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The Five Tibetans

First thing every morning, I partake in a lovely 20 minutes of rejuvenation with the Five Tibetans. They wake me up gently, work out my kinks, get my blood flowing and my energy moving. I really enjoy my daily practice with them, and you can too…


The Five Tibetans, also called the Five Tibetan Rites, are a group of 5 exercises practiced in a specific sequence to affect benefits to your body that are said to include everything from core strengthening, spinal flexibility and circulation to endocrine balancing, weight loss and anti-aging.

I first learned of them when a patient was talking about wanting to make a routine of The Five Tibetan Rites every morning. She said this was a practice her mother was doing, and it completely reversed her need for eye glasses.

I’d never heard of this practice before, so I decided to look it up. It turns out this is a very old exercise regimen, that supposedly came out of a Buddhist monastery in Tibet, and has been practiced for as many as 2,500 years, though this is difficult to confirm. These practices were first introduced in the west in 1939, in a book entitled “The Eye of Revelation” by Peter Kelder, who gleaned his information from a retired British army colonel, who claimed to have traveled through Tibet, and been taught these movements at a Buddhist monastery where he lived for a time.


The Five Tibetan Rites, when practiced daily, are said to be beneficial in myriad ways. It is obvious from the movements that they increase strength and flexibility in the core (abdominal and spinal muscles), arms, shoulders, legs and hips. From a TCM viewpoint, this practice is sure to move stagnant Qi (reducing the effects of stress and sedentary lifestyle on the body) and it appears to “work” most of the acupuncture energy meridians with a pump-like action; which reminds me of many Kundalini Yoga practices.

Also, claims have been made regarding The Five Tibetans creating effects of anti-aging, weight loss, hormonal balancing, benefits to eye sight, skin, hair and much more.

While it is hard to say how many of these claims are valid, I decided to give it a try, to see what sort of benefits I noticed. I’d been looking for a daily practice that would be easy to learn and remember, and that would only take about 20 minutes to complete; this fit the bill.


Be sure to check with your doctor before starting this or any exercise program. It is best to start with 3 repetitions of each Rite. Then increase by 3 repetitions each week as your body feels stronger, until you have worked up to 21 of each. Remember, if it feels better to do so, you can put your hands under your hips in Rite 2, and keep your knees slightly bent. Do not do anything that feels painful.

The easiest way to learn The Five Tibetan Rites is to watch some videos of it. There are many to check out, but these are my favorites:

  1. This lady does a great job of breaking down all the movements and breathing after showing you a quick demo.

  2. Maryse does a lovely job as well, and does all 21 repetitions of each, so you can practice along with her video once you feel you can do all 21 reps of each Rite.

  3. And gentlemen, lest you think only women practice the Five Tibetans…

Also, the original book says that doing more that 21 could have counteractive effects on your endocrine glands, so don’t do more than 21 repetitions of each Rite per day.


I’ve been doing these Five Tibetans almost every morning for about 2 months. I absolutely love it. It is the first thing I do (after feeding the cats) upon waking. I have worked up to 21 repetitions of each Rite.  Because there are several yoga poses that help keep the 3 bulging discs in my low back from becoming problematic, I have added them to the end of my Five Tibetan routine.

The whole thing takes about 20 to 25 minutes. It is a bit of a workout… my muscles are working and my heart rate and respiration increase during the practice, especially if I put a little pace on the movements. And I feel amazing afterward. My daily aches and pains are nearly gone, and my body feels stronger. I am finding that I look forward to the practice; it is my favorite part of the morning. Plus my energy is better; I no longer require any caffeine to get me going.

I am curious to see what other benefits show up as I continue this practice.

Let me know if you start the practice, and what benefits you notice!


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