How to modify the five Tibetan rites

How to modify the five Tibetan ritesIn a previous post I reviewed my journey through the five Tibetan rites … and the benefits I received from practicing them daily.

[Missed it? Check out “My Journey with the Five Tibetan Rites“ here.]

But what if you or a student are not able to perform the five complete Tibetan rites?

Modify, modify, modify !!!

We usually think that being in a complete position is where all the juice is … but let me make sure. “modified” does not mean “less than”.

There are benefits for you at EVERY STEP FROM THE WAY. Each step is a krama (or layer) and should not be discounted or thought to be “unhelpful”. Working properly on the most suitable krama for your body is, in fact, MORE beneficial than a krama that is beyond the comfort zone of your body.

Patanjali states precisely in Yoga tomorrow 2.46: stiram sukham asanam (stable, comfortable, seat).

Mastery of asanas is achieved through our ability to find stability and ease when we sit down. This is the true honor of your body and at the same time allows the mind to find comfort and firmness (that is, the true goal of yoga).

Modifications for each rite are suggested below. We encourage you to be creative and create your own modified rites to use when the whole movement is out of reach.

Rite no. 1 modified: breaths swinging “ha”.

  • standing with feet apart hip to shoulderModification of the oscillating breath for the Tibetan rite # 1
  • let your arms hang loose on your sides
  • Start rotating from side to side letting your arms be like the loose sleeves of a coat driven by the movement of your hips.
  • look at the swing or turn
  • allow the arms to wrap smoothly around the body
  • release the heel from the floor and grab the weight on the main foot, keeping the legs slightly bent, pushing the hips to the side
  • make as many as you want
  • as he swings to the side, he exhales through his mouth with a “ha” sound.
  • as you move through the center inhale through your nose

Leg lift modifications for Tibetan rite # 2Modified Rite # 2: Modified leg lifts

  • lie on the floor, lean on your elbows and slide your hands under your hips to support your lower back
  • lift your legs a few inches off the floor, repeat five to ten times
  • you can lift one leg at a time and bend your knees if necessary
  • keep the spine long with the natural lumbar curve

Rite no. 3 modified: 30 minutes walk daily and / or squat against the wall (hold three deep breaths), repeat a few times

  • squatting letting his back slide against the wall as if he were sitting in a chair
  • knees and feet hip-width apart
  • slide down so that your knees are at a 90 ° angle, your knees on your feet

Rolling up and down in seven bandhasanaModified Rite # 4: Setu dynamic bandhasana

  • lie on the ground in a position prepared for setu bandhasana
  • inhale your hips up, exhale your hips down
  • breathe slowly and fully, move slowly
  • repeat five to 10 times

Cat and cow (this is the part of the cow)Modified Rite # 5: Cat and dog stretching or dog stretching down

  • Cat and dog stretching is the softest modification
  • inhale on the dog’s stretch
  • exhale down
  • try to change your breathing pattern, what do you see?

Warm-ups for practice, if necessary:

  • wrist and finger stretches and reinforcements (as many Rites put weight on your hands; see our post on wrist reinforcements)
  • neck warm-ups / stretches (as many rites involve a wide range of head and neck movements)
  • shoulder rolls and stretches (see our post on shoulders)
  • moderate abdominal enhancers
  • cat and dog stretch to wake up the spine

Moving forward

After working with the modified positions and movements daily for a couple of weeks, try three repetitions of the five complete Tibetan rites. If you feel like it, continue with the recommended gradual increase described in our article “My Journey with the Five Tibetan Rites.”

If one or more of the rites is still too vigorous for you, return to the modified version of this rite until you have gained more flexibility and strength.

It is much better to do a mini or modified practice than not to practice at all. ⁇


This blog is a work of love and is dedicated to serving the yoga community and its amazing teachers. Comments are appreciated … let us know what you think and share your experience with our readers!

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New to teaching? Check out Transforming Your Rupali Yoga Teaching – The 5 Essentials to Teaching a Fantastic Yoga Class for an easy-to-follow system for building your classes that will give you a rich experience for both you and your children students EVERY TIME.


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