The 5 Tibetan exercises (rites)
The human body is more complicated than you ever imagined. Above our physical, material body, made of flesh and bones, there is a vital energy that Hindus call it prana. In Hindu philosophy, including yoga and Indian medicine, prana encompasses all cosmic energy. Prana is often referred to as the “force of life” or “energy of life”. It also includes energies present in soulless objects.
Prana circulates throughout the body through a series of different channels, which are called nadi (translated as “tube,” “channel” or “flow”). Our physical body will feel better or worse depending on the energy that flows through it. Chakras are energy centers where energy is concentrated. Therefore, in order for our body to remain healthy, these chakras must be balanced and energy must flow through them effortlessly. In other words, improving our energy allows our body to be healthy.
The old Tibetan monks, who knew a lot about chakras and prana, had several exercises to balance the chakras, in order to maintain good health. In the West, this exercise system is described as “The 5 Tibetan exercises for a long lasting youth”.
The first Tibetan exercise:
Stand upright, arms outstretched, raised to the shoulders. Now, turn around until you become a little dizzy. There is only one aspect: you must turn from left to right.
Benefit: The main reason for performing this exercise is to excel the spinning speed of the chakras in the body. That will ensure smooth functioning of the glands and make our body robust.
The second Tibetan exercise:
Lie on the floor or on the bed. Place your hands down with your hip. From this position, raise your feet up, upright. If possible, allow your feet to rise even higher, over the body, to the head, but do not allow your knees to bend. Hold this position for a second or two and then slowly lower your feet to the floor; for the next few seconds allow the muscles of the whole body to relax completely. Then perform the exercise again.
Benefit: Just like a core body workout, this would strengthen the core muscles and that of the legs too. This pose activates the chakras and induces heightened energy and vitality in the body.
Third Tibetan exercise:
Kneel on a rug, holding hands sideways, on hips. Then, rotate your head back and forth and lean forward as much as possible, bending at the waist. Do this a few times, then relax as much as possible.
Benefit: This exercise mobilizes the mid body, strengthens core as well as stimulates the solar plexus, heart, and throat chakras.
Fourth Tibetan exercise:
Sit down, with your feet outstretched. The legs should be perfectly stretched and the back straight. Place your hands with your hands down, near your hips. Then, raise your body slightly, bending your knees, but keeping your soles of the feet on the floor, but also your hands. Lift your body up to your shoulders, tilting your head horizontally. Hold this position for a few moments, return to the first position and relax for a few moments before performing the exercise again.
Benefit: A little difficult to perform, this pose works on the same chakras as exercise 3. It strengthens the body, opens up the chakra and infuses vigor and energy at every step.
Fifth Tibetan exercise:
Lie down, with your belly down, and place your hands on the floor, with your legs stretched out towards the back, from which you rest; the body is horizontal, holding it with the hands and feet. From this position, raise your bottom up, keeping the position of your feet and hands steady. At the same time, the head is down, touching the chin on the floor. Then, return to the starting position, relaxing.
Benefit: This exercise creates strength and suppleness in the body and normalizes the flow of the chakras.
NOTE: Do only what you feel comfortable doing. You can start by only one of each exercise for the first week. Build up to two of each exercise the second week, three of each rites the following week, etc. or at a faster pace only if your body does not hurt when you do these exercises.
image from fractalenlightenment