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Tibetan Yoga Exercises

By Bethany Kochan

Tibetan yoga exercises refer to five simple, dynamic practices that are called the the Five Tibetan Rites. These exercises were performed by Tibetan Lamas and were said to help them live a life of health and longevity. This simple routine requires you to synchronize your breath and movement and can be performed in less than 20 minutes.

Rite One, The Whirling Dervish

This first exercise will make you remember the days of spinning as a child, when being dizzy was fun. Stand upright in a space that is clear of furniture and debris. Raise your arms so they are parallel to the floor, palms facing down. Spin your entire body clockwise, allowing your vision to blur. Start slow and gradually increase your speed. Spin just one or two times the first practice, and over time increase up to 21 spins. As you spin, breathe deeply in and out. Do not hold your breath.

Rite Two, Leg Raises

Lie down on the floor with your legs straight and together, with your arms at your sides palms facing up. Keeping your knees as straight as possible, lift your legs as high as you can off the floor up to vertical, or 90 degrees at the hips. As your legs lift, also lift your head off the floor. Slowly lower your head and legs back down for one complete repetition. Inhale as you lift, exhale as you lower for up to 21 reps.

Rite Three, Camel Pose

After the leg raises, come up to a kneeling position with your palms facing your thighs. Drop your chin to your chest to begin the movement. Slowly bring your head back so that you are looking toward the ceiling. As you bring your head back, slide your hands up so they are pressing into your lower back or backs of your thighs. As your hands press into your body for support, arch your upper body as far back as you can comfortably go. Inhale as you arch back and exhale as you come forward. Repeat up to 21 times.

Rite Four, Table Posture

Sit on the floor with your knees extended and your legs about 8 to 12 inches apart. Sit tall with your hands by your sides, palms facing the floor and fingers pointing toward your toes. Drop your chin to your chest on an exhale. As you inhale, press your feet and hands into the ground. Lift your hips as high as you can and allow your head to fall back so you are looking at the ceiling. Your knees will bend as you lift, trying to bring your torso and thighs into a table top position. Lower back down for one complete rep, up to 21 times.

Rite Five, Cobra to Downward Dog

Get down on your hands and knees. Knees are about hip-width apart, hands shoulder-width apart. As you inhale, raise your hips up and straighten your knees as much as possible, pressing your heels toward the floor. Allow your torso to come down, letting your head hang between your extended arms in the Downward Dog yoga posture. As you exhale reverse the movement. Bend your knees toward the floor, allow your hips to come down and hover over the floor with knees extended. Your arms are straight and your torso and head are arched back away from the floor in a Cobra position. Repeat up to 21 times, Downward Dog to Cobra.

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