For many centuries, the Tibetan monks kept the 5 Tibetan Rites a secret from the rest of the world. Only in 1938, with the publication of the book “The Eye of Revelation” about the teachings and five exercises of Tibetan monks written by Peter Kelder, this amazing technique became available for people all over the world. Millions of people have learned about the existence of 19 energy centers located in the joints along with discovering the ability to circulate energy throughout the body that was previously muted by diseases and improper lifestyles. All of this helps to improve well-being and rejuvenate the body.
What are the 5 Tibetan Rites? How do you practice this technique? Is this set of exercises suitable for everyone and is it really effective? We will answer all these questions in this article!
5 Tibetan Rites: What Is It?
The Five Tibetan Rites is an ancient system of exercises reported to be more than 2,500 years old. This system consists of a sequence of five exercises performed 21 times a day.
This Tibetan system has a beneficial effect on the physical and energy state of the human body. This is a unique method of healing and recovery, a method of rejuvenation of all systems and organs of the human body that is focused on improving the work of energy meridians.
Practitioners report that this system has many physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. This practice is aimed to restore a person’s vitality and strength. Due to these benefits, the Five Tibetan Rites are also known as the “Fountain of Youth.”
The exercises included in the 5 Tibetan Rites system work out all muscle groups and main joints, as well as activate the circulatory, lymphatic and hormonal systems.
Each exercise has its purpose:
- Activates energy channels, develops the vestibular apparatus, strengthens the cardiovascular system, improves venous outflow.
- Has a healing effect on the kidneys, thyroid, digestive organs, genitals; strengthens the muscles of the spine, legs, improves the blood supply and nutrition of the intervertebral discs and the entire spinal canal.
- Effective for irregular menstruation, menopause, back pain, neck pain, congestion in the sinuses; stretches the muscles of the front surface of the body.
- Strengthens the deep back muscles that straighten the spine.
- Improves the work of the circulatory system and strengthens the vessels of the brain, shoulder joints.
Although the Rites have circulated amongst yogis for decades, skeptics say that Tibetans have never recognized them as being an authentic Tibetan practice. Therefore, it is important to take a closer look at what is known about the origin of this practice.
Peter Kelder, the author of the book “The Eye of Revelation”, seems to be the only link to this system. But nothing is really known about Peter Kelder. Some sources report that he was raised as an adopted child in the United States and left home when he was a teenager in search of adventure. In the 1930s, Kelder claims to have met a retired British army colonel in southern California, who shared with him stories of travel and the discovery of the Five Tibetan Rites.
The results of the conversations with the colonel were published in the 32-page booklet.
Despite the existing disputes about the origin of the Five Tibetan Rites between practitioners and skeptics, a comparison of illustrations of the postures shows a remarkable similarity between the Rites and authentic Tibetan ‘phrul ‘khor exercises from a system rendered into English as Vajra Body Magical Wheel Sun and Moon Union.
However, it has been noted, that even though these comparisons are compelling, a closer examination reveals that these similarities could be misleading.
Chris Kilham, the author of the book The Five Tibetans says, “As the story has it, they were shared by Tibetan lamas; beyond that, I know nothing of their history.”
Even though the historic lineage of the 5 Tibetan Rites before the publication of Kelder’s booklet remains to be ascertained, this practice has nevertheless been affirmed by a lama and scholar of the Sakya tradition of Tibetan Buddhism as being a genuine form of yoga and was originally taken from an authentic Indo-Tibetan tantric lineage, namely a cycle of yantra-yoga associated with the Sadnadapadadharma.
However, it has been argued that the Five Rites predate yoga as we know it today by as much as seven hundred years or more and, therefore, could not have derived from either Tibetan or Indian forms of yoga.
Some experts assume that the 5 Tibetan Rites could be originated from a system of Kum Nye which, like the Rites, date back 2,500 years. However, Chris Kilham states that “the issue at hand, though, is not the lineage of the Five Tibetans. The point is their immense potential value for those who will clear 10 minutes a day to practice.”
Benefits of the 5 Tibetan Rites
Regular practice of the 5 Tibetan Rites is very beneficial for the four body systems:
#1: Musculoskeletal system
Tibetan yoga helps to cope with scoliosis and osteochondrosis. When performed regularly, there is a decrease in pain caused by arthritis.
#2: Reproductive system
In women, who regularly engage in this practice, the menstrual cycle is normalized and the probability of conception increases. In men, the erectile function gets normalized.
#3: Gastrointestinal tract
The digestion is normalized. The absorption of useful substances from food improves.
#4: Immune system
Increases resistance to colds and viruses. Congestion in the sinuses and bronchi is eliminated.
- reduced anxiety;
- relief from joint pain;
- better circulation;
- improved strength and coordination;
- better sleep;
- improved energy;
- a youthful appearance.
Moreover, regular practice of these exercises contributes to the development of willpower. Therefore, it is recommended for people who are fighting addictions. After 2-3 weeks of regular practice, the addiction decreases.
The complex is based on the balanced combination of physical actions, purification of one’s own thoughts, and harmonization of the energy flows. To achieve harmony, which becomes the main goal of almost any Eastern teaching, we need to learn how to correctly combine all of the above.
How to do the Five Tibetan Rites?
Though each rite is meant to be practiced 21 times a day, you can start with doing this practice less frequently. During the first week, practice each rite 3 times a day. During the second week, add 2 more repetitions per rite. Continue adding 2 repetitions per rite each week until you’re doing 21 rounds of each rite every day.
The purpose of the first rite is to speed up the energy movement in the chakras. It’s common for beginners to feel dizzy during this exercise.
- Stand up straight.
- Stretch your arms outward until they’re parallel with the floor.
- Face your palms down.
- Slowly spin your body in a clockwise direction. Don’t bend your head forward. Keep your eyes open.
Repeat for 1-21 times.
- Keep spinning until you feel slightly dizzy. But don’t overdo! Excessive spinning may overstimulate your chakras.
- When performing this rite, not only physical sensations are important, but also the internal feeling. Listen to the movement of energy vortexes and set the mindset that your body is cleansed, becomes healthier and stronger.
The second rite has two opposite effects on energy flows. On the one hand, it significantly increases the speed of rotation of energy vortexes. On the other hand, it is intended to stabilize them.
- Lie flat on your back.
- Place your arms at your sides, and your palms on the floor.
- Inhale and lift your head, moving your chin toward your chest. Simultaneously raise your legs straight up, keeping your knees straight.
- Exhale and slowly lower your head and legs to the starting position.
- Lie still until your muscles relax.
Repeat for 1-21 times.
- If you have difficulty straightening your knees, bend them as needed. Try to straighten them each time you perform the rite.
- As you do this exercise, try to feel the energy flowing through you with each breath you take. In the interval between repetitions, imagine how, as the muscles relax, the body is filled with vitality.
The third of the five Tibetan rites is aimed at working out the Central energy axis. The ascending energy flow passes along the vertebral column, and the descending energy flow — in the area of the sacrum.
- Kneel on the floor, knees shoulder-width apart and hips aligned over your knees.
- Straighten your trunk and place your palms on the back of your thighs, below your buttocks.
- Inhale and drop your head back, arching your spine to open your chest.
- Exhale and drop your head forward, moving your chin toward your chest. Keep your hands on your thighs during the entire rite.
- Return to the starting position, slowly filling your lungs with air.
Repeat for 1-21 times.
- You can also practice this rite while closing your eyes, which helps you focus inward.
- Focus on your breathing. With every exhale, imagine that you’re releasing all your blocks, negative emotions, and worries that are accumulated inside.
The fourth rite involves creating the effect of “energy swings”. By tensing your muscles during the exercise, you start the movement of energy through your body. By relaxing, you mute this activity.
- Sit on the floor and extend your legs straight ahead, feet shoulder-width apart.
- Put your palms on the floor at your sides, fingers facing forward.
- Straighten your trunk.
- Drop your chin toward your chest. Inhale and gently drop your head back.
- Simultaneously lift your hips and bend your knees until you’re in a tabletop position, with your head gently tilted back. Contract your muscles and hold your breath.
- Exhale, relax your muscles and return to starting position.
Repeat for 1-21 times.
- Combine performing this rite with rhythmic breathing.
- Your hands and heels should stay in place during the entire exercise.
- If the body is weakened, do a simplified version of the exercise. Just lift the pelvis off the floor. Each time, try to lift your body higher and higher above the floor.
The 5 Tibetan Rites train not only the spirit but also the physical body. The last exercise is the most difficult and requires maximum concentration.
- Sit on the floor with your legs crossed.
- Plant your palms in front of you.
- Extend your feet behind you, toes curled and shoulder-width apart.
- Straighten your arms and arch your spine while keeping the tops of your legs on the ground.
- Drop your head back into Upward-Facing Dog.
- Then, inhale and lift your hips, moving your body into an upside-down “V” shape.
- Move your chin toward your chest and straighten your back into Downward-Facing Dog.
- Exhale and move back into Upward-Facing Dog.
Repeat for 1-21 times.
- This rite requires a steady breathing rhythm.
- Despite the fact that the exercise is static, it takes a lot of energy. Return to the starting position and catch your breath. To repeat, proceed only when the breath is restored.
Like all exercise programs, the Five Tibetan Rites should be done with care. Start with gentle movements and a low number of repetitions. Consider five key points:
#1: Don’t make breaks in your training
If you are thinking about practicing the 5 Tibetan Rites, be prepared for the fact that you will always have to practice it. Exercises produce a cumulative effect, but when canceled, it doesn’t stay at the same level. After cancellation, the energy flows can degrade even more than they were in the beginning state.
Despite the fact that training can not be canceled or paused, circumstances do not always allow us to complete the practice. Therefore, it is allowed to periodically take breaks of one or two days.
#2: Relax in the end of the practice
After completing the last rite, lie down for a while with your eyes closed, so that the energy flows are harmonized. To help yourself relax, you can turn on meditation music.
#3: Take a shower
After the practice, it is recommended to take a warm bath or shower. If you don’t have time for this, just rub your skin with a damp towel.
#4: Do not overdo
Do exactly as many repetitions of the rites as your body allows.
Before you start a new rite, make sure you take a pause. Stand up straight, put your hands on your waist, and wait for your breathing to recover.
Can Anybody Practice the Five Tibetan Rites?
Despite all the benefits that this practice provides, if you have certain health problems, these exercises can cause harm to your body.
Some coaches and yoga practitioners are convinced that the Five Tibetan Rites practice is not intended for women. They explain this by the fact that the complex was developed by male monks taking into account their physiological characteristics. However, experimentally was proven that this practice if equally beneficial for both, men and women.
It is not recommended to practice the 5 Tibetan Rites if you:
- have a fever;
- are pregnant;
- have high blood pressure;
- are on a risk of a heart attack;
- have hernia of the spine;
- have menstruation;
- are breastfeeding.
- If you’re prone to dizziness, talk to a doctor before trying this practice. The spinning motion may aggravate various conditions, including vertigo, circulatory issues, or nausea.
- The practice may cause complications if you’ve had surgery within the last 6 months.
- Disorders like Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis can cause poor balance. If you have one of these conditions, this practice may not be safe for you.
- Before trying these exercises, talk to your doctor to find out if they’re safe for you to practice.
If you have a health condition or are new to exercise, be sure to check with your doctor before trying these moves.