- Here is a simple guide to practice the Five Tibetans. This is an ideal practice if you only have 20 minutes!
The 5 Tibetans were rediscovered in 1976 by an American yoga teacher named Christopher S. Kilham. It is said that this yoga was practiced high in the Himalayas by Tibetans lamas in monasteries. According to the legend, this yoga was called the Five Rites of Rejuvenation as it was reputed to strengthen the body, enhance energy, regenerate the body and mind, and slow down the aging process. This system of movement opens up the body/mind energy system and seems to balance energy in a way that has not been experienced with any other individual yoga method or set of yoga practices. They are simple to learn and can be easily practiced at home once learned.
The Five Tibetans stimulate full energy flow through the chakras and activate the corresponding nerves, organs and glands. These exercises tone and strengthen the major muscle groups, in particular the abdominal muscles. Once you are familiar with the exercises this practice only takes 15-20 minutes (including the final relaxation).
The Five Tibetans are ideally practiced twenty-one times each. Oddly enough, there is no need to exceed twenty-one repetitions as the desired effect of the Five Tibetans is achieved at that number. There’s no harm in performing a greater numbers, but it simply isn’t necessary. Most people need to work up to that number of repetitions, so don’t be concerned if it is difficult to practice the full complement from the start. It takes nearly every beginner a month or longer to work up to the full twenty-one repetitions.
In the beginning, start out with five, ten or twelve repetitions of each exercise. Build your practice at your own pace. Take your time each time you practice with as much precision as possible. Even as you are building up to twenty-one repetitions of each exercise, you will start to feel stronger and more energetic.
TIBETAN # 1
Stand up straight with your arms outstretched to the sides. Fingers are together, palms are open and facing downward. Holding this arm position, spin full circle in a clockwise direction. If you were to turn your head to the right, that is the direction in which you want to spin. Repeat the spin twenty-one times without stopping. Try tilting your head slightly to one side-it helps with the dizziness.
When you finish spinning, stand with your feet together and your hands on your hips. Take a full deep breath, inhaling through the nose. Exhale through the mouth with your lips pursed in an “O”. Repeat the inhale and exhale, completing two full breaths before moving on to Tibetan # 2.
You may experience some dizziness when you first practice this exercise. Be careful, and don’t push it. This exercise strengthens the vestibular apparatus, the balance mechanism residing in the inner ear. With regular practice the dizziness will stop and the spin will become easy and fluid, even at s very fast speed. This is the same motion practiced by Islamic Dervishes, Sufi mystics who twirl at rapid speeds for long periods of time. These mystics are known as “whirling Dervishes”.
TIBETAN # 2
Start by lying on your back with your legs straight and touching and your ankles flexed (toes pointing to the ceiling). Place your arms by your sides with the palms flat on the floor. Inhale through the nose, lift your legs a little past a ninety-degree angle, and raise your head, tucking your chin into your chest. This is all done in one smooth motion. Your toes point toward the sky, your lower back should remain flat on the ground. Exhale through either your nose or mouth, bringing your legs and head down to the starting position – completely flat on the ground. Repeat the entire motion twenty-one times, inhaling as you raise your legs and head, exhaling as you bring them down. When you are finished, return to a standing position with your feet together and hands on hips. Take two full, deep breaths, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth, with your lips pursed in an “O”.
TIBETAN # 3
Kneel with the balls of your feet resting on the ground (feet flexed). Your knees should be about
four inches apart, the same width as your hips. Place your palms against the backs of your thighs just below the buttocks. To begin your spine is straight with your chin tucked into your chest.Inhale through the nose, arching back from the waist. Drop your head as far back as you comfortably can (your hands will support you as you lean back). To come back up, exhale through either the nose or mouth, as you return to the starting position. Repeat the entire motion twenty-one times in a steady, unbroken rhythm. When you finish, stand with your feet together and your hands on your hips.
Take two full deep breath inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth, with your lips pursed in an “O”.
TIBETAN # 4
Sit up straight with your legs outstretched in front of you. Place the palms of your hands flat on the ground beside your hips. Positioning of the hands is very important; they must be placed exactly alongside the hips. Tuck your chin into your chest. Inhaling through the nose, raise your hips as you bend your knees, bringing the soles of your feet flat to the ground and dropping your head all the way back. This is know as table pose. You will come into a position in which the trunk is parallel to the ground while the arms and legs are perpendicular. Exhale through either the nose or mouth as you come down to the starting position. Repeat this motion twenty-one times in a steady unbroken rhythm. Do not let you feet slide. The feet should stay in the same place through this whole exercise. Also the arms should not bend; the movement is instead accomplished by rotating at the shoulders. A modification is to put your hands on two yoga blocks to make this a little easier. When you finish, stand with your feet together and your hands on your hips. Take two full, deep breaths, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth, with your lips pursed in an “O”.
TIBETAN # 5
Begin this exercise by supporting yourself on the palms of your hand and the balls of your feet. Both the arms and the legs are about two feet apart. The starting position is known as PLANK pose. Straighten your arms and your legs and prepare to begin moving back and forth from Upward Facing Dog to Downward Facing Dog. Breathing in through the nose, lift your hips up and back into Downward Facing Dog tucking the chin slightly in towards the chest, and then exhale out through either the mouth or the nose as you glide forward into Upward Facing Dog, lifting the chin. Except for the palms of your hands and the balls of your feet, your body remains off the ground during the entirety of this exercise, and your arms and legs do not bend at all. Repeat the entire motion twenty-one times in a smooth, unbroken rhythm. When you finish, stand with your feet together and your hands on your hips. Take two full, deep breaths, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth, with your lips pursed in an “O.
After completing all the Tibetans, lay on your back and totally relax, starting by relaxing the toes, the ankles, the knees, the tights, the hips, the stomach, the solar plexus, the lungs, the shoulders, the fingers, the elbows, the neck, the base of the skull, the jaws, the chin, the cheekbones, the mouth, the tongue, the nose, the eyes, the eyebrows, the forehead, the hair, and feel your crown chakras glowing on top of your head. Stay relaxed for a couple of minutes to reap of the benefit of the yoga you just performed. Then turn on your right using your right arm as a pillow for your head and slowly come back to a seated position. You are done!