The Five Tibetan poses target the body’s endocrine system, with the aim of regulating hormone output and helping to slow ageing. Relatively easy to complete, the routine can be done in under 20 minutes. The sequence has been attributed to an increase in strength, suppleness and mental acuity – even for yoga newcomers. Before you begin the Rites, it is important to prepare the body.
Yoga instructor Charlotte Dodson says the following warm-up rites should be done slowly, taking your time to build up to complete at least 10 repetitions of this five-pose-sequence. Once you feel comfortable doing these five moves 10 times you can then move on to your full Tibetan Rite series.
As with all Tibetan exercises, synchronising your breathing while performing physical activity is vital. Dodson advises to breathe as mindfully and as evenly as you can, allowing every breath to count. Holding poses for longer durations will also aid your inner strength. Remember, this is preparation for the full Tibetan Rites.
WARM-UP RITE 1
Open your stance with feet about hip-distance apart and your legs grounded. [A] Stretch your arms out and turn your upper body to the right, touching your left hand to your right shoulder. [B] Then turn to your left with your right hand touching your left shoulder. [C] Gently inhale and exhale with every alternate turn, then slowly return back to centre.
WARM-UP RITE 2
[A] Lie flat on to the floor, face up and press down through your palms. Your chin should be pointed towards your throat, and legs strong. [B] Lift your chest and chin first, then slowly lift your legs, pressing down through your palms and forearms. Draw your abdomen in and hold for 20 seconds, breathing deeply. Slowly lower yourself back down to the floor as you exhale.
NOTE If your lower back starts to feel sore while you are in the raised position, you can bend your knees.
WARM-UP RITE 3
[A] Stand with feet hip-distance apart and press buttocks onto the wall. Press down through your feet and spread your toes widely. As you exhale lower the buttocks down against the wall, hands on thighs. Press down through your lower abdomen. [B] Draw through your belly, roll shoulders back and hold for 15 seconds. Make sure your knees aren’t going past your ankles. After 15 seconds, press hands against the wall, come up and lean forward, grabbing hold of your ankles. Slowly move back and place buttocks against the wall, roll shoulders back and exhale. Keep legs parallel to the floor. Repeat.
WARM-UP RITE 4
[A] Lie on the floor, knees bent, and press down through your hands making sure your legs are loose. Hold for one breath. [B] Lift your abdomen towards the sky; tuck your chin in towards your throat and hold, breathing long and deeply through your nose for 15 seconds, keeping your spine long. You should feel your inner thighs activate. Lower yourself slowly, pressing on your palms.
NOTE Take as much rest time as you need in between these moves and move your upper body from side to side.
WARM-UP RITE 5
Lie on the mat face down, hands flat by your shoulders, raise onto on all fours. [A] Press your palms out and down. [B] Tuck your toes under and spread your fingers widely. Take a few deep breaths. Inhale and lift hips up towards the sky. With head down, roll through your shoulders, draw your abdomen in and squeeze your knees. Don’t let your shoulders sink. Hold your hips high, creating a V-shape with your body. Take long deep breaths and hold for 15 seconds. Drop down to your knees, look forward and rest between reps.