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The Five Tibetans: the fountain of youth?

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Human ChakraWould you dedicate ten minutes of your day if that was all it took to discover the Fountain of Youth? Or would you laugh and scoff at this seemingly absurd idea tossing it aside as some new age, book-idea-selling-mumbo-jumbo-nonsense?

The Five Tibetans are five rites or rituals, which if performed on a daily basis over time are thought to reverse the aging process and restore one to a state of youth and vitality. When I initially heard this claim, I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard…five exercises a day are going to change my life that dramatically? No way. Nonetheless, I was intrigued enough to research the practice a bit further.

The body has seven energy centers, called chakras that although invisible to the human eye, are quite powerful energy fields. These chakras or vortexes start at the base of the spine and run up through the crown of the head. They govern the body’s endocrine glands, in turn regulating all of the body’s functions including aging. In a young, healthy body, these chakras revolve at a high rate of speed allowing prana or vital life energy to flow upward through the endocrine system. If one or more of the energy chakras slows down, energy is inhibited or blocked, resulting in illness and poor health. The Five Tibetans are thought to stimulate the flow of energy throughout the seven chakras, resulting in enlivening and balancing the corresponding nerves, organs and glands. When energy flows at too high a frequency, it can result in anxiety or nervousness while energy flowing at too slow a frequency can cause that part of the body to deteriorate or age. Getting all these vortexes to spin at the same, normalized rate of speed in harmony with one another basically restores one’s vitality and youthfulness. Kind of makes sense, doesn’t it?

So who should be doing the Five Tibetans? Someone who lacks energy during the day will benefit from stimulating the flow of energy throughout the body. I am constantly hearing people tell me they wish they had more energy…anyone, any age can incorporate this routine into their lives. The entire series (each of the Five Tibetans is supposed to be done 21 times) will only take a healthy, reasonably fit person about ten minutes to complete. It is best to do them first thing in the morning, but before bedtime works as well. The exercises will also tone and strengthen the major muscle groups…who couldn’t use a more toned body? Even if you don’t believe in the aging reversal, dedicating ten minutes a day to firming and toning your body seems to be a no-brainer. If you already have an existing yoga practice, the Five Tibetans are a good warm up…a way to open up your body and get the energy flowing in preparation for your practice. Peg Koller, owner of Yoga-Yama in Patchogue, has seen many intermediate yoga students noticeably deepen their practice after incorporating the Five Tibetans into their routine.

How are the Tibetans performed? For a visual demonstration of the exercises, click here. Remember to take two cleansing breaths between each series and just do what you can…never force anything or do something that causes pain. Start out with five of each and add 1 or 2 per week until you are doing the full series of 21. In Tibet, 21 is considered to be a perfect number…and it’s not because it is the legal drinking age.

People who have claimed to visit the remote area of Tibet where this practice originated say that the monks appear decades younger than they actually are and live active, vital lives well past the centenarian mark. Peter Kelder wrote a book called Ancient Secrets of the Fountain of Youth, which goes into a detailed account of an acquaintance who had traveled and lived with this community of Tibetan monks. He includes testimonials people have made about the effects the Five Tibetans have had on their lives ranging from looking younger and feeling more energetic to being cured of chronic pain, losing weight and restoring their vision. It’s worth reading if these rituals are of interest to you. In our instant gratification, quick fix society, packaging and selling these rites as the Fountain of Youth may be the only way to grab people’s attention and draw them to this ancient Tibetan ritual.

I just started practicing the Five Tibetans this week, so I can’t personally attest to the validity of all these claims, but I am completely intrigued by this notion that something so simple can have such a profound effect and I can’t wait to see what happens. I’ll check back in with an update in a few months time to let you know…and of course I’d love to hear about other people’s experience.