The final piece of the three energy practices I love (see also posts on the Eight Key Breaths and Flying Crane Chi Gung) is the Five Tibetan Rites. If you research them you’ll see that there’s some controversy about their origins, but those who’ve gone digging have found they have a long history in Tibet and may predate yoga as we know it.
The main source of improved health through the Rites relates to the spinning of the chakras. They’re all supposed to spin at a certain pace and in balance with each other but in life–and as we age–they tend to go out of balance. The Rites touch all seven of the main chakras and rebalance and recalibrate the spin of the chakras which allows prana to reach the endocrine system and restore it.
Since my yoga teacher trained me to design my yoga practices to address all seven chakras that’s always a focus for me and one of the things I’ve loved about the Rites is that they don’t take long and manage to work on every chakra. They’re also a nice mixture of stretch and strength movements so I feel like it’s a nice short practice that encompasses a lot. There’s a good set of instructions and photos of the Rites here.* There’s a nice explanation of the effects here.
Five or six years ago, when I came back to the Rites after a long absence, the attraction for me was the impact on the endocrine system. Acupuncturists endlessly treated me for endocrine issues and around that time a body worker figured out that among the many issues in my muscles, the twisting and tightness was squeezing all the major glands and organs. I wanted to send more energy to my glands so I chose the Rites as one of my three practices.
I like it as the third piece because the other two open up major block points and increase the flow of prana so that when I make all the movements the energy is already flowing well so I feel the areas affected by the Rites get an extra dose of energy.
As far as a complete restoration of health I’m still a work in progress but after I started doing the practices my energy levels and overall sense of good health improved at the fastest pace in all the years of seeking answers.
* For the third rite I actually do Ravi Singh’s variation; when coming forward, instead of just bending your head forward you actually bend all the way forward to touch your forehead to the floor so you’re basically in child’s pose and then lift back up and arch backwards. Yoga tip: When making a movement like that make sure the strength of the movement is in the quads. Don’t use your back to lift up but lift entirely with the thighs.
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