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The Five Tibetan Rites (5TR) are a series of yoga-like exercises that, like Yi Jin Jing (YJJ) and Zhan Zhuang (ZZ), can revitalize and energize both mind and body. In fact, 5TR is sometimes referred to as a “fountain of youth” that among other things can improve eyesight and turn gray hair dark again. While that sounds great, we all know to take such statements with a grain of salt. Still, it sounds very intriguing, so let’s take a look.
The Five Tibetan Rites consists of five exercises that are performed in order, twenty-one times each. After each set, a brief recovery pose or posture is held for few moments before continuing on with the next exercise. If you workout on a consistent basis, at first glance the whole “twenty-one times each” won’t seem like a big deal, but it is; the challenge is real. It is recommended that when one begins training the 5TR, one starts out slowly, say, at seven each, or less if needed, and then work up to the full twenty-one. Learning the correct form, breath coordination, and muscle usage, etc. are vital.
It is believed that by performing 5TR on a regular basis per the prescribed method, the spin of one’s internal energy centers are strengthened and realigned thereby energizing the body and the mind in amazing ways. Some of the positive effects of this realignment are said to include anti-aging, improved coordination, increased strength and flexibility, and mental and emotional grounding, clarity and enhanced calm.
I found the 5TR several years ago when I was searching for a simple yet engaging and healthful exercise routine to begin the day. The benefits sounded great, even with that big grain of salt, so after researching the Rites, I gave it a try. The newness made the routine fun but it did take several sessions to memorize the (somewhat simple) movements and coordinate the movements with the breath. I started slowly, maybe doing just 5 or 7 reps for a week or two before adding more. I don’t remember if I did the Rites every day, but I do recall the resulting increased endurance and strength, and greater muscle tone.
After that initial experiment, I shifted to using the 5TR on a semi-consistent basis, mainly as a quick way to build strength and endurance apart from my regular routines. I’ll practice it for several weeks prior to a karate seminar or when it is time to exit winter training mode but other than that, it hasn’t been part of my everyday, year-round training. Oh, and I have to admit that during all that time, I never actually hit the magical number 21; that didn’t happen until quite recently.
So what happened at 21? No, I wasn’t able to shed my glasses, and my bio-chronological clock didn’t tick backwards, but I did feel a noticeable increase in physical energy and mental clarity and focus. At 21, there was an almost addictive (in a good way) sense, most likely due to endorphins, and I could hardly wait to perform the Rites again the next morning. While this extra energy may all be in my head, a placebo effect of sorts, I’m okay with that because what starts in the mind can and often does show up in the body.
At the time of this entry, it’s been several weeks since I last performed the 5TR. When I start up again, either in a few weeks or at the end of winter training mode, my goal is to work my way back to 21 reps for each exercise, and do it on a consistent basis. I want to see how long the benefits I encountered last, how far they go, and if any other benefits are unlocked.
If you’re curious about the 5TR, just click the link above, or if you’re fortunate to find a good teacher near you, contact them and give it a go. Whether you purchase a book or DVD and try it on your own, or with an instructor’s supervision, following the prescribed training plan is the only way to reap the full benefits; there are no shortcuts.
Click over to our Five Tibetan Rites page for more resources.
Wishing you the good, better, and absolutely best of what’s possible!
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