These 5 yoga exercises (known as the 5 Tibetan Rites or simply the 5 Tibetans) are a fast, simple and easy way to get some exercise throughout your day. The benefits of these exercises are a strengthened and properly aligned spine, as well as improved blood circulation and overall wellness.
I would recommend you do these exercises at least twice a day, 3-4 times if possible. You should not exceed 21 repetitions of each exercise per session. For beginners I would recommend no more then 5 repetitions of each exercise per session until you get more practice.
Rite 1: Stand upright, extend your arms at shoulder level away from your body and spin clockwise (if looking at a clock face on the floor). Keep your eyes looking immediately in front of you, do not focus on any one point, let your vision blur as you spin. Turn up to 21 times or until you feel unstable or dizzy.
Breathing: breath in and out of your stomach. An opera singer, stage actor/actress or yogi experiences the benefit of breathing from this point of the body. When you stop spinning, breath even more deeply from your stomach until your head stops spinning and your balance returns to normal.
Tips and Recommendations: Work your way up to 21 spins. Speed is not so important, just try to spin 21 times and stop.
Rite 2: Lay down on your back with your arms to your side, palms up, keep your legs straight, begin your inhalation, raise your legs off the ground until as high as possible and pick your head off the ground, bending your neck with your chin falling toward your chest. Begin your exhalation and return to laying flat on the ground. Repeat up to 21 times.
Breath In: Raising your legs and head
Breath Out: Lowering your legs and head
Tips and Recommendations: When starting out, bend your legs until your stomach strengthens. Place your hand palm down, under your buttocks to support your lower spine if you feel discomfort. As you progress, straighten your legs and try to raise and lower them at the same speed. Once you have worked up to 21 repetitions, try to move at a nice steady rhythm without stops.
Rite 2 animated:
Rite 3: Kneel with your legs together, arms extended, palms of your hands on the side of your thighs, drop your chin to your chest, begin your inhalation, raise your head and lean back, move your hands to the back of your thighs and let them drop lower and support your weight, crane your head and neck backward, relax your lower spine. Begin your exhalation, start to come forward back to kneeling position with your head back up in the straight position. Repeat up to 21 times.
Breath In: Going backward
Breath Out: Coming forward
Tips and Recommendations: When you start this exercise, use the weight of your head to come forward instead of forcing your chin to your chest with your muscles. When you lean back, avoid craning your neck, simple let it drop with its own weight. Eventually, you can bring your shoulder blades towards each other when your in the back position. Keep a steady movement while going backward and forward. Keep your eyes open to keep your balance. Later, try the movement with your eyes closed to feel the difference and see if you can relax even more in the backward position.
Rite 3 animated:
Rite 4: Sit on the floor, legs a little less than shoulder length apart, arms to your sides with hands extended flat on the ground and fingers pointed forward, drop your head toward your chest, begin your inhalation, raise your buttocks off the ground while bending your knees, shift your weight to your arms/hands and legs/feet, continue to raise your buttocks until your truck and thighs are parallel to the ground, let your head fall back. Begin your exhalation and return to sitting position with your head dropped forward. Repeat up to 21 times.
Breath In: Raising off the ground
Breath Out: Returning back to sitting position
Tips and Recommendations: When you begin this exercise, just try to get from the starting to ending posture. It’s easier to do it than read about it. In the beginning, you might not be used to your body weight on your wrists. Doing some wrist warm-ups before you begin can prevent discomfort. Once you have worked your way up to 21 repetitions, try to perform the movements without stopping.
Rite 4 animated:
Rite 5: Get down on the floor on your hands and knees (in push-up position) with hands and legs a little less than shoulder’s width apart. Begin your inhalation, come up on your toes with weight in your arms, straighten your legs, arch your back, lean your head back, do not let any of your body touch the ground except for your toes and hands (Cobra in Yoga). Begin your exhalation, bend at the waist, bend your knees, push your buttocks up into the air, make an inverted V shape with your legs and arms straight, tuck your chin toward your chest (Downward Dog in Yoga), try to put your feet flat on the ground. Begin your next inhalation and repeat up to 21 times.
Breath In: Raising up into the inverted V shape
Breath Out: Lowering out of the inverted V shape
Tips and Recommendations: In the beginning, you will need to find were to place your hands and feet to make a complete inverted-V shape. You may do this exercise for years and never get your feet flat on the ground (a symptom of western living and always sitting in a chair). Once you’ve worked your way up to 21 repetitions, work on keeping a steady rhythm while going in and out of each position.
Rite 5 animated: