Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Five Tibetans - Not Getting the Benefits You Expected?

I received this email yesterday from Coatia:

I started practising 5 Tibetans a couple of months ago, but I don't feel that I have more energy (although I do 21 repetitions of every rite) and my improvement seems to be very, very slow. Is there anything I can do in order to have more benefit?

There is a lot of literature on the Rites on the internet, in books and in articles that claim incredible anti-aging benefits for the Rites. I think people's expectations can be very high, and they would naturally question or be disappointed in why they received only minor benefits from practicing the Rites.

In the original book by Peter Kelder (The Eye of Revelation) published in 1939 for example it says,

"It concerned a group of Lamas or Tibetan priests who, apparently, had discovered "The Fountain of Youth." The natives told of old men who had mysteriously regained health and strength, vigor and virility shortly after entering a certain Lamasery."


"No, I am not my son,'' he returned. "I am none other than your old friend, Colonel Bradford, the old man who went away to the Himalayas,"

I stood in incredulous amazement at his statement, then it slowly dawned upon me that this really was the Colonel Bradford that I had known; but what a change had taken place in his appearance. Instead of the stooped, limping, sallow old gentleman with a cane, he was tall, straight, ruddy-complexioned man in the prime of life. Even his hair, which had grown back, held no trace of gray.

Given the glowing language of the time and the mystical overtones, I don't think it is surprising that people believe the Rites to be a cure for all ailments and aging.

I for example, found the whole idea of the hair growing back dark rather far fetched, until Stuart French who attended one of my workshops reported that this had happened to his sideburns. Stuart eventually become a Registered T5T Instructor.

So what's the truth? There are numerous studies that prove the benefits of a regular yoga practice and its impact on health and wellbeing. This article from Yoga Journal says in part:

During the past 80 years, health professionals in India and the West have begun to investigate the therapeutic potential of yoga. To date, thousands of research studies have been undertaken and have shown that with the practice of yoga a person can, indeed, learn to control such physiologic parameters as blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory function, metabolic rate, skin resistance, brain waves, body temperature, and many other bodily functions." Though it's difficult to find most of these studies, some current, accessible research reports significant results for challenging medical conditions:

In the same article, Patrick Randolph, Ph.D., in Texas says, "The asanas help increase circulation to the limbs while the resultant relaxation addresses anxiety. "What many people report from doing yoga is that rather than being an exercise that takes energy away, it actually energizes."

Aside from all the measurable physical benefits, I believe that there is an energy component that we can't measure or quantify yet.

The Lamas told Colonel Bradford that the quickest way to regain health, youth and vitality is to start the magnetic centres of the body spinning again, through the practice of the Five Rites.

"The body has seven centers, which, in English, could be called Vortexes. These are kind of magnetic centres. They revolve at great speed in the healthy body, but when slowed down - well that is just another name for old age, ill-health, and senility.

Yoga Journal continues:

And Yoga's most ephemeral benefits, such as the opening of energy channels, are even more difficult to define and evaluate in a research setting. Dr. Brandeis believes it will take more scientists with a much greater experiential knowledge of yoga to begin measuring what might be classified as energetic changes. "Probably in the future [research will] try to translate energetic effects into concrete medicine, but right now there aren't enough practitioners with enough knowledge to generate that kind of interest," he says.

This article can be found online at

My own experience & that of teaching so many people the Rites is that people do indeed achieve a wide range of benefits from small to pretty outstanding. People don't always trust Testimonials but they are a great overview of what people personally believe they have gained. Testimonials from qualified health professionals, fitness professionals to the general public all point to similar benefits. These can be read on and in the Peter Kelder books (Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth).

Having said all this, one cannot have a one-sided result with any form of exercise. One-sided means that it is all positive with no negatives. You have to have both - same as in life. You can't have a gain without a loss, or a loss without a gain. You can't have ugly without beautiful to tell you what ugly is and so on. Focusing only the positive benefits of the Rites will inevitably disappoint. Perhaps the negatives of having to make the time to do them, or getting up early to do them, or even making the physical effort, do not outweight the benefits. A great question to ask oneself would be, "What am I losing by doing the Rites?" Then, "What am I gaining by doing the Rites?"

Play with the positives and the negatives of all the answers until you reach a state of balance, where you are neither in fantasy about the benefits or resentful of practicing them. Neither state is a place where you will relax and enjoy them.

For me, I made a decision that aging doesn't get better! I knew I would need to do many things to get more out of my life for as long as I could. T5T is one of those. I don't need to think about it anymore, I just do it. I know it works, I know it will work in the long term and no more thought needs to be applied to it. I've heard of two 80+ year old men who have been doing the Rites 20 years. One of their sons recently told me his father is getting younger every time he sees him. Clearly that isn't true, but his father believes the Rites are the reason for his physical strength and wellbeing. Who is to dispute him?

Colonel Bradford himself says that the monks told him that you need to invest a strong amount of faith and belief in the Rites to maximise their benefit. If you think old, you become old. He suggests people stride instead of hobble for example.

So what did I say to the gentleman from Croatia?

For some people, the benefits are less dramatic. If you were going to get any major changes, this would be most noticeable in the first 2 weeks. Therefore the only long-term benefits I think you may get are in the area of strength and flexibility development, increased calmness emotionally and greater positivity. You may also notice that you get ill less often or that the symptoms are less.

Are you by any chance sleeping more with vivid dreams, or do you need less sleep?

Just like electricity our body is infused with life-energy, even though you can't see it. As you would know, the Rites stimulate the flow of life-energy through the body, unblocking stagnant areas and revitalising the body. This 'feeling' is more subtle than the typical physical sensations we are used to and you may need to fine tune your awareness. The best way of doing this is by becoming more present during and after your practice.

Try and be much more present (not thinking of the past or future events or things done or things to do) when doing the Rites. Yoga and the Rites are meditation in motion. Practice the ability to train the monkey mind to be still, by focusing on balance, precision, control, alignment, sensation, lack of sensation and of course the breath!
Often the best way to find out if you are getting any benefits is to stop doing them for a month at least! If you find you don't want to stop - then take notice! Your body knows it wants to keep doing them, even though you are not feeling any major changes.

Perhaps you should miss a couple of days and let your body have a rest. Then do your 21 repetitions and notice if there is a difference. Do you notice a change immediately after doing the Rites?

Wth regard to your question about what can you do to improve the effects: Are you doing T5T or the original version from one of the Peter Kelder books? He does not include much on breathing which is a major health and vitality improver. A number of clinical studies have shown that how well you breathe literally dictates your lifespan. T5T contains extensive knowledge in breathing and specialised breathing is carried out between each Rite.

I updated the Rites calling them T5T (The Five Tibetans) to make them more potent in light of modern exercise knowledge as well as to prevent a pattern of lower back pain and neck pain I observed from people practicing the original Rites - particulary from Rites 2 and 3. T5T focuses on developing strong deep abdominal muscles (core stability). These muscles wrap around and protect the spine like a natural weight belt preventing back injury (there are also neck stabiliser muscles which are also activated correctly during T5T). These actions are repetitive and correct alignment and control is very important. Strong core muscles also counteract the effects of gravity on the elimination organs as well as stimulate the reproductive glands.

If you wish to publish this article on your website you may do so, provided that you assign copyright to the author exactly as written below:

Copyright (c) 2007 Carolinda Witt - author T5T - The Five Tibetan Exercise Rites and The 10-Minute Rejuvenation Plan


Angel said...

Interesting question and I think your answer is unsatisfactory, sorry. I am very sure of the benefits of doing the five tibetans, I know this from experience. I started doing them last year and kept going until last month. The benefits are very good - erect stance, which was a big problem for me, and in the first 2-4 weeks I felt more energy. Aside from the tibetans I am also doing martial arts but let me tell you about my experience with the Tibetans. After 2-3 months of practice I noticed that there is no more benefits from doind them. I skiped a day or two occasionally but overall was pretty consistent. Even though, I kept goid from about 6 months and then I stoped doing them because I didn't believe I get any tangible results from doing them. Yes, if I stop doing them for some time I will notice some change, but my day goes the same way. I am breathing and try to follow the description as much as I can. But I think that there is something more to the equation. I think the tibetans should be research and we have ti find how exactly they affect the human body and spirit. I now practise brathing exercises alone and their effect is far more reaching than the tibetan exercises. And from my personal experience meditation brings joy, energy and calmness even more. So I am not regecting the positive benefits of T5T, but as they work for some people wonders, they provide minimum of benefit for others. This is true for almost every healing method or practice.

Best regards,
Angel Kafazov

Carolinda Witt said...

Hi Angel,

I have amended my post by the way to include positives and negatives. You may want to re-read this section.

I agree with you that it would be great to test the Rites thoroughly. The people being tested would have to only do the Rites and no other form of exercise etc to evaluate the results correctly.

Martial Arts, Breathing & Meditation such as you do are brilliant for raising the Qi in the body as are the Rites themselves.

For now we do not have the ability to measure life-energy in the body, and have only the teachings of the ancients and the experiences of those who do energy-raising activities. By energy I mean, Qi, Chi,Prana and Life-Energy etc.

I am sure there are others who have similar experiences to you. Go well

Anonymous said...

Hello to All nice people here!
I found that site really amazing and very, very organized and efficient.

I would like to add just a few pieces in great mosaic of the old Tibetan wisdom...which had been developed in many hundreds of years in the roughest condition in the roof of our planet Earth.

I've been practicing Tibetan Rites more or less seriously for about 13-14 years...
and I have developed deep and great respect towards this "concentrated wisdom". I started doing rites in quite serious health condition and I achieved quite astonishing results very soon, after.

I didn't take the Rites to seriously and I think that fact allowed me to play with them in many different ways...I took them more like my companion/friend on my life journey.
They allowed to me:
- to sleep 4-5 hours (there were very busy periods when I slept just 2 or less hours per day for many years, especially from the end of 1997-2003)
- to lead my team on 24/7/365 basis with quite impressive charisma/passion (a kind of a strong magnetic power) to the really "impossible" missions, which were very successful at the end
- to almost play with my weight between 70-100kg...depends of the season and mostly my eating habits (loads of very rich food and drinks - I also owned one of the top restaurants at that time)
- to have a very strong libido (sexual power/desire)
- to live and work at quite extreme weather conditions from freezing cold with cold wind, ice, snow to very hot and humid with thunderstorms
- to carry thousands of kilograms uphill or rowing across the water of the lake, every day
- to be constantly under extreme mental pressure, because of the nature of my duties, responsibilities, hostilities between different groups of people and very tight budget
- to be under constant life threat, even it didn't feel as though to me/us, because it was a real pleasure to achieve the final result (happiness and satisfaction of other people, and some rescued lives, too)
- to meet or to entertain or to care after many of the most powerful/influential people of the planet

It didn't help me:
- in achieving calm, loving, successful marriage which finished in bad divorce

Because I was simply "to blind and deaf", to listen my inner slow life tempo a that time.

I/we are mostly coming from the western "fast-food - consumerism society, cash-point culture" and we expect fast solutions for almost anything. Nothing wrong with that, except that we do everything, BUT Live the Life!
And, now just many many lives of Tibetan many many many thoughts...walking uphill in Himalayas...and so much more...
to concentrate the experiences in just 5 RITES!!!
which are, by the way, perfectly made for our "fast society" of the West...

For me 5 Tibetan Rites have a bit of holly connotation. They help me in so many ways. They are my secret partner, a wonderful and powerful tool, a secret weapon in the competition of modern, results/profit oriented world.

And I share them just with special people who deserve them ("don't throw the pearls to the swine...")

but, there are people who are maybe older, maybe with some illness and they don't know...the feeling of doing something good for them and to introduce something new as Tibetan Rites are truly fantastic!!! And results are amazing, too! In most cases their lives get their's meaning, back.

and some more funny stuff...
I experimented a bit with Rites and found out that you can fight grey hair, loosing of libido, pain in back/joints, negative thinking, low self esteem, impossible situations in life...

many books of examples could be written, but why???
why to convince a person who doesn't want to try and experience it by her/himself?
no efforts, no's plain simple (you can't buy results)

play...enjoy...don't rush...and "what on the Earth" is a few days, months or years or decades comparable with eternity of nature/God/life/energy/ideas/vibrations?

(I think people are quite confused these days about so many researches about our health in the way: tomato is not healthy, because...a few years later: tomato is healthy, because...: just one big mess, widely used for marketing by corporations
and we should also consider the fact which became very clear from the field of quantum physics:
in the moment we start any observing activity we are changing results of that activity by our interference)

here is my email address
If a friend from Croatia is interested I could chat/talk/write more about his Tibetan Rites experiences (I like and understand his language, and I like theirs wonderful Adriatic coast with islands and cities as Dubrovnik/Trogir/Zagreb/Pula)

Let's be active. Life is beautiful!


Carolinda Witt said...

Hi Ervin,

What a lovely long and inspiring post!

I feel exactly the same way about the Rites as you have so wonderfully described - particularly about them being a companion in life.

You sound like you have had an amazing and challenging life! Wow!

I wonder if you felt that the Rites helped you deal with the mixed emotions that follow the end of a marriage? I found them absolutely a rod of iron inside me or a quietly ticking inner clock that kept me together after someone close to me died in a tragic and unnecessary accident. Since that incredible experience - I know I would never give them up.

I'll pass your email on to the other writer in Croatia just in case he doesn't log back into this Blog for a while. Thanks!

Enjoy the miracle of life!

All the best, Carolinda

Anonymous said...

I like Ervin's post. But he sounds like the kind of person who would have energy to do all the wonderful things that he has done with or without the five rites. Maybe I am mistaken, but I would be interested in knowing what his life was like before the 5 rites.

I have been practicing the 5 rites for three years now and can truly say that they are my best companion in life. I always look forward to doing them in every morning. They truly are meditation in motion. As Carolinda said so well, once I started listening to my body more carefully during and after the Rites, I did start to feel a nice but very subtle current all over my body. At 52 I can truly say that I have never felt this good in my body. I dance and enjoy dancing better. My enjoyment of music seems to have increased. My libido is outstanding - according to my partner. In short, I enjoy life better and that, I think is part of what makes me look and feel 35-40 years old( which is age-range where most people seeing me for the firt time place me). I know the Five rites play a great role in the way I look and feel. I need only 5 to 6 hours of sleep. But I also go jogging 2 to 3 times a week for 30 to 50 minutes, drink lots of plain water all day long and spend time meditating everyday. I seldom eat meet. So what is the part played by the 5 rites? That is what makes it so hard to quantify its benefits. One thing I know is that I will keep doing them for many, many years to come.

Nelson -

Carolinda Witt said...

Hi Nelson! Nice to hear from you again.

Both you and Ervin seem to have a very positive outlook to life and are certainly doing and getting the best out of it.

Even Colonel Bradford said that the monks told him you have to have a strong belief that the Rites (or anything) will work. However, I also accept the viewpoint of a previous comment that referred to an overly high expectation on the Rites being a panacea or cure for everything!

But there again, I believe in two sides to everything!

However I am in your camp Nelson and Ervin - I would never stop doing them! They work for me and they work for you.

All the best


Anonymous said...

hi carol, long time. did you get the article?

i want to tell your students/readers/audience that i have been doing the rites for 12 years, not missing a single day for the last five years, and its truly amaziing. i add stetches and push ups to it and in 30 minutes a day feel on top of the world. when the planet is collapsing in so many ways, isnt this a great feeling??? why not feel on top???

even if i am very rushed, i cut out the rest of the exercises and keep to the 5 tibetans.

i have so much of energy that i dont know what to do with it. i feel like an adolescent with its many pitfalls!!

so i go out and tire myself deliberately or i may not be able to sleep.

of course, a simple veg diet, some antioxidants like garlic and ashvagandha and a positive attitude helps.

once you try it, you are hooked.

of course, people are different. circumstances are different, genetic make-ups are different and so on.

but, bottomline, its good for you. dont expect miracles. just do it!

cheers..raj from bombay, india

Carolinda Witt said...

Yes I got the article - thank you so much Raj. I am putting it on my website today under media. Take a look later

I love getting your posts, they are so enthusiastic and even funny. The thought of you out and about trying to tire yourself out so you can sleep is funny!

Take care. We should be calling you MR FIVE TIBETANS soon!

Anonymous said...

thanks for the invite but the reason i dont get into any networking site is because it eats into my time. but heres my email id -- -- and if anyone is interested, they can write to me.

Carolinda Witt said...

Thanks Raj - I know what you mean about time. However I got an interview from Facebook, so it is good for business too!

Anonymous said...

havent seen the 'friday' article in 'media'. is it somewhere else?

Carolinda Witt said...

It's definitely there! Check again! Do you want me to send the pdf as I have only included the section on T5T not Razia.
Click link below.

Carolinda Witt said...

Sorry, here is URL for Gulf Friday Magazine article

Anonymous said...

hi carol, long time. raj here. two questions; not entirely unrelated to holistic wellness. do you work with colours, and what do you think of isometric exercises like the bullworker etc. colours for different days and different energy and things like that. cheers!

Carolinda Witt said...

Hey Raz, nice to talk to you again. I think strength training exercise is very important and the Bullworker is great for that. Good for muscle tone and strength and you can do it at home.

The only problem with all these things is whether people can remain motivated to keep doing them. That's why I find T5T so good, because it is actually enjoyable and the impact on your body is so good. To prevent bone loss as we age it is very important also to do weight bearing exercise. Rites no 4 and 5 are weight bearing.

With regard to colour - this is a huge subject! Yes I sometimes use the imagery of the colours of the chakras when I meditate. I have also used aura soma. I just love those beautiful coloured bottles. See I have also played around with The Colour Test - a personality and self development tool you can use which accesses your subconscious mind through your choice of colour.

I have also attended a talk by this guy and looked at his incredible book. I was very impressed with his research some of which is based on colour and eating various things in particular colour spectrums for specific healing purposes. Much more in his work than this though, but the concept of colour in food really interested me. See

What are you up to with this?

Anonymous said...

I did the five tibetans for about two years, almost every day faithfully, and had worked up to the 21 repetitions; however, very often I found that doing these exercises fatigued me greatly. I got into doing other exercises to strengthen my muscles and eventually stopped with the five tibetans - this during the past year. Once in a while I would do about five to nine reps of the five tibetans. I read in a book that it is really only necessary to do nine reps of each exercise. Just this past week I started doing them again every morning, only nine reps, because I had a pain in my shoulder and I was pretty sure the exercises would help - and they did. The bothersome pain in my shoulder is now gone, and I have felt pretty good the past few days. I still think that 21 reps is too much, though. The whirling around 21 times was easy - it was the other exercises, and I don't like the fact that you were supposed to tense up your muscles at the apex of a couple of the exercises. Now for the fifth exercise I am not doing the muscle tensing.

Carolinda Witt said...

Hi, thanks for your comment, very interesting. I have a few suggestions you might find helpful.
1. Make certain you are breathing when doing the rites. Breathing in ALL THE WAY UP into the first part of the posture and breathing out ALL THE WAY DOWN into the 2nd part of the posture. Not breathing fully will block the energy flow and you will not feel as revitalized. Maybe you are doing this already?
2. When building up to 21 repetitions did you do it over a period of weeks or follow Colonel Bradford's (and my) suggestion to start with just 3 per week, then add two more repetitions per week ie: 5, 7, 9, 11 etc until you are doing 21 repetitions in 10 weeks time? This tends to prevent fatigue and keeps you feeling energised by the movements.
3. I haven't heard it is only necessary to do 9, that certainly isn't in the original text. Well I figure you do what you can which is better than doing nothing at all!
4. I would do 21 of the Spin if you can do it easily because it helps to get your chakras spinning more rapidly which fills your body with more life-energy, (prana, Qi). Also it is great for raising energy.
Wish you well

Carolinda Witt said...

Oh yes, I forget to say. I agree about tensing the muscles at the end as not being at all pleasant to experience and seems to add no further benefit, rather it seems to create tension in the body. By the way it is only recommended (in the original text) for Rite No 4 which I call the Tabletop. I don't do it either.

Anonymous said...

I see the 5Ts as a launching pad. I believe that various standing Qigong-like systems (including the internal martial arts) can actually generate more healing prana and give greater benefits, however, those systems require 45 mins to 2 hrs per day, for them to restore one's youthful resilience. Those programs aren't meant to be taken lightly. So, with the minimal amount of time commitment, the 5Ts delivers results along with a good vitamin supplementation plan including Green Tea, Resveratrol, Goji Berry extract, etc, an exercise bike along with pushup bars. I think the average western can muster that to stay healthy up until retirement.

Carolinda Witt said...

Agreed with you. Sounds nice and simple! Chiao

hk said...

I have been practicing T5T since the Oct 2009. I started doing 10 reps
and increased to 21 reps and did them regularly.
However, after every session. I felt a strange tiredness and felt the need to sleep it off.
There was an intense muscle fatigue in the lower neck region towards the shoulder blades. This is exactly the opposite of what is expected. I read the book by Christopher Kilham, apart from consulting a few websites.
My breathing seems to be according what is mentioned in the book.
As far as the benefits are considered, my posture has improved, and my
tummy has become flat and my arms have developed some muscle. In the beginning, my body did detox. My sleep and bowel movement had improved remarkably. My friends commented that I look younger.
I have discontinued the exercises since this september, and I dont
feel the sleepy and tired anymore.
I consulted a traditional chinese medicine practitioner in Delhi who has advised
me against these as they bring in a lot of stress to the body.

I would appreciate if you could give me some feedback.

Carolinda Witt said...

Hi HK. I have a couple of suggestions to try.

Since your fatigue occurs after doing the Rites, it is possible that spinal compression is a factor. Please see this diagram which shows the areas affected by compression of the spinal nerve root. - there are many sites that explain what spinal nerve compression means and how you can be affected. Fatigue is a symptom, although many sites don't mention this. Look up chiropractic sites for further info on this. This is a bit useful

The way the original Rites are described you are encouraged to bend as much as you can in the lumbar spine and the neck region. This causes problems in a number of people and why I have developed the T5T system of learning the Rites which avoids compression and utilises the deepest core muscles of the body to protect the spine.

I do not believe that the Rites themselves are too powerful and cause more stress than other forms of exercise. The cause is some variant in your individual body. Please see a chiropractor or osteopath, physiotherapist or specialist medical doctor who can check your spine out.

Having said that, when you practice the Rites, the main things to avoid are:

1. Do not collapse your neck or your back during any of the Rites. Keep your neck and your back long and strong. Extensive bending of the neck and lower back causes compression of the vertebrae and discs and the pain in your shoulders and your fatigue may be linked to this.

Let us know how you go.

Best wishes


Illuvatar said...

Thanks for adding your contribution to teh Rites.

My comments on there effectiveness are these:

Taking the books story as accurate, the Tibetan monks were doing the exercizes in a pristine environment, charged with the vitality of the great mountain.

People today do them in cesspools of cities and pollution.

The Rites are intended to accelerate and activate the glands which are the physical correspondence of the higher energy chakras. All kinds of factors today tend to decelerate those glands and chakras. These deceleration factors include

-residue of birth control pills in the water supply, which causes fish to de-sex, and perhaps is part of the plague of homosexuality and gender identity problems. All these relate to hormones which relate to the glands.

-destructive music and rhythms which draw down the life force.

-mindless culture and entertainment which drain vast amounts of energy through attention. chatter.

The regeneration of the life force briningn youth certainly is accelerated by the 6th Rite, and excessive expectations about the rites without the 6th Rite may not be realistic for many people.

Interestingly, there is an over at Borderland science analyzing why these exercizes have such a strong effect. Their conclusion is that the last 4 activate the thyroid, in the neck. That is the main difference I see between these and yoga and chi kung. They concentrate upon the thyroid area.

Thanks again for your contribution. I am considering learning your material and teaching people your way.

Carolinda Witt said...

Good points!!