Friday, January 05, 2007

4th Tibetan Rite - Are your hands too short?

I am a yoga teacher, and have Chris Kilham's book on the Five Tibetans, but your approach is so much more comprehensive...let me know when the book, etc., becomes available in the US. I also have difficulty with the 4th Tibetan...I have trouble swinging my butt back down far enough back to lay flat. It seems as if my arms are too short. What can I do to overcome this? Thanks!

Regarding the 4th Tibetan. If you are unable to return all the way to the sitting/starting position with your legs straight out in front of you, then it is quite likely your hands are too short to achieve this without a prop. This is not uncommon. To ascertain if this is indeed your situation there are a couple of tests.
  1. Are you moving across the floor after each repetition? You should be able to simply roll onto your whole feet and then back down into the sitting position again.
  2. If your arms are too short, it will be hard to slide or swing your buttocks all the way back to the sitting position.
  3. In the sitting/starting position do you have to elevate your palms by doing a 'lift' onto your fingertips?
  4. Do you begin in a hunched forward position after each repetition. Your back should be straight.
Depending on how short your arms are, you could use a couple of folded towels which you place under your full hands (see picture at top). Adjust the height until you are able to get your buttocks all the way back to the starting position.

Cushions are no good because they are not stable enough, & create muscular imbalances and pressure on joints. This is particularly important when you are doing repetitive movements. Books are not safe as they can slip from under you. Non-slip yoga blocks are great but they are normally too high and you may only need an inch in height or so. Blocks of wood cut to the height you want are fine - but be careful of splinters and avoid surfaces where they might slip from under you.

You could try doing them on your knuckles (thumbs on outside). You've got to be careful not too put too much weight on your shoulders if you use this method, so try pressing all 10 toes onto the floor and your knees over your ankles. See picture below.

Having said all that - in T5T we commence the posture differently to Kilham or Kelder's. You learn the posture in 3 chunks, making it easy for everyone to achieve. The goal is to have the centre of gravity evenly balanced between the arms and the legs so there is not excess weight on the shoulders.

With regard to the book, Random House launch it in the US/Canada on April 3rd 2007. It is called 'The 10-Minute Rejuvenation Plan' and you should be able to buy it in most bookstores or on my website

If you wish to publish this article for your website - you may do so, provided you assign the correct copyright and accreditation exactly as shown below:

Copyright (c) 2006 Carolinda Witt - author T5T - The Five Tibetan Exercise Rites (Penguin) and The 10-Minute Rejuvenation Plan (Random House)


Anonymous said...

you mentioned a while ago that you may be going to india. did you?? in case you come to bombay, my number is 9821676759.

also, i am surprised why people find the 5 tibetans tough. its sooo easy. maybe, most people are so very unfit.

Carolinda Witt said...

No, I never made it. I was going to visit my daughter, but she decided to come home for Christmas!

A lot of people are pretty sedentary really, and the Rites can prove quite a challenge in the early stages. They are easy for you and me because we have been doing them so long. This is one of the main reasons, I worked with health practitioners to make the Rites safer and easier for more people to do. I noticed a pattern of lower back and neck strain/pain developing in people as they tried to do what I term the advanced levels of the postures immediately. Since creating the step-by-step process of T5T (The Five Tibetans) this does not occur unless people don't follow the system or ignore the instructions.

The challenge with doing them for a long time is to remember to do them with awareness. It is easy to switch off and let the body go through the motions automatically - but it is much more challenging to notice every little detail! I keep discovering little patterns that I have developed without really noticing! It is fun to keep the challenge alive by putting my awareness on specific parts of my body, and then attempting to have perfect balance between left and right side - or ensuring that the stretch is shared evenly between arms and feet etc.

How do you keep yourself motivated and interested over a long period of time?

Anonymous said...

all i can say is that i think i am born motivated. doesnt sound too modest but i am just answering your question. my attitude is that there is just one life and there are no dress rehearsals. you can buy the poshest apartment or gizmo, but you cant buy time. it flies and before you know it, life is over. so all that you have is what is in your hand. plus your genes and several circumstances, some of which you cant change. within that framework, you have to exert your free will. i have had so many challenges. i started my professional life homeless and broke. but i told myself that i would seize the day come what may. live or die. there was and is no other way. the body is the only vehicle we have. if you dont care for it, it wont care for you. to seize the moment, you need to be emotionally and spiritually strong. for that you also need to be physically strong. so if you want to make a powerful statement in life to yourself, to the challenges you face and to the world filled with losers, you have to lead by personal example. everybody loves a lover and every body loves a winner. its so visible, and will grudgingly be appreciated. so..simple logic. do t5t!!!! every single day of your life, and see the miracles that unfold before your eyes like a garden of flowers!!!!!!!

Carolinda Witt said...

Sounds like you have done a lot with your life! Well done for your inspiring attitude, wish we could bottle it!

Anonymous said...

a lot of work on t5t and other exercises/yoga are works in progress. every day there is a new revelation. right from the original work on t5t to now, so many books have come out. each new book has a twist but the spine is the same. since all these books are meant to help people and its all god's knowledge, is there a need to be strict about copyright issues? wont the world be a better place as long as the message spreads far and wide?

Carolinda Witt said...

True about work in progress - there's nothing really new in the world. It's like a computer game on a CD that is self-learning. All the information is already on the disc, you just have to find out all the myriad ways of using it.

Personally my view of life is that it is a duality, a pair of twins for everything you see, hear, feel or learn. Yin/Yang, right/wrong, dark/light, good/bad - one cannot exist without the other. One cannot be experienced without the other. I don't believe in a one-sided universe - all win without loss, all peace without conflict, all nice without mean, all happy without sad, all life without death, and so on. My question would be to ask who designed it so? A one-sided god? It might seem a strange way to reply to your comment, but why should good be free? Why isn't bad expensive when we get our best lessons from it? Who decided on the labels and the values?

Those of us who have written the books have invested part our life-force, our money, our time, our hopes, our visions in persuing our own version of versions. It costs us to pass it on. It takes promotion, marketing, advertising, studying - need I go on? We could be non-profit and fund-raise to cover our expenses or we could sell what we have learnt. Either way, we are still getting support from others. It's not free to others just as it is not free to us.

Copyright is about having a vision of a block of land with beautiful crops. Then tilling the soil, suffering droughts and storms, feeding families, going without food, hearing others sneer or laugh at your vision, walking miles to bring back water, then one-day if you are lucky, finally picking the fruits. When you go to market someone says the taste of your fruit is sweeter than your neighbours and others agree. The demand for your fruits rises in comparison to your neighbours and people start paying more. Your soil, your land, your effort is distinct, unique to others and valued accordingly. That to me is a form of copyright. Wine is everywhere, but some wines are better. They are not all labelled WINE!