This series of five exercises practised by the Tibetan monks is said to be more than 2,500 years old. A beautiful soul in Paris shared it with me, and I’ve since weaved the Rites into my morning practice when it calls, straight after meditation and warm lemon water!
The exercises are detailed in The Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth by Peter Kelder who describes the program as one to assist with longevity of youth, or as he terms it, “youthing”. The Tibetan monks themselves used the Five Rites for longevity, vibrancy and health.
Noted Benefits of the Five Rites
Feeling refreshed and energetic when waking
Release from spine difficulties, problems with joints and pain,
Improved physical strength and endurance
Improved emotional and mental health
Enhanced well being and harmony
How the Five Rites Work
The rites affect your body, emotions and mind. The Tibetans claim that these exercises activate and stimulate the seven key chakras that in turn stimulate the endocrine system; the glands which secrete hormones into the bloodstream and are responsible for various functions including metabolism, growth and development, sleep, mood and tissue function.
A Little Insight into Chakras
Chakra is a Sanskrit word that means “wheel” or “turning” / “spinning”.
Known as energy centres in our body, each chakra is a spinning wheel associated with a different colour – vibration, frequency. Performing numerous functions, they connect our body and energy field to the Source / Universal Energy Field.
Chakras are powerful, electrical and magnetic fields, which govern the endocrine system that in turn regulates all of the body’s functions including the ageing process. Energy flows from the Universal Energy Field through the chakras into the energy systems within our bodies, including the Meridian System.
Our bodies contain seven major chakras and 122 minor chakras.
The Major Chakras
The base of the spine -Root Chakra / Muladhara-, associated with the colour red
Lower abdomen & sex centre -Sacral Chakra / Svadhishthana-, associated with the colour orange
Between navel and the solar plexus -Solar Plexus Chakra / Manipura-, associated with the colour yellow
Within your heart -Heart Chakra /Anahata-, associated with the colour green
Within the throat -Throat Chakra / Vishuddha-, associated with the colour blue
At the centre of your forehead -Third Eye Chakra / Ajna-, associated with the colour indigo
At the top of your head -Crown Chakra /Sahasrara-, associated with the colour violet
Each of these chakras link together with all other energy systems in the body and various layers of the aura and etheric body.
The speed which each of our chakras spin is key to vibrant health. So too is ensuring they are clear, pure and able to function optimally for your health and wellbeing.
Practicing The Five Rites is said to harmonise the chakras and distributes pure prana / chi energy to the endocrine system, and in turn to all organs and processes of the body. All of which assist in vibrant health, rejuvenation and youthfulness.
Breakdown of the Rites
Each move is repeated 7, 14 or 21 times (the multiples of seven connect with the seven chakras). Practicing the Five Rites each morning may be ideal for some. However, always listen to your body and do what feels right for you, especially if you are pregnant, on your moon time or unwell it may be advised not to practice at this point.
Please note: The repetition is not to be seen as 21 times being better than 7 times – less repetition done correctly with breath, intention and clear mind is far better than 14 or 21 times struggling physically, emotionally or mentally.
Having water close by, comfortable clothing and ideally not in extreme weather such as direct strong sunlight or rain.
Stand erect with arms outstretched horizontal to the floor, palms facing down (or right palm up to connect with above and left palm down to connect with below). Arms in line with your shoulders, spin around clockwise (left to right). Gradually increase number of spins from 7 to 21, if you feel comfortable. Like a dancer, choose a focal point to look at or ‘spot’, only turing your head away at the last minute from this point, then returning to it. You can choose to focus your gaze on the tips of your fingers on one hand if you prefer.
Slight dizziness is a normal effect, however, do not push beyond this point.
*Pause and massage along your earlobes if you do feel dizzy or lower to the floor.
Breathing: Inhale and exhale deeply and completly as you spin.
On a padded surface lie flat on the floor face up. Extend your arms along your sides, placing the palms of your hands on the floor with your fingers together.
Raise your head off the floor tucking your chin into your chest. As you do this lift your straight legs together into a vertical position. (If possible, extend your legs over the body towards your head without letting the knees bend.) Then slowly lower your legs and head to the floor, maintaining straight knees. Allow the muscles to relax, then repeat.
Breathing: Take a deep breath as you lift your head and legs. Exhale as you lower your head and legs.
Kneel on the floor with an erect posture. Place your hands on the backs of your thigh muscles. Drop your head and neck forward, tucking your chin in against your chest. Then tilt the head and neck backward as you arch your spine and push your pelvis forward. As you arch, your hands against your thighs will act as a support. After the arching return to the erect position and repeat.
Breathing: Inhale as you arch the spine and exhale as you return to an erect position.
Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you and your feet slightly apart. With your spine erect, place the palms of your hands on the floor alongside your bottom. Tuck your chin forward against the chest. Now slowly move the head backward as far as it will comfortably go. At the same time raise your body so that the knees bend while the arms remain straight – this is like ‘table’ pose in yoga. Hold this briefly and tense all your muscles. Relax your muscles as you return to your original sitting position. Rest before repeating this Rite.
Breathing: Breathe in as you raise up and pose like a table, hold your breath as you tense the muscles, and breathe out fully as you slowly lower yourself down.
Lay on your stomach with your palms down against the floor directly under your shoulders. Feet are spread as wide as your hips. Pressing from the palms through the arms, roll back onto the balls of your feet as you lift your buttocks upwards. At the same time, tuck your chin towards your chest. This position is like ‘downward dog’ in yoga. Lower your pelvis to the floor and tilt your head back gently, then return to the downward dog position, breathe and repeat.
Breathing: Breathe in deeply as you raise your body, and exhale fully as you lower your body.
Each of these poses are best practiced at your own pace and ability. They are done slowly and while focusing on your breath throughout.
Watch the Five Rites here!
Sarah Willis Fatato shows you how