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Discover the five Tibetan rites, a system of exercise claiming to slow and even reverse the ageing process.


The five Tibetan rites can be found in Peter Keller’s short, easy-to-read book Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth written in 1939.


The rites are an efficient way of exercising for those who can’t find the time. 105 exercises can be completed in just 10–12 minutes.


The rites can be practised anywhere – you don’t need to go to a gym or attend any classes.


The rites claim to have health benefits ranging from improved memory and weight loss to improvement in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.


The rites are believed to improve emotional strength by balancing the seven energy centres.

Rite 1

Stand straight, arms firmly outstretched parallel to the floor. Spin around clockwise while keeping in the same spot. Perform 21 rotations, breathing in deeply and out fully as you whirl.



Rite 2

Lie flat on your back on the floor, arms by your sides, palms flat on the floor. Raise your head, tucking your chin into your chest. Without bending your knees, lift your legs into a vertical position. Slowly lower your head and legs to the floor in the flat position. Perform 21 times, breathing in deeply as you lift and out fully as you lower your legs.



Rite 3

Kneel on the floor, arms by your sides, hands on the side of your thighs. Drop your head forward, tucking your chin into your chest. Then bring your head and neck backwards as far as you can, arching your spine and pressing against your thighs for support. Perform 21 times, breathing in deeply as you go into the arch and out fully as you return to the resting position.



Rite 4

Sit on the floor, legs straight in front of you, feet shoulder width apart and palms flat on the floor beside your buttocks. Let your head drop forward, tucking your chin into your chest. Let your head fall backward as far as it will go, at the same time raising your body so your arms and legs are at right angles to the floor and your trunk and upper legs are parallel with it, in a tabletop formation. Flex all your muscles, then relax and return to the sitting position. Perform 21 times, breathing in deeply as you go up and out fully as you return to the resting position.



Rite 5

Lie face down on the floor, feet shoulder width apart and resting on your toes, hands flat on the floor shoulder width apart. Raise your body into the cobra position arching your head and neck back as far as you can. With your hands and feet in the same place, bend your hips and go into the downward dog, or inverted V position with your head down and your chin tucked into your chest. Perform 21 times, breathing in deeply as you go up and out fully as you come down.


When you begin, you should not try to do each rite the full 21 times. Work up to it gradually, starting with, say, three or five of each, though it will depend on your age and physical condition how many you can start with and how quickly you can work up to the full 21. Some people take a month or more, some just a few weeks.
There is no rule about what time of day is best, though it is particularly good to start the day oxygenated and energised by doing them as soon as you get out of bed. It’s advisable not to do them close to bedtime as the energy boost could interfere with sleep patterns.


Though the idea is to do them once a day every day, some people like to perform them twice a day, sometimes doing a shorter version in the afternoon rather than the full 21 of each rite. And, as always, if you have any particular health condition, it’s a good idea to consult your healthcare practitioner before starting any system of exercise.

Would you try these Tibetan rites?


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