Earlier in the year went to Nepal to try and get a quick fix of zen and culture but thanks to a hectic schedule it feels like a lifetime ago!! All I am left with is brief indulging moments staring at my photos remembering the fresh (i.e. freezing) mountain air, the hours of stair climbing, the awesome people I met along the way and the daily yoga practice.

There was one particular yoga session that has stayed with me and I have been meaning to explore. Our teacher (complete with shaved head and permanent content smile) took us through a routine a little different from the modern yoga we have become accustom to called the “Five Tibetan Rites”.

I have read about this simple 2,5000 year old routine in the past but to be able to actually practice this deep in the mountains was kind of perfect.

While demonstrating the movements our teacher told us the five Exercises are for Healing, Rejuvenation, and Longevity and have been practiced by Tibetan monks for centuries helping to keep them youthful.

According to author Peter Kelder who penned the book called ‘The Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth’ the benefits of the “Five Tibetan Rites” include

  • Slow aging and turning back the clock (goodby Oil Of Olay..)
  • Increase energy
  • Calm the mind
  • Strengthen the body
  • Improve mental clarity and focus
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve strength and flexibility
  • Improve breathing
  • Strengthen lower back core muscles

Performing the five rites with 21 repetitions each will take you from 10 to 20 minutes, and it is best to do it every day to reap the benefits. If the exercises are done less than six days each week, the results will be greatly reduced (meaning no fountain of youth results.)

If you want to see video demonstrations just type it into youtube, but finding one with out bad music may be a challenge.. here is one I have found that takes you through each movement. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cI39FzXHou8

First Rite

Stand with your arms stretched out at shoulder level and your palms facing down. Look directly ahead and spin in a clockwise direction. Allow your vision to blur when you spin. Breathe in and out deeply as you spin. Stop if you begin to feel dizzy; increase your number of daily spins up to 21 gradually.

Second Rite

Lie flat on your back, face and palms up. Extend your arms and legs fully. Your palms should be pressed against the floor, with your fingers close together. Keeping your legs together, begin to inhale and simultaneously raise your head and legs of the floor. Keep your knees straight. Lift your legs as high as possible toward your head, then relax and slowly lower your legs and head while exhaling. Perform up to 21 repetitions.

Third Rite

Kneel on the floor with spine erect. Position your hands on the sides of your thighs. Drop your head and neck down to your chest, tucking your chin in. Inhale while raising your head and extend your neck and head backward, arching your spine. Support your weight by pressing your hands against your thighs. Return to the starting position, exhaling as you do so. Repeat up to 21 times.

Fourth Rite

Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Your feet should be around shoulder-width apart. Position your hands at the sides of your body, with the palms flat on the ground and fingers pointing forward. Drop your chin toward your chest, begin inhaling and raise your body off the ground, bending your knees as you do so. Your arms should remain straight. Continue to lift your buttocks until your torso and thighs are parallel to the floor. Return to your starting position while exhaling. Repeat the rite up to 21 times.

Fifth Rite

Lie on the floor, with your feet and hands in the same position as if your were to perform pushups. Inhale, while raising your head, supporting your weight with your arms. Only your toes and hands should be touching the floor. Arch your back and tilt your head back as far as possible. While continuing to inhale, raise your hips until your body is in an inverted “V” position. Your legs and back should remain straight. Lower your hips back toward the floor while exhaling. Return to the previous position with your back arched and your head tilted back. Repeat up to 21 times.

So I am not promising you will look 10 years younger but if you do manage to practice this every morning you WILL feel great – it is also perfect for the time poor and less ‘limber’ folks who aren’t ready to face a power yoga class!