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Getting More out of the Five Tibetan Rites in Transformational Yoga

The Five Tibetan Rites are a set of 5 Yoga-like stretching movements done in a specific sequence. These movements are similar to the Yogic Sun Salutations of 12 Asanas done one after another. It is known to be a “short cut” to achieving longevity, weight regulation, as well as youth.

Before I took up Yoga seriously, these 5 Tibetan Rites came to my attention while searching online for various methods to increase stamina for running marathons. I was crazy about breaking my own running records; and I did some nasty damage to my knees and ankles. As promised, the Tibetan Rites helped me to increase my stamina pretty quickly. However I was also aching badly; which led me to discover Yoga Therapy. From then onwards I was intrigued with Yoga in the way it helped my body heal with astonishingly short periods of rest.

Fast forward 11 years to now, with a more solid understanding of Yoga, I rediscovered the Tibetan Rites in a new light. When combined with Transformational Yoga, it increases a person’s energy greatly. Sometimes after our evening classes, students have problem falling asleep at night!

In Transformational Yoga (TY), no Asana is ever done in isolation. Every posture is inserted in a particular order for a purpose, either to counter the former for balance, or prepare the body for the next. And the entire lesson is choreographed towards a specific purpose of shift. We make use of Sun Salutations to create fire and heat in the body before we assume a TY practice.

When it comes to the Five Tibetan Rites, the energizing effect is stronger than that of Sun Salutations. Headaches, aggression and frustration could result. For example, a person who has strong ‘yang’ energy will feel more energised with 7 Rites than 12 rounds of Sun Salutations. One theory could be that the Rites has its first movement of spinning – which opens up the 7 chakras in a short time. There are no Pranayamas done in between the Rites; most authorities or teachers advised to do a few long deep breaths in between. It is likely that loosened toxins ends up circulating in the Chakra grid for some time.

Nonetheless, the Tibetan Rites are invaluable for people short on time for exercise. There are some mitigating practices we can incorporate, to make them work for us:

1. Practice the Five Rites with Kapalabati within the movements. Again this is the genius of TY (Swamiji Vidyananda who created TY). During each Rite, i.e. spinning, leg lift, back bend, hips thrust and downward swing, do a 3 to 5 (depending on your stamina) shots of Kapalabati.

2. On top of 3 deep breaths in between the Rites, add on 3 low pitched Bramaris. Low pitched Bramaris cleans our lower Chakras with sound. Bramaris release and transform the toxins out of our orbit.

3. Always finish with 1 set of Moon Salutations (i.e. 2 rounds) after each complete Five Rites.

4. A clever way to use the Five Rites is to integrate the TY Basic Sequence before the Rites. So it only takes about 10 minutes for the TY Basics, another 10 minutes for 7 repetitions of the Five Rites, 5 minutes for the Moon Salutations, and that is a total of 25 minutes which makes it an ultra time efficient body & mind workout.

(C) Linda Loo

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