The Five Tibetan Rites

Crocheting takes energy and stamina. We recommend this great daily exercise routine that consists of five simple, yoga-like exercises (referred to as the Five Tibetan Rites). Following this regime routinely will give you lots of energy, tone and firm your body, and make you look and feel younger and more relaxed. Your goal is to build up to doing each movement 21 times and the full series of movements two to three times a day. The plan is to start with 7 repetitions of each movement once a day the first week and 14 repetitions of each once a day the second week, so that you are doing the full set of 21 reps once a day by the third week. Performing the five rites with 21 repetitions each will take you about 20 minutes.

These exercises work in conjunction with each other, so it is important to do all of them and in the order recommended. A good time to do this routine is in the morning, either before or after taking a shower. Practicing in the morning will give you more energy during the rest of the day. As you build to doing the routine more than once a day, you might want to do another series of the exercises when you get home in the evening. You’ll feel better before unwinding for the night and have a more restful sleep.

Don’t rush through the routine; you will have better results if you practice the rites slowly and breathe deeply and rhythmically during and between each repetition. Also, it turns out that doing more than 21 repetitions is not useful — 21 reps seem to be the magic number when doing these exercises.

Exercise 1 (the Spin): Stand tall and raise your arms up to shoulder height, horizontal to the floor, with palms facing the floor. Slowly spin around clockwise (from left to right). Look directly in front of you, do not focus on any one point, just let your vision blur as you spin. When you stop, hold onto something or kneel down on the floor and breathe deeply until the dizziness passes. I find that closing my eyes and just breathing deeply helps the dizziness pass.

Exercise 2 (the Leg Lift): Lie flat on the floor, facing up. Extend your arms along your sides and place the palms of your hands against the floor, keeping the fingers close together. Raise your head off the floor, tucking your chin against your chest and start to lift your legs, knees straight, into a vertical position. Then, slowly lower both the head and the legs, knees straight, to the floor. Allow all the muscles to relax, continue breathing in the same rhythm. Breathe in deeply as you lift your legs and breathe out as you lower your legs.

Exercise 3 (the Camel): Kneel on the floor, with the body vertical, knees under hips, toes and tops of feet flat on the floor, and your arms next to your sides. First, bend your head forward, tucking your chin against your chest. Then, bend your head and neck backward while arching your spine (basically, you are doing a back bend). As you arch, brace your arms and hands against your thighs for support. Return to the original position before starting over again. Breathe in deeply as you arch your spine; breathe out as you return to the original position.

Exercise 4 (the Table Top): Sit down on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you and your feet about 12 inches apart. Place the palms of your hands on the floor alongside your hips. Then, tuck your chin forward against your chest. Now, drop your head backwards as you raise your body so that your feet are on the floor, the knees are bent, while the arms remain straight, like a table top. Your trunk will be in a straight line with the upper legs, horizontal to the floor. Keep your feet pointing straight, and don’t let your knees splay out. Hold for a moment, then slowly return to the original sitting position before repeating. Breathe in as you rise up, hold your breath as you hold the position, then breathe out completely as you come down.

Exercise 5 (the Down Dog): Lie flat on the floor, facing down. Bring your hands up by your shoulders, palms down against the floor, and flex your toes. Pushing with your hands and toes, come into a plank position (as though you were getting ready to do a push up). Now, bending at the hips, bring your body up into an upside-down or inverted “V”. Try to keep your legs straight and bring your heels down, keep your arms straight, and try to keep your head in between your arms. Now straighten out back into a plank position, then repeat the V position. Breathe in deeply as you move into the V; breathe out as you lower back down.

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