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"The Tibetan 5 Rites" and "The Five
Elements" by Carolinda Witt
At the time of the development of the Five Tibetan Rites of Rejuvenation, the ancients
believed that their world was composed of Five Elements; water, earth, air, fire and
In psychology the Five Elements are used to personify different human traits, such as
the personality types categories by Carl Jung (feeling, sensing, intuiting, and thinking)
and those associated with the astrological signs of the zodiac. I experimented with
the concept of assigning an element to each of the Rites, and found the results to be
In each case, the physical movement of the Rite was a metaphor for what we were
trying to achieve mentally - awareness in a different aspect of life. For example the
Spin takes the element energy, and the vortex that the movements create allows you
to replenish your body from the larger energy all around us. The Tabletop takes the
element earth, and its movements focus on stability, foundation and balance, giving
us a solid base from which to form new ideas.
In holistic exercise it can sometimes be hard to marry the physical state with the
mental state, and having a metaphor helps people enormously to align the two, and
to present a clear picture of what they are working towards.
Having assigned an element and a modern name to each Rite, I then experimented
with creating an affirmation that expressed the 'energy' of each movement. The result
is a method of reinforcing and focusing upon the positive benefits of each Rite
physically, mentally and spiritually. This has a ripple effect on every area of your life.
Rite # 1 (Energy) - The Spin -- "I am full of energy"
Rite # 2 (Air) - The Leg Raise -- "My mind is clear and calm"
Rite # 3 (Water) - The Kneeling Backbend -- "I am flexible and receptive"
Rite # 4 (Earth) - The Tabletop -- "I am strong and balanced"
Rite # 5 (Fire) - The Pendulum -- "I am positive and motivated"
Try using them when you practice next time - they really work!
In T5T emphasis is also placed on the mind/body connection. The physical movement
of each Rite is a metaphor for the desired mental state.
The Spin posture
replenishes & energizes
the mind and body.
The Leg Raise Posture
promotes clear, focused
The Kneeling Backbend
posture unlocks the
power of the
The Table Top posture
creates stability and
The Pendulum posture
focuses on finding the
motivation, courage and
energy to follow one's