I want to introduce one of my daily practices: the Five Tibetan Rites. Because the rites take 10-20 minutes, depending on practice and skill, I can do this even when my hectic schedule says otherwise. The Five Tibetan Rites were developed by Tibetan Monks as a daily practice for mindfulness, strength, balance, flexibility and breath work. They can be thought of as moving mediation, especially when your practice takes shape, and, they are great for people of all ages.
I recommend performing the rites in the morning and do no more then seven to eight repetitions in the beginning, eventually building your practice to 21 reps per rite.
Rite 1 Begins by standing hip width apart with arms outstretched to the sides, palm down and hands level with your shoulders. Focus your gaze on a spot in front of you while rotating your body. Continue to focus on the spot as you do so. It won't take long before you get dizzy. Most people doing this rite for the first time will get dizzy by four or five rotations. Stop before you get too dizzy. Have an open space to do this rite!
If you fell on the floor from dizziness then you are in perfect position to begin Rite two, haha! Lie flat on the floor with arms extended along your sides. Place your palm against the floor or ground. If your lower back ails you, then place your hands under your sacrum. With legs together, you are ready to begin. Inhale, raising your head tucked into your chest. Simultaneously raise straight legs just past 90 degrees towards your head. Exhale and release head and legs to the ground.
The photo shows me approaching 90 degrees and I try to go to approximately 110 degrees. Go slow and feel the abs work.
Rite 3 is a real blessing to the spinal cord when done slowly and with proper technique. Kneel on the floor or ground. Curl your toes under (I cannot do this comfortably with shoes on so I recommend doing Rite 3 with shoes off) and place your hands on the upper thigh. Tuck your chin in towards your chest. Inhale as you slide your hands down your thighs as you draw back your shoulders arching your upper back. Let your head follow. Easy does it on your lower back so your spine feels good. Exhale and return to start.
Rite 4 starts seated on the floor or ground with legs straight in front of you with feet shoulder width apart. Palms flat on the floor or ground next to your sides. Inhale and drop your head back, while raising your torso so that your knees bend to a 90 degree angle making a torso table. Arms should be straight (see photo).
Exhale and slowly return to start. Rest and repeat. Note: I like to flex all of my muscles as I reach my tabletop position. This feel really good.
Rite 5 is my favorite because I have found it to be an abdominally active practice. Actually, you can engage your core muscles to move your entire body from start to finish. It is here that I have "found" my core muscles. The realization is quite amazing!
Lie down on your stomach with palms next to your ribcage. Inhale and press up into an upward-facing dog. Notice that my toes are curled under. This is possible in shoes as you can see here. Look straight ahead and enjoy! Exhale and bend at the hips drawing them back into downward-facing dog. Repeat between both poses.
Practice these rights slowly at first. Engage your core and breathe. The more aware and intentional you are about these two crucial pieces the more enjoyable and effective your practice will be. Don't forget to stop before you get dizzy on Rite 1 and the number you do is the number you use for every right. P.S. it took me almost two months to achieve 21 repetitions.