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“Fountain of Youth” - The 5 Tibetan Rites

A lot has been said about morning routines and rituals, so you have probably noticed that applying any to our morning, sets you up to improve our whole day, helping us to be more present, grounded and relaxed. I would like to share with you the practice I have used a lot in these previous years — it is simple, yet I find it effective and beneficial for overall wellbeing.

Ideally, we would start our day with the sunrise and an alkalising warm drink of lemon water or apple cider vinegar; journalling or any other contemplation methods that you might find useful and inspiring; go for a walk or a run in nature; meditate; practice yoga, or maybe some exercise. It’s not uncommon to sometimes be unable to find the time to manage to have a cup of coffee before it is time to go to work, or to take the children to school.

Our habits and routines keep changing throughout life as do our needs, priorities, responsibilities and obligations, in the same way our morning routines changes with the seasons, days and years. I would like to share the practice I have been using, when I’ve only had a few minutes in the morning and have been lacking energy to start the day.

Sometimes, my body benefits from performing the traditional 21 repetitions, and other times it benefits from doing 3 repetitions of each posture.

Sometimes, I benefit from a less-is-more approach and being gentle to my body, when other times my body craves movement and stretches.

Listen to your body’s needs and let it speak to you. We all have the wisdom of deep knowing inside, intuition to give ourselves what we need in certain times and knowledge to follow the path that we seek.

The ‘5 Tibetan Rites’ is a series of 5 exercises, which traditionally are performed 21 times daily. It is a series of yoga postures, said to be more than 2500 years old and used by Tibetan monks as a part of their health maintaining routine.

They have been brought to public and popularised by Peter Kelder in 1939, when he published the book called ‘The Eye of Revelation’.

An exact origin of practice remains unknown, however the story claims that they have been shared and practiced by Tibetan lamas, to keep the body young, healthy and joyful.

What are the potential benefits of the regular practice?

Improving memory

Improves flexibility, strength and coordination

Keeping the body youthful

Better sleep

Can help with joint pain and arthritis

Detoxification and increased circulation

Helps with emotional and mental wellbeing

How and when to practice?

The practice is best performed in the morning on an empty stomach, or at least 2 hours after a meal, as it is very energising and boosts the metabolism. Move slowly and with full awareness, using the breath as a guide and avoiding momentum, prioritising moving with strength and control.

Make sure you find a nice comfortable place to start your practice, and take some slow, deep, welcoming breaths to begin.

Traditionally, every 1 of the 5 asanas (postures), should be practiced 21 times.

However, that amount of repetitions does requires some strength and stamina from the body, so make sure you build-up towards 21 repetitions correctly; start with a small amount of equal repetitions daily, gradually increasing the amount you can do, in time. For example, start with 3-5 repetition of each exercise daily, then work towards 7, and then 9-10, etc — working towards 21 repetitions. Remember, it is a lifetime practice, so don’t hurry to get to 21 from the beginning, and allow the process to unfold naturally. That way, you’ll be able to gradually increase your strength and stamina, without putting your body under too much pressure.

Less repetitions may also be perfect for your morning routine, as committing to a long practice sometimes just isn’t possible with the business of life.

What’s important is consistency: a little bit every day.

Always listen to your body and use the breath as a guide. Breathing with your belly (diaphragm), moving with your breath, and breathing into each posture.

Rite 1:

Start in a standing position, feet hips-distance apart and arms stretched out to the side — this will bring your body into a T-shape. With palms facing down, keep your arms in-line with the shoulders, and face relaxed.