How to be young and vigorous

Vuyolwethu Ndongeni

AN ancient Tibetan exercise routine with the promise of youth and peace of mind has been brought to Port Elizabeth by well-known dance instructor and exercise therapist Lesley Albrecht.

Albrecht will host a workshop of The Five Tibetans this weekend in an effort to encourage proper methods of exercise and the benefits of the Five Tibetans.

She said correct breathing and maintaining a straight posture were the essential points of The Five Tibetans, also known as the Five Rites of Rejuvenation.

“The Five Tibetans are five movements based on working the muscles, putting bones in the correct place, and breathing properly,” said Albrecht.

The exercise therapist has been teaching The Five Tibetans for the past 12 years, a regimen which is similar to yoga in its movements, with the difference being that the movements are a repetition of five set moves.

They are said to curb the ageing process, regenerate mind and body, and also enhance energy and build strength.

“The system of movements is breath-based, and known as the Five Rites of Rejuvenation because of its supposed ability to keep the body young and also keep old age at bay,” said Albrecht.

Although the anti-ageing benefits of the Five Tibetans has not yet been scientifically-proven, when the exercises are done properly, she says, they provide potential for mobility, strength and endurance.

“Often people seem to age quicker because the bones are not in the right place and the posture is incorrect. The basics of the Five Tibetans, which are breath-control, placing bones correctly and the posture, have provided really amazing results for the old people I’ve trained,” said Albrecht whose oldest member is 84.

While being an exercise regime, the Five Tibetans are a good corrective measure for injuries accumulated during other activities.

“People try to do the right thing by exercising, but are doing it incorrectly, with the incorrect posture and the light breathing,” she said.

She also said that exercise could cause lower back pain.

“An over-extension of the lower back when exercising can bring discomfort and possibly cause disc damage. And the Five Tibetans are progressive as they divide the exercise into five levels.”

Of all the benefits of the Five Tibetans, the most important is that they enhance oxygen-uptake, encouraging breath-control.

“When you breathe, you also release tension helping the body relax and clearing up head-space, because lack of head-space can lead to disease,” she said.

Most people want to exercise, they just don’t have the time, and this is where the Five Tibetans have advantage over popular forms of exercise like yoga.

“The five levels of the Five Tibetans all have degrees of difficulty, but once taught, an entire session wouldn’t take longer than 15 minutes.

“If you have five minutes, you can choose how many you want to do, and tailor them to your own needs,” said Albrecht.

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