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  T5T Home » Articles » The 3rd Rite - Kneeling Backbend
The 3rd Rite - Kneeling Backbend
The 3rd Rite - Kneeling Backbend

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In the original book about the Rites, 'The Eye of Revelation' - the author Peter Kelder describes the movement in two different ways. Under the illustration's above he says:

*     The first position of this Rite is to kneel on a rug or mat with hands at sides, palms flat against the side of the legs.  Then lean forward as far as possible, bending at the waist,with head well forward – chin on chest.

*     The second position of this Rite is to lean backward as far as possible.  Cause the head to move still further backward.  The toes will prevent you from falling over backward.

*     The hands are always kept against the side of the legs.  Next come to an erect (kneeling) position, relax as much as possible for a moment, and perform Rite all over again

Then in the text that follows the introduction to this Rite, he doesn't mention bending at the waist - he says:

*     All one needs to do is to kneel on his ‘prayer rug,’ place his hands on his thighs, and lean forward as far as possible with the head inclined so that the chin rests on the chest.

*     Now lean backward as far as possible at the same time the head should be lifted and thrown back as far as it will go.

*     Then bring the head up along with the body. Lean forward again and start the rite all over.

To compound the issue his illustration does not show bending at the waist.

So what should we do? 

There are reasons some teachers, myself included don't bend at the waist or follow these instructions to the exact letter which are given below. However it is up to you which way you want to do the 3rd Rite, as you won't notice any additional increase in energy, or the other known benefits of the Rites.

However in the T5T version which we teach you get an ADDED benefit in that we use a step-by-step progression building up to the required 21 repetitions that incorporates and strengthens the deepest muscles (core) closest to the spine.  When these are correctly activated, the core muscles act like a natural weight belt or corset to protect your spine (lower back and neck). Like the guidewires on a tent, the better they are aligned the stronger the structure.  Having core strength is a huge benefit for every day life and can help reduce back ache or in some case eliminate it.
Here is what this teacher (me) does and why:

Core muscles work best when the spine is in its natural (neutral alignment). Think of a squiff tent pole to understand this concept.  In other words in T5T we maintain the natural S Shape of the spine, and do not exaggerate the already flexible lower back and neck curve.  Why? To avoid compression of the vertebrae and discs and avoid the potential for strain or injury by compacting the spine.  We keep our hips aligned over our knees (joint over joint) to avoid pressure on the joints. 

By maintaining a long and strong alignment throughout the movement, we avoid compression and allow the spine to 'breathe.'

In T5T we also do NOT recommend that you ‘lean back as far as possible’ or lean back on the thighs as illustrated above; because we have seen numerous people strain the muscles of the groin and lower back. The potential for this occurring increases with repetitions and frequency. The Rites are done daily, and are therefore repetitive movements. As such, consideration must be given to long-term practice of the Rites and how this impacts both positively and for some less positively over a far longer period than just beginners.

By aligning your body correctly from the very beginning and not using the momentum of the movement, but being present in your body so you can control your technique, is most beneficial to avoid strain.

We also recommend that you AVOID 'throwing the head back as far as it will go’ as  this compresses the vertebrae and discs of the spine in the lower back & neck. It is best to keep your spine lengthened throughout the posture with your core muscles activated to protect your spine. 

Due to anatomical differences, some people need to be particularly careful of lowering the head back as far as illustrated because they can occlude (kink) the vertebral artery reducing oxygen supply to the brain. If you get dizzy or feel a bit feint during this movement, don’t drop your head back so far – keep your neck long and strong.

In T5T we have a Beginners Version which teaches you how to keep your lumbar & cervical spine (lower back & neck) ‘long & strong’ to avoid compression. It is best to keep your entire spine lengthened throughout the posture with your core muscles activated to protect your spine.

Finally, it is worth remembering that the Rites were brought to the West by a Westerner, and as such his interpretation may vary from those of the monks or adepts who taught him.  Their lineage was passed down verbally from teacher to student, so it is understandable that some errors can occur in translation. In the case of "The Eye of Revelation" there is an error in describing the spinning direction of the Whirling Dervishes, who in fact spin anti-clockwise.

I hope this information has helped you.

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If you wish to publish this article on your website you may do so, provided that you assign copyright to the author exactly as written below:  A pdf is available on request.

Copyright (c) 2005 Carolinda Witt - author The Illustrated Five Tibetan Rites (Penguin/Lantern 2005) and The 10-Minute Rejuvenation Plan (Random House/Three Rivers Press 2007)



Displaying 1 to 1 (of 1 articles) Result Pages:  1 
Below is a list of articles with the most recent ones listed first.
To Bend or Not to Bend in The 3rd Rite? by Carolinda Witt Topic: The 3rd Rite - Kneeling Backbend
In 'The Eye of Revelation' Peter Kelder says to 'lean forward as far as possible, bending at the waist, with head well forward Ė chin on chest' but his illustration of the movement doesn't show this. What should you do?
Displaying 1 to 1 (of 1 articles) Result Pages:  1 
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All Articles (32)
Energy & Other Benefits of 'The Five Rites' (1)
Before You Start Practicing (2)
The Ist Rite - The Spin (5)
The 2nd Rite - Leg Raise
The 3rd Rite - Kneeling Backbend (1)
The 4th Rite - Tabletop
The 5th Rite - Pendulum (1)
Breathing With "The Tibetan Rites" (2)
General Practice & Health Info (4)
6th Rite - Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth (1)
Peter Kelder, Rites History & Research (8)
The Eye of Revelation, Chakras, Energy (1)
Longevity, Anti-Aging Diet, Mantras (4)
Motivation, Long Term Practice (2)

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