Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Tibetan 5th Rite - Should the heals touch the floor?

The picture on the top is from the book T5T: The Five Tibetan Exercise Rites (Penguin)
The picture above left is from - there is a great article on this pose known as Downward Dog on their website.

My name is Evgenie. I from Moscow. I badly know English language and I use the translator. Thanks for the answer. At me to you it is a lot of questions! I am engaged in the Eye of Revival 3 years. Results very good.

I have a book on Oka of Revival from 1939. In it{her} on a picture in the fifth ritual action the heel of a leg{foot} does not concern{touch} a floor! I shall send you this book. You likely know there is still a book author Christopher Kilhem Pjat Tibetsky Zhemchuzhin, in it{her} too in the fifth ritual action the heel of a leg{foot} of a floor does not concern{touch}! Here to me it is not clear whence at you the information, what the heel should concern{touch} a floor? For me it is very important!!!! Tell the book which I have sent you from 1939 Eye of Revival really original?
What book is used by you? You have an original the Eye of Revival?

Further we look the book from 1939 that it for a sound me-me-me? It is a mantra the OHM???

At what age it is possible to practise 6 ritual action? Whether there Are restrictions for practice 6 ritual actions? Christopher Kilhem writes that for practice 6 ritual actions it is possible to conduct a sexual life. In the book 1939 it is written that it is impossible! What do you think?
Excuse many questions has collected, on which it is necessary to receive answers. For me it is very important!!!

Hi Evgenie, I have the original book "Eye of Revelation" and you are correct, the heal of the foot does not touch the floor in their illustrations. However, this posture known today as "downward dog" is very old and would have originally come from India into Tibet. Today, the ideal version of this pose is considered to be when your heals are touching the floor. Ideally in this pose, your weight should be evenly balanced between your hands and legs with your tailbone pointing to the sky. If you can get your heals to touch the floor it is very beneficial because it stretches the hamstring muscles at the back of the legs. Beginners in particular are often unable to put the heals of the feet on the floor.

Whether you can put your heals on the floor or not - you will still gain the energetic benefits of the posture as described by the monks. The Five Rites are intended to improve the distribution of life-energy through the body by stimulating the chakras to spin more rapidly – rather than focusing on stretching to the muscles of the body.

To answer your question regarding the 6th Rite - the monks said that the purpose of the 6th Rite is to channel the sexual energy up the major energy lines of the body for heightened spiritual purposes. The monks lived a celibate lifestyle abstaining from sex. Of course today this is a matter of personal choice. Colonel Bradford says in the book that this breathing method can also be used if you have an excess of sexual energy. Pranayama (breathing techniques) can be very powerful and bring about changes in the body and emotionally that some people are not ready for. For this reason it is best to study pranayama under the guidance of a qualified and experienced teacher. Best wishes - Carolinda


Carolinda Witt said...

Hi Evgenie, I forgot one answer. The Eye of Revelation is the first book published on The 5 Tibetan Rites. This was republished during the 1980's under the name of The Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth. This book has sold over 2 million copies. It has the same story as the Eye of Revelation and also contains limited pictures.

Christopher Kilham is a yoga teacher who has written his own version of the book, as indeed I have. My experience of teaching so many people (over 700 and 25 teachers) is that there needed to be a version that made these ancient postures more achievable for the average western sedentary bodies. I also included the use of the core stability muscles to wrap around and protect the spine, strengthen lower abdominals and the back. I also included a breathing method to improve capacity, slow down the breathing rate, and reduce tension.

You are wondering whether the story is true? I believe there is some truth to the story because so many people who do the Rites, report the same benefits that Colonel Bradford outlined in The Eye of Revelation. To me it does not matter if it is 100% true or not, because The Rites work!

It is important to remember that well over 90% of the Tibetan Monasteries were destroyed, their ancient texts burnt and their people displaced. Therefore I don't think we will find anything related to The Five Rites, which is a real shame.

Hi Evgenie, я забыл один ответ. Глаз откровения будет первой книгой опубликованной на 5 тибетце Rites. Это было переиздано во время й980'с under the name of стародедовский секрет фонтана молодости. Эта книга продавала над 2 миллиона экземплярами. Она имеет такой же рассказ глаз откровения и также содержит лимитированные изображения. Христофор Kilham будет учителем yoga писал его собственный вариант книги, по мере того как деиствительно я имею. Моим необходимо учить настолько много людей (над 700 и 25 учителями) что там после того как я быть вариант сделал эти стародедовские postures более достижимой для средних западных сидячих тел. Я также включил пользу мышц стабилности сердечника обернуть вокруг и защитить позвоночник, усильте более низкие abdominals и заднюю часть. Я также включил дышая метод для того чтобы улучшить емкость, замедлить дышая тариф, и уменьшить напряжение. Вы интересуете ли рассказ поистине? Я верю будет некоторая правда к рассказу потому что настолько много людей делают Rites, сообщают такие же преимущества которые полковник bradford конспектировал в глазе откровения. К мне оно не имеет значение если оно 100% поистине или не, то потому что работа Rites! Важно вспомнить то наилучшим образом над 90% из тибетских скитов было разрушено, их стародедовские сгорели тексты, котор и их люди dispursed. Поэтому я не думаю мы будет считать что-нибыдь после того как он отнесено до 5 Rites, которое будет реальный стыд.

Anonymous said...

in the fifth rite, are you saying that the heels should be touching the floor while doing it? isnt that impossible??

Carolinda Witt said...

No not impossible! There are two potential problems.
(a) Muscular tension (tight muscles) which can be gradually stretched over time.
(b) Compression (or contact)of the bones. In this case the bones between the ankle and the foot compress, so you cannot create any movement beyond that point.
The tailbone should be lifted towards the sky in this pose. See and look up 'downward dog' for more detail.

Anonymous said...

do you mean to say that start to finish, even while going up and coming down, the heels should be squat on the floor?

Anonymous said...

or do you mean to say that you start the repetitions with the heels on the floor, get on the balls of one's toes and then back to the heels, all this 21 times. or do you mean that all 21 reps have to be with the heels flat on the ground all the time? please explain.

Carolinda Witt said...

In T5T we begin on our hands and knees with our hands about 3 - 5 inches (5 - 7cm) further forward than directly under our shoulders. Our toes are curled under.

Breathing in we lift our knees from the floor (at which point we are on the balls of our toes) and move our tailbone up towards the sky. As we get into the upside down V position (downward dog) we continue to lower our heals to the floor. We do not raise up on the toes and then lower the heals. It is more a continuous movement from the curled under toes, up into downward dog as the heals move towards the floor behind.

As you transit down from downward dog, you are naturally going to land up back on the balls of your toes again. As you get into upward dog/plank with your legs spread out behind you, press your heals towards the back of the room again. This prevents you from doing the pose on your tip toes which unbalances you and prevents you from lengthening as much as you can.

Does this make sense?

Anonymous said...

the nose breathing is a good idea. i find it more useful and fulfilling. let me now incorporate your take on the fifth rite. do you have a picture of this? it seems quite different from kilham's fifth rite? why dont you ask penguin to make your book available in india at a reasonable price?

Carolinda Witt said...

Please see the amended post, where I have placed two pictures of Rite No 5. There is also a link to article on the upside down V posture known as downward dog.

With regard to getting the book published in India, I have sent an email to Random House to check if they are going to publish in India as well as the US next year in April 07.

Let me know how you go! All the best, Carolinda

Anonymous said...

yes, thanks, it is clear. the only difference from kilham is that the heels touch the floor. another point, is a mat necessary while doing yoga? i asked yogal journal and they said that it is not mandatory. whats your take?

the pictures make a whale of a difference. hope your book is released in india. kilham has a huge audience here.

Carolinda Witt said...

Regarding your yoga mat question:

Rite No 1 - It is harder to Spin on a yoga mat. It is best on a polished wood floor, the movement is so much more even. If you suffer from dizziness (which YOU don't but others might) a mat can make the movement rather wobbly instead of smooth.

Rite No 2 - With the Leg Raise at the advanced level, you could just as well lie on the floor (if not too cold or dirty), or carpet etc. In T5T the first steps that build up the core stability, involve sliding the leg to the buttocks and then raising it. A yoga mat can be a nuisance in this instance. You can't fold it back and place your buttocks on it as it elevates you, and takes you out of neutral spine. If people need a mat to lie on during the first steps of T5T we encourage them to place their bottoms right at the end of the mat.

Rite No 3 - Kneeling Backbend. You definately need 'something' to kneel on. A folded up towel is just as good as a mat. A cushion is not suitable unless firm as anything softer will make your alignment uneven.

Rite No 4 - The Tabletop. People with shorter arms (or weak arm strength) may need to slide their buttocks along the floor on the return to the starting position. In this case a yoga mat makes it very hard. On the other hand it can make the movement more challenging for your triceps muscle (back of upper arm).

Rite No 5 - The Pendulum. In this case the yoga mat is very useful if your feet or hands tend to slip. On the other hand you could have your heals against the edge of a wall to prevent slipping.

Since T5T can be done anywhere, the less props the better!

Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

when you go from downward dog to upward dog, can the feet move a little, when they rise from being flat on the heels to the balls of the toes?

Carolinda Witt said...

Absolutely! If your heels can touch the floor in downward dog (not everyone's can)- then as you begin to sweep through your straight arms - it is necessary for the heels to lift as you naturally come onto the balls of the toes.

When you get into upward dog and you are on the balls of your toes - push your heels backwards. This action prevents you doing the posture on your tip toes and gives much more stability and foundation, so you can lengthen your spine more effectively. It also balances your weight (center of gravity) more evenly between hands and feet.

Anonymous said...

one more clarification please..whats the inhale-exhale protocol in the fifth rite?

Carolinda Witt said...

You breathe in all the way up into the upside-down triangle (downward dog) and breathe out all the way down into the plank-like pose (upward dog). This is the way Colonel Bradford who discovered the monks, says we should do it.

Actually the breathing is the same throughout all the Rites. Breathing in and up - breathing out and down.

Anonymous said...

in the fifth rite, i think, that if the heels touch the floor the incidence of lower back pain will be greatly reduced, if not eliminated altogether. i think, if done correctly, this stretches the hamstrings, strengthens the spine, arms and legs and opens up the pelvic girdle. its a powerful exercise, possibly the hardest of all the rites. your take.

Carolinda Witt said...

I agree with you that Rite No 5 is very powerful and perhaps the hardest of the Rites. It has a real potential for people to use the momentum of the movement, dropping down into the upward dog/plank part of the posture. I am all for control and alignment and this is particularly important in this pose as there is a potential for injury in those who have weakness in the lower back or any disc related issues. This is averted in T5T (my version of the Rites, modified with input from physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors to make them safer and even more powerful through the use of core stability training) -as students use their core muscles and firmed buttocks to prevent the sudden drop (or sag in the middle back) of the pelvis. Having the heels touch the floor in downward dog, allows a centre of balance to be found more easily and as you say, provides a better stretch all round.

Anonymous said...

i feel that if one does the 5 rites properly every single day, no other exercise is needed to keep the body and mind fit and powerful. isnt this amazing -- 10 minutes of this and possibly 10 more minutes of calm in corpse pose -- 20 minutes a day to be fit. a mircle!!

Carolinda Witt said...

There are many viewpoints about what exercise we should do and how much, how often etc. The 5 Rites strengthen, reduce tension, improve flexibility and distribute Qi (prana) throughout the body. They work on the mind too, dispelling depression and anxiety and installing calm. They are slightly aerobic, but they certainly give you a good workout in those brief 10 minutes.

So many people begin exercise routines with every intention of continuing to do them. After a while things change; they need the money for other things, they find the travelling to and from classes takes up too much time, they are too busy to spend as long exercising and so on. What is great about the 5 Rites is that once you've learnt them, you have them for life. You can do them anywhere, travelling, at home, in the office, on the beach etc. Best of all they don't keep costing you money!

The 10 mins per day is the key really. People can manage it, they can fit this short amount of time into their day, and if they can't, then their life is out of balance.