Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Should You Practice "The Five Tibetan Rites" When Menstruating?

The monks who practiced the original Rites were celibate and male. There were no instructions given regarding menstruation!

However, my experience and the feedback of many of the women I have taught, is that T5T seems to improve the symptoms of menstruation. Some women report less bloating, moodiness, anxiety, cramps and sore breasts. Others say they feel less congested and the flow is improved.

I believe that because you are doing a little bit of yoga & core training (T5T) everyday - your body becomes conditioned to it - and you benefit from the cumulative effects of regular practice.

The monks said that the purpose of the Rites is to get the chakras (energy centers) of the body spinning rapidly and evenly again. The chakras are located above major nerve plexi (bunches of nerves) and the major endocrine glands of the body. In this way, they are said to improve hormonal function.

An example of this hormonal stimulation is that I taught one women who reported an increase in the production of her breast milk!

During menstruation some women's physical energy is not as strong as usual. In this case - maintain the pattern of your practice so as not to lose the motivation of the daily ritual - but perhaps to do less repetitions. Or revert back to one of the easier versions of the postures. However, some women experience increased energy during their period - so there is no one size answer to fit all! Exercise is good for you, and in fact is normal! Our sedentary lifestyle has turned exercise into an option!

Certainly if you have a condition that requires you to receive treatment from a doctor - you should definitely discuss this with him/her. There are some people who have underlying conditions such as cysts that have become aggravated through practicing the Rites (or doing other forms of exercise). If you experience any irregular spotting then you should see your doctor.

If you are exercising so much that your period stops, then that is not healthy. You would have to be working out at very high intensity for this to occur from exercise alone.

It is worth considering that in many rural cultures women work whilst having their period. They also work right up to the day before giving birth and return immediately after delivery! Of course their bodies are conditioned to ongoing physical labour, whilst those of us in urban communities need to be more cautious. The point I am making here though is the human body is pretty tough!

Personally I share the opinion of Barbara Benagh - a yoga teacher, seminar teacher and columnist on Yoga Journal

..."Since I know of no studies or research that makes a compelling argument to avoid inversions (eg. Rite No 5) during menstruation, and since menstruation affects each woman differently and can vary from cycle to cycle, I am of the opinion that each woman is responsible for making her own decision.

The bottom line is that hatha yoga is full of contradictions and varied opinions, leaving each of us ultimately responsible for our own choices. Pay attention to your body and discover what works and what doesn't — not just during your period but every day."...

Geeta Iyengar (yoga expert) says that the practice of Uddiyana Bhanda (the 6th Rite) should not be done during menstruation.

I do not incorporate the 6th Rite in any of my teachings as the monks said you must be celibate to practice it. Rather than express (waste) their sexual energy in a sexual manner; they used this powerful energy for creating higher spiritual awareness, by channeling it up the major energy lines of the body. Read my article "Why We Don't Teach The 6th Rite From The Five Tibetans" for more in-depth information.

The bottom line is that the Rites appear to help stabilize the periods. I have not had one report of ongoing increased blood flow or stopping of menstruation through practicing the Rites. What I do hear about is people saying that they are less moody, have less cramps and reduced bloating - but maintain a craving for chocolate!!!

To Download "The Eye of Revelation" Free - Click Here

To Learn T5T - and get your chakras spinning more rapidly - Click Here

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: A pdf version is available

Thursday, July 22, 2010

FREE - Five Tibetan Rites e-book

Receive the original story of the discovery of the monks for free and learn their ancient secrets to anti-aging, health and wellbeing.

The book was written by Peter Kelder in 1939 and is called "The Eye of Revelation." It comes in a pdf format so you can print or read it in seconds.

Just put E of R in the subject line and I'll email it to you straight away. No strings attached, no obligations - AND NO no keeping of your email address or using it for any purpose whatsoever.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Five Tibetan Rites - Should The Heels Touch The Floor In the 5th Rite?

It's up to you really! You can perform it exactly as instructed (heels raised above the floor) in the original book "The Eye of Revelation" - written in 1939 about the discovery of the monks - or you can lower the heels to the floor for the reasons mentioned below. It won't make any difference to the intended purpose of the Rites, which is to get the chakras spinning more rapidly so Qi can circulate freely throughout the body.

Image at right from "The Eye of Revelation" 1939 which you can
(Download Free Here)

This pose is made up of two parts. Downward Dog (upside down V shape) and a variation of Upward Dog as illustrated in the 2nd picture below.

Image at left with further instructions available from Yoga Journal

Image at left from www.T5T.com

Many yoga postures are derived from observing the movement of animals. Rite No 5 is a very common yoga posture known as Downward Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana in Sanskrit. It resembles a dog stretching after a nap. In today's terms; having the heels elevated off the floor is a classic beginner's version of Downward Dog. Beginners leg muscles are often very tight and many would not be able to lower their heels to the floor without overstraining. Over time as muscles stretch, most people are able to comfortably lower their heels to the floor - and this increases the beneficial effects of the stretch.

However, everyone is built individually including the size & proportion of their bones. In some people the bones of the ankle and the foot compress, preventing any further movement. They will never be able to place their heels flat on the floor (I am one of them) - because that is the way they were born. Once bone and bone compress, there is nowhere else to go. You can release tension in the muscles but you can't stretch bone! For fascinating information on compression and tension - and why some people can't do certain yoga postures the same way as others - see Paul Grilley's "Anatomy for Yoga" DVD.

Downward Dog is recommended for:

  • for energising the body
  • Stretching the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands
  • Strengthening the arms and legs

Yoga Journal describes this 'Deepening of The Pose' as follows:

..."To increase the stretch in the backs of your legs, lift slightly up onto the balls of your feet, pulling your heels a half-inch or so away from the floor. Then draw your inner groins deep into the pelvis, lifting actively from the inner heels. Finally, from the height of the groins, lengthen the heels back onto the floor, moving the outer heels faster than the inner."...

A precedent for having the heels touch the floor can be found in the ancient 8th Century Tibetan Yantra Yoga as taught by the Master Chogyal Namkhai Norbu. On page 174 of his book "Yantra Yoga - The Tibetan Yoga of Movement"
published by Snow Lion Publications - the text and the corresponding illustration instructs students "to place the heels on the floor."

Therefore I suggest you make a personal decision as to whether you want to stick to the pure original or 'deepen the stretch' as we do in the T5T® version of The Five Tibetan Rites.

During the 2nd part of the movement in the T5T® method, we avoid doing the posture on our tip toes (as illustrated in The Eye of Revelation) to avoid compression of the vertebrae and discs.

To Download "The Eye of Revelation" Free - Click Here

To Learn T5T - and get your chakras spinning more rapidly - Click Here

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: A pdf version is available on request.

Copyright (c) 2005 Carolinda Witt - author T5T - The Five Tibetan Exercise Rites (Penguin/Lantern 2005) and The 10-Minute Rejuvenation Plan (Random House/Three Rivers Press 2007

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Five Rites - Why We Don't Teach The 6th Rite

There are 3 reasons we at T5T: The Five Tibetans & Energy Breathing Program don't teach the 6th Rite

1. Celibacy

In the "The Eye of Revelation" published in 1939 (download free here) Colonel Bradford informs a group of men that he is teaching that there is one more Rite they can do if they really want to become 'supermen'.

..."These five Rites also make one appear more youthful; but if you really want to look and be young in every respect there is a Sixth Rite that you must practice. I have said nothing about it until now because it would have been useless to you without first having obtained good results from the other five.”

The Colonel then informed them that in order to go further with the aid of this Sixth Rite it would be necessary for them to lead a more or less continent (Abstaining from sexual intercourse; exercising restraint upon the sexual appetite; esp., abstaining from illicit sexual intercourse; chaste. [1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary] ) life.

He suggested that they take a week to think the matter over and decide whether or not they desired to do so for the rest of their lives. Then those who wished to go on would be given Rite Number Six. There were but five who came back the next week, although according to the Colonel this was a better showing than he had experienced with any of his classes in India."...

It is important to remember that the monks who developed The Five Tibetan Rites were all male and in common with those pursuing a spiritual path; they practiced celibacy. Being celibate is not a choice many men would choose to make as Colonel Bradford himself acknowledged when he began to teach The Rites.

We have found in teaching the many thousands of people we have, that the Five Rites themselves are sufficient to obtain the great benefits mentioned by Colonel Bradford. Refer to our Testimonials to read some of them.

It is not that we don't think the 6th Rite is worthy - simply that there is insufficient demand for it.

2. 6th Rite and Tantra

From my experience, people attracted to the 6th Rite will either try it and see what happens - or carry out further research. They may seek out teachers or study traditional texts on Tantric practices to which the 6th Rite belongs.

..."The Tantric practitioner seeks to use the prana (divine power) that flows through the universe (including one's own body) to attain purposeful goals. These goals may be spiritual, material or both. Most practitioners of tantra consider mystical experience imperative. Some versions of Tantra require the guidance of a guru."...Wikipedia

The information about the 6th Rite in the "Eye of Revelation" - is very basic yet enticing. I believe those interested in the 6th Rite should undertake further research. Those choosing to study and follow a Tantric path require far greater information than that which is provided in this limited text.

In the process of working with energy, the tantric practitioner has various tools at hand: Yoga, visualizations, yantras, mantras, mudras, meditation, mind training, identification & internalization of deities, mandalas, feasts, purification achievements, initiations and more.

There is a persistent viewpoint that many of these practices should only be made available to advanced students - for concern that inexperienced practitioners may misuse or misunderstand them, adversely affecting their health or sanity.

..."Secrecy is a cornerstone of tantric Buddhism, simply to avoid harming oneself and others by practicing without proper guidance. It is not even allowed to explain the full symbolism and psychology of the practice to the uninitiated, which can easily lead to misunderstanding and dismissal by the uninitiated."...

..."H. H. XIV Dalai Lama (1999). The Heart of the Buddha's Path. Thorsons. pp. 100–101. ISBN 0-7225-3932-0. ..."What is required for a Tantric practitioner is to develop the capacity to utilize one's faculties of bliss and the blissful experiences which are specifically generated due to the flow of regenerative fluids within one's own energy channels. It is crucial to have the ability to protect oneself from the fault of emission."...Wikipedia

Colonel Bradford himself cautions "In The Eye of Revelation"

..."Please understand that in order to perform Rite Number Six it is absolutely necessary that a man have full masculine virility. He couldn’t possibly raise up and transmute procre­ative energy if there were little or none to transmute. It is absolutely impossible for an impotent man or the one with little virility to perform this Rite. He shouldn’t even attempt it, because it would only lead to discouragement, which might do him great harm. Instead he should first practice the other five Rites until he has full masculine power, and this regardless of how young or how old he may be. Then when the first “full bloom of youth” is experienced within him, he may then go on to the business of being a SUPER­MAN."...

...“Again I say, let no man concern himself with the up­turning of the sex currents until he is thoroughly satisfied in his own mind and heart that he truly desires to lead the life of the MYSTIC; then let him make the step forward, and success will crown his every effort."...

3. The 6th Rite Is One Of The Three Bandhas Known As "Uddiyana Bandha"

The bottom line is: I don't teach the 6th Rite because I feel it is important to let my students know more about 'spiritual energy' before they make the decision to practice this Rite or not.

There are actually three bandhas; mula, uddiayana (the 6th Rite) & jalandhara bandha. When practiced together they form the maha bandha. Bandhas are energy (prana) valves. They are practiced
together or individually at specific times during yoga postures; breathing; visualisation; meditation and other yogic practices.
  • They direct the flow of prana throughout the body so that blockages are released and the corresponding areas nourished
  • Bind or 'lock' the prana to prevent dissipation from the body
  • Redirect prana in a healing and energising direction
  • Activate the 'energy body' of a person, bringing awareness to the mental, neurophysiological & energetic patterns behind the physical body
Uddiyana means flying upward energy lock. It moves energy upward, releasing stuck energy which flows into the heart centre opening the Vishnu Granthi (the knot of the heart). One of three knots (locks or obstacles) which when released allow the flow of kundalini up the central energy canal in the subtle body called the sushumna nadi. The sushumna nadi runs up the spinal column & connects the base chakra to the crown chakra.

There are 72,000 nadis or more in the body through which prana (the flow of consciousness) travels.

Kundalini relates to a reservoir of psychic energy coiled up like a snake at the base of the spine. When the Kundulini awakes we experience an expansion of consciousness & become aware of the Divine Truth. It brings with itself pure joy, knowledge and love.

A spiritual teacher is recommended to guide the aspirant in his/her understanding of spiritual energy as well as instructing them in careful strengthening & purification of the body & nervous systems beforehand. Negative experiences such as psychic disturbances, mental stability or even permanent mental damage can occur if proper guidance and advice is followed.

Colonel Bradford explains that the 6th Rite

”should only be practiced when one has an ‘excess of procreative energy; when there is a definite desire for expression. It can be done so easily that it can be performed anywhere at any time. When one feels the powerful reproductive urge, here is all that is necessary.’…

He says that repeating the complete sequence (breathing exercise) around three times is …“required to subdue a most powerful urge and to turn the powerful procreative or reproductive forces upward.’…

…“In the average virile man,” said the Colonel, “the life forces course downward, but in order to become a Super­man they must be turned upward. This we call ‘The Newer Use of the Reproductive Energy’. Turning these powerful forces upward is a very simple matter, yet man has attempted it in many ways for centuries and in almost every instance has failed. Whole religious orders in the Occidental World have tried this very thing, but they, too, have failed because they have tried to master the procreative energy by suppressing it. There is only one way to master this powerful urge, and that is not by dissipating or suppressing it, but by TRANSMUTING it -- transmuting it and at the same time lifting it upward. In this way you really and truly have discovered not only the ‘Elixir of Life’, as the ancients called, it, but you have put it to use as well, which is something the ancients were seldom able to do.”…

As you can see this topic is quite vast and not one that we feel we can adequately address in a short amount of time! That's why we don't teach it. It is of course up to you whether you practice it or not, and there are those who do.

Why don't you write a
post on this Blog and ask people to contribute comments, knowledge or actual experience?

To Download "The Eye of Revelation" Free - Click Here

To Learn T5T - and get your chakras spinning more rapidly - Click Here

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: A pdf version is available on request.

Copyright (c) 2005 Carolinda Witt - author T5T - The Five Tibetan Exercise Rites (Penguin/Lantern 2005) and The 10-Minute Rejuvenation Plan (Random House/Three Rivers Press 2007)