are similar to yoga but involve a more continuous movement.1
As for the physical benefits? These moves work all your muscles, helping you avoid a sedentary lifestyle. It’s a major step toward preventing chronic disease and early death!2 All it takes is 10 minutes and a mat. To get started, check out this breakdown of The Five Tibetan Rites.
1. First Rite
You might wonder, “What’s the point of spinning?” Spinning is thought to promote healthy chakras, our body’s energy centers and also gets your blood flowing and heart pumping. Plus, this playful move brings out the kid in you, which is never a bad thing.
- Stand up straight with your arms outstretched.
- They should be horizontal to the shoulders.
- Spin from left to right only. The other direction isn’t encouraged.
- Continue until you’re just slightly dizzy.
To stabilize the spinning, focus on the tip of your right hand.3
2. Second Rite
If you’ve been sitting or standing all day, this exercise will feel great. The abs, pelvic muscles, and hip flexors will get a workout.
- Lie down on your back.
- Lay your hands next to your hips, palms facing down.
- Slightly turn the fingers on each hand toward each other.
- On the next inhale, raise your head and legs at the same time.
- Stretch your legs toward the head, if it feels good.
- Do not bend your knees. Keep your shoulders and hips flat on the mat.
- Hold for 1 or 2 breaths.
- Slowly lower your legs to the floor.
- Let your muscles relax and then repeat.
3. Third Rite
Dealing with tension in the back and neck? Then, this move is for you. It’ll also activate the thighs, knees, and butt.
- Kneel down. Place your palms against the sides of your legs.
- Bend forward at the waist, touching your chest with your chin.
- After a few breaths, curve your neck and move backward.
- Use your toes to prevent falling.
- Wait for a few breaths and then straighten up.
If kneeling down hurts, do it on a folded blanket or towel.
4. Fourth Rite
The fourth rite is similar to the reverse plank in yoga. This exercise works the core, back, arms, and legs. Even your spine will become stronger with this move.
- Sit on the floor, stretching out your legs in front of you.
- Keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Straighten your back.
- Place your palms on the floor, parallel to your body.
- On the next exhale, bend your head toward your chest.
- Inhale and throw your head back, using your arms to raise your torso.
- Straighten your arms and bend your legs into a right angle.
- Engage the core to strengthen the pose.
- After a few breaths, sit back down. Repeat.
5. Fifth Rite
Looks familiar? The fifth rite is like the downward dog pose in yoga. It’s a classic yoga move but essential to Tibetan exercises as well. You’ll work out all the muscles at once.
- Put your hands on the mat shoulder-width apart.
- Straighten your legs behind you, placing them slightly wider.
- Use the toes to let the body hover. Your knees and hips shouldn’t touch the floor.
- Stretch your head and move backward. Exhale.
- On the next inhale, lift your torso and hips to form a “V” shape.
- Bring your chin toward your chest.
- Straighten your legs, back, and arms.
For a 10-minute practice, do each rite for 2 minutes. Try 3 or 5 rounds during the first week. As you get stronger, do more and more. And don’t forget to breathe! Deeply inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. The oxygen flow will help your practice.