Tibetan exercises to help you feel great every day
Eastern cultures have given the world many fascinting things, including some great methods of improving your body and soul. They can help you to tone your tired or otherwise weak muscles and resolve problems with your spine. They are remarkably easy to perform even for the completely uninitiated.
Here are just five exercises. We recommend doing them in the morning when you have greater energy. Begin by doing 7 reps and gradually work your way up to 20.
Starting position: Stand with your arms outstretched and horizontal to the floor, palms facing down. Make sure your arms are in line with your shoulders. Your feet should be about hip distance apart.
Exercise: Draw the crown of your head up toward the ceiling. Focus on a spot in front of you so that you can count your rotations. Spin around clockwise until you become a little dizzy. Gradually increase the number of spins from two to 21.
Breathing: Inhale and exhale deeply as you spin.
Starting position: Lie flat on the floor. Fully extend your arms along your sides and place the palms of your hands against the floor. If you have lower back issues, place your fingers underneath your sacrum.
Exercise: As you inhale, raise your head off the floor, tucking your chin into your chest. Simultaneously lift your legs, knees straight, into a vertical position. If possible, extend your legs over your body toward your head. Then slowly exhale, lowering your legs and head to the floor, keeping your knees straight and your big toes together.
Breathing: Breathe in deeply as you lift your head and legs, and exhale as you lower them.
Starting position: Kneel on the floor with your toes curled under. Place your hands on the backs of your thigh muscles. Tuck your chin in toward your chest.
Exercise: Slide your hands down the backs of your thighs as you draw your shoulders back and your head up toward the sky. Keep in mind that you are arching your upper back more than your lower back. Move your head back as if you were drawing a line with your nose on the ceiling. Slowly return to an upright position and repeat.
Breathing: Inhale as you arch your spine and exhale as you return to an erect position.
Starting position: Sit down on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you and your feet about 30 centimetres apart. Place your palms on the floor alongside your sitz bones.
Exercise: As you gently drop your head back, raise your torso so that your knees bend while your arms remain straight. You are basically in a table-top position. Slowly return to your original sitting position. Rest for a few seconds before repeating this exercise.
Breathing: Breathe in as you rise up into the pose, hold your breath as you tense your muscles, and breathe out fully as you come down.
Starting position: Lie down on your belly with your palms face down and in line with your chest.
Exercise: Press up into an upward-facing dog by curling your toes under, lifting your heart, and drawing your shoulders back. Your arms should be straight. Look straight ahead of you, or if you are a little more flexible, gently draw your head back, taking your eyes toward the sky. Then draw your hips up and back, extending your spine, into downward-facing dog pose. Repeat by moving back and forth between downward- and upward-facing dog.
Breathing: Breathe in as your rise up into upward-facing dog; breath out as you push back into downward-facing dog.