“There is one unity, unified wholeness, total natural law, in the transcendental unified consciousness.” - Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Whether you’re standing, sitting, kneeling, or lying, yoga poses take work. Both experienced yogis and beginners might have wondered just how many poses there are. The answer is both simple and vague... hundreds! In the sacred texts, there are thousands of asanas, but only a few of them are regularly used. The Five Tibetan Rites are part of them.
So what are the Five Tibetan Rites that you do in yoga?
In this article, we’ll look at the essentials of each of the Five Tibetan Rites.
The Tibetan Spin, for Improving Your Balance
Even though the name’s a bit odd, this is essential when starting your journey. The first pose, the Tibetan Spin, is quite simple. You just have to spin around. Here’s how you do it:
- Stand up with your arms out. Your right palm should be facing upwards and your left palm should be facing downwards.
- Now turn clockwise if in the Northern Hemisphere and anticlockwise if in the Southern Hemisphere.
Do this 12 times in total. If you start feeling dizzy, keep in mind that the Five Tibetan Rites are to help you and not an exercise to repeat at any cost.
The objective of the Tibetan Spin is to use your magnetic field to work on your energy.
You can change the speed or the balance (by closing your eyes). There’s always a way to improve upon your first Tibetan Spin.
Tip: Breathe naturally as you do the exercise.
Find out more about how to do the Five Tibetan Rites.
Prone To Upward Staff Pose
The Second Tibetan Rite isn’t very difficult but you do need to focus on your breathing. Prone to Upward Staff Pose involves moving your legs without any support from the wall.
Here’s how you do it:
- Lie on the floor with your back straight.
- Place your hands under your buttocks to protect your lumbar (optional).
- Raise your head and legs as you breathe out.
- Lower your head and legs as you breathe in.
While it might seem simple at first, it’s not always easy to repeat. It’s recommended that you do between 3 and 21 sets. Start by doing 3 at first, then move to 5 after a few sessions, and keep going up in odd-numbered sets.
The objective of Prone to Upward Staff Pose is to work on your solar plexus chakra, strengthen the abs a neck, and stimulate the thyroid and pancreas.
The key to this Tibetan Rite is breathing; you can’t do it if you don’t breathe correctly as indicated. In general, the movement of your head and legs will make you want to breathe in, you’ll need to focus on breathing out.
By acting on the abdominal muscles, this Tibetan Rite can stimulate your pancreas. If you breathe in while raising your legs and your head, the intra-abdominal pressure will cause you to be out of breath.
Tip: When you start, you can bend your legs. This can make the exercise easier to do.
Discover the benefits of the Five Tibetan Rites.
The Rabbit To Camel Pose, the Third Tibetan Rite
While there are a few ways to do this one, it’s recommended that you do it on your knees.
For the third Tibetan Rite, do as follows:
- Kneel down.
- Place your palms on the back of your thighs.
- Dip your head so that your chin presses onto your chest as you breathe out.
- Lean backwards as far as you can without falling over and lift your chin upwards as you breathe in.
Make sure you contract your glutes and stretch your thighs. This will help you to get the most out of it and to avoid muscle strain.
Surely this is what exercising is all about, isn’t it?
Do this between 3 and 21 times (like with the other Tibetan Rites).
The Rabbit to Camel Pose is for moving energy from your solar plexus chakra to your heart chakra and also stretch your hips and abdominal wall. Again, breathing is important if you want to get this Tibetan Rite correct. Breathe in as you extend your chest cavity as it’s better for you.
There’s a second variation of this pose you can do once you’ve mastered the other:
- Start on your knees, with your forehead on the floor and your hands crossed behind your back.
- Lift yourself up progressively, with your hands on your buttocks, and stick out your chest as much as you can.
Tip: While more complicated, the latter method is also more energising so don’t hesitate to occasionally change the Third Tibetan Rite so that you don’t get bored.
Find out how to include the Five Tibetan Rites in your next yoga session.
The Staff To Upward Plank Pose
Now it’s time for the Fourth Tibetan Rite, which is undoubtedly the most complicated one for beginners. You need to make yourself into a bridge while looking upwards.
Here’s how you do it:
- Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you.
- Place your hands by your pelvis.
- Raise your pelvis upwards as you breathe in and bend your knees so that your shins are vertical but your thighs are horizontal.
- Move back to your original position with your back straight and your legs outstretched as you breathe out.
It should be noted that in this pose, you have to have your pelvis between your hands. As you finish breathing out, press your chin against your chest.
This rite works on your muscles, particularly those in your shoulders, back, and buttocks.
You need to repeat this between 3 and 21 times. It can be tiring for beginners, so we recommend that you rest between the two stages if you feel tired.
Tip: To get the most out of this pose, you should warm up beforehand.
Upward Dog to Downward Dog
This popular yoga pose is also from the Five Tibetan Rites and you'll need to concentrate when you do it.
Start this pose by sitting on your heels, then going onto all fours:
- Spread your legs as wide as your hips.
- Spread your hands as wide as your shoulders.
From there, do as follows:
- Raise your pelvis while keeping your legs straight.
- Press your hands and feet into the floor while keeping your chin against your chest as you breathe out.
- Lower your pelvis, contracting your buttocks, and raise your head upwards as you breathe out.
To get the most out of this pose, make sure you can feel the stretching in the backs of your thighs and your back. This can be really relieving.
The Upward Dog to Downward Dog can stretch your entire body and free your mind. This is a good pose for those who suffer from back pains.
Repeat this between 3 and 21 times. The same goes for this rite as the others; work your way up to more sets. This is the most liberating of the Five Tibetan Rites, which is why it’s the last one.
Tip: if you’re just getting started and aren’t flexible enough to do this, you might want to bend your arms a bit.
Most yogis, regardless of their age, can do the Five Tibetan Rites without too much training!
You need to practise these poses in the same order every time. Repeat each pose of the Five Tibetan Rites between 3 and 21 times. Start off slowly and soon you’ll be a master of them. It’s good for the body and the mind and there’s no reason you can’t get started tomorrow.
Ready for your yoga routine?
If you need help with yoga or the Five Tibetan Rites, you could always get a tutor from Superprof. On Superprof, there are three main types of yoga tutorial available: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials and each of them has its advantages and disadvantages.
Face-to-face tutorials are personalised sessions with a single student and the most cost-effective type of tutorial available. However, they tend to be the most expensive, too.
Online tutorials take place over webcam using video conferencing software and allow you to get tutorials from anywhere with a decent internet connection at any time of the day. With fewer overheads, these tend to be cheaper per hour than the face-to-face tutorials.
Finally, group tutorials include several students and are useful for those needing to share the cost of private tutorials. If you and some friends are interested in yoga, you should consider giving it a go! Of course, you won't get as much one-on-one time with the tutor.