The Five Tibetans
They are known as the Five Tibetan Rites, a handful of simple exercises that can be performed in less than ten minutes. How old the rites are and where they originated is up for debate. Some say they are over 2,000 years old.
What is beyond doubt is their efficacy. If you do these every day, you will see results in a week. You will see profound differences in a month. Practitioners claim that these exercises will keep you young, and I’m a believer. They fixed a nagging shoulder injury, and my back has never been stronger.
Amber and I are going to take you through all five with some explanations and variations. And then we put the entire routine together at a pretty upbeat tempo. You can do the full routine in five minutes once you get some practice. At first, they may take ten or fifteen minutes. Everyone can make time for the Five Tibetans. The trick is to do them every day. Like writing, the goal is to form a daily habit, the fruits of which come with time.
The first Tibetan is simply to spin in place. I was taught to alternate the direction of the spin each day. It’s okay if you can’t remember which way you went the day before; just mix it up! This exercise will improve your balance. Be careful, though. Don’t spin too fast or do this in an area where falling over could lead to injury.
The second Tibetan is a simple leg lift. Lifting your head (not your shoulders) will activate your upper abdominals. Twenty-one of these to start. Feel free to up the reps as you gain strength.
The third Tibetan is the opposite of the second. If we strengthen our abdominals, we need to balance that with a stronger back. This is a miracle exercise. My variation comes from one of Laird Hamilton’s favorite exercises. If your back is sore, revert to the classic third Tibetan. We show you both in this video.
The fourth Tibetan is to raise your pelvis from a seated position. If this feels taxing on your shoulders, do as many as you feel comfortable, and then revert to the variation Amber shows you. This activates the shoulders, triceps, glutes, the hamstrings, your back, and your core.
The fifth and final Tibetan is the opposite of the fourth. In the fourth Tibetan, you are face-up while lifting and lowering your pelvis. Here, you do the same, but face-down. This moves from downward facing dog to upward facing dog, and it activates your shoulders, core, thighs, calves, and back.
That’s it. Now Amber and I show you our typical morning routine.
Yeah, it’s a little sloppy. And fast. But in five minutes, you can do 21 reps of all five exercises. Everyone can find an extra five minutes in their day. Do them with your kids or parents or loved ones. Make it a habit; never skip a day!
I do these every morning, and they are better than a cup of coffee to get you going. You probably spend ten or fifteen minutes every morning brewing coffee or waiting in line at Starbucks. Try these instead for a week or a month or a year and see what you think.