As a prison inmate, Dieter Gurkasch had an awakening experience many years ago while practicing the “Five Tibetans” ®. Here he tells how it came about, how you do the exercises - and what is true of the myth about the Tibetan immortality exercises.
When I first read about the "Five Tibetans" ® it was in the book "Light Food" by Jasmuheenin which they were introduced as immortality exercises. Basically, that's what led me to work with them for almost 20 years. After all, I was just recovering from having been shot, dying twice, and being resuscitated at the time. And I was in jail with the prospect of staying there indefinitely - but in any case for a very, very long time. My wife was also learning to somehow deal with this extreme situation and had tried acupuncture treatment for it. This had led to a strong, spiritual opening experience for her, as a result of which she began to be interested in esoteric topics. Hence the book with light nutrition.
But now I'm a pretty gobbler and I do that with enthusiasm, which is why the idea of not eating anymore did not appeal to me in the least. Anyway, I was still in the middle of the whole material film with a belief in science and so on. That's why my saying in the direction of my wife was like this: "Hey, look ... If we're doing esokram, let's do something like that. Just imagine, in thirty years the prison walls will crumble around me, and I'm still sitting here completely unchanged ... Huh, what do you want from me? ”Not really meant seriously, but that is obviously on the very fertile ground I liked it, because my wife immediately got the book by Peter Kelder, “The Five Tibetans” ®, and started doing the five simple exercises according to the instructions in it.
First points of contact with spirituality and "girls' gymnastics"
14 days later she told me enthusiastically about her experiences on our next visit. She said she was doing better than she had been in years, both mentally and especially physically. My answers were quite stupid, but very cleverly meant sayings: "Fee, of course, you are fine, you are doing sport for the first time in your life, you feel better, that's why I always do it (which was actually not true, because basically I only did sport in order to be able to fight myself better ...). But I do three hours of sport a day, what, please, should ten minutes of ridiculous girls' gymnastics do for me? ”Well, she didn't know the answer to that either, but life did.
A few days later I injured my groin so badly during my men's gymnastics that it was vinegar for the time being with the sport. And so I had no more excuses why I shouldn't try this silly girls' gymnastics. After a week I caught myself whistling to the shower in the morning - and that in jail, I mean, a bad mood is almost a must, isn't it? A cold went away much faster than it came, everyday life was more fun. After a few weeks, fellow prisoners approached me for the first time, asking if I would sell them something. My astonished question, what is it, was answered with: “Well, from the stuff you use. Dude, you've been grinning all day for weeks. "Then I slowly realized
History and background of the Tibetan energy exercises
Peter Kelder originally wrote the book in the late 1930s ( Peter Kelder, "The Eye of Revelation", Mid-Day-Press, Los Angeles 1939). But then the manuscript went missing and was only reappeared and relocated in the late 1980s. It tells the story of an old colonel walking with a stick, who travels to Tibet to discover secrets and a few years later reappears as a virile gentleman in his prime and brings with him the exercises that contain the fountain of youth.
In the 1990s, the “Five Tibetans” ® were actually known to an audience of millions. But at that time they were hardly associated with yoga at all. I mean, yoga was still such a fringe group phenomenon back then, there were weird people with woolen socks and incense sticks. Weird contortions and Indian gurus - not mainstream at all.
But the yogis did not really recognize the “Five Tibetans” ® either, because they could have seen them. For example, I later found it in a very American tantra practice book from the mid-80s and was able to discover one of his kriyas for strengthening the life energy on my expeditions into Kundalini Yoga according to Yogi Bhajan, the striking similarities to the "Five Tibetans “ ® has. So the Colonel was clearly not the only one who knew her. In all likelihood, it will forever remain in the dark where the exercises actually come from. But I'm pretty sure that they are tantric techniques.
The Effects of the “Five Tibetans” ®
- The exercises develop their strength - even if at first quite unconsciously for the practitioner - from the dynamic combination of asana, bandha, and pranayama.
- They harmonize the human chakra system, which also makes their almost incomparably intense effectiveness a little more explainable (and that also gives the story with the colonel a bit of fodder, because tantric techniques were preserved in Tibetan monasteries while they were in India in the course of time Mughal rule almost disappeared is very likely).
- The five exercises holistically strengthen your muscles, tendons, and ligaments as well as your back and spine.
- They deepen your breathing and have a positive effect on your digestive and immune systems.
Yoga and the mainstream are very different today, but unfortunately, the “Five Tibetans” ® didn't come along - that's why I'm writing the article for you now. Because in the meantime I have been a yoga teacher for many years and have got to know so many varieties of yogic practice, just not a single one that achieves such incredible effects with so little effort. Because with these ridiculous ten minutes of girls' gymnastics a day I actually got into a process that led to something like enlightenment.
The “Five Tibetans” ®: Small exercises with a big effect
But back to the beginning:
So how should I deal with this is bullshit? Because after a few weeks it was already clear that at least a good part of the promised effects actually occurred - I was really doing really well, not only mentally but also physically much better. Quieter and fuller than the three hours of exercise a day had ever managed - what else did I have to reckon with? Really with immortality? Would I, if not at all, only notice that in many years? I then decided to just stop thinking and instead continue the practice while observing.
So the “Five Tibetans” ® became an integral part of my daily routine.
1. First Tibetan: The top
With first Tibetans, you turn to the right with your arms outstretched to your sides.
2. Second Tibetan: The candle
In the second Tibetan, you lift your head and legs from the supine position as you inhale and let them sink again when you exhale.
3. Third Tibetan: The Crescent
In the third Tibetan, you bend back on your knees as you inhale and come back as you exhale. Pull your chin towards the pit of your neck.
4. Fourth Tibetan: The Bridge
In the fourth Tibetan, you push yourself up from sitting with your legs straight and breathing in until you reach the table position. With the exhalation, you come back to the starting position in which the chin completes the movement towards the pit of the neck.
5. Fifth Tibetan: The Mountain
In the last exercise, you come up from the prone position with your arms until only the palms and balls of your hands are touching the floor. As you inhale, let your buttocks pull you up and back until you land in the mountain (the downward-facing dog from Hatha Yoga ). Then, as you exhale, swing yourself back into the dog that is looking up.
You practice the whole thing first with three repetitions per day, slowly and carefully increasing over weeks to the highest repetition number of 21 specified in the book.
How the exercises changed my life
What has evolved from it over the coming months and years is obviously so astonishing for many people that I was urged to write a book about it ( Dieter Gurkasch: “Life Reloaded - How I discovered freedom through yoga in prison ” ). In addition, I have been a guest on dozens of television shows, over a hundred newspaper articles have been written about them, and have given several hundred workshops and lectures. Above all, however, the result was YuMiG eV, a non-profit association that brings yoga and meditation to more than 30 prisons in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
Of course, I have tried and researched a lot over the years, and have dealt intensively with Iyengar Yoga, Kundalini Yoga according to Yogi Bhajan, Jivamukti Yoga, Sivananda Yoga, and, above all, tantric techniques (the “Five Tibetans” ® do not work with sexual practices, but with sexual energy, especially the sixth, but that's a whole new story again ...). But I have always remained loyal to the "Five Tibetans" ® because I have never been able to find such a compact and at the same time so strongly transformative practice for myself as they. The longer I deal with them, the more depth I discover. I teach them, I talk about it, I train instructors and I learn in the process, and I understand more and more of the effects. But none of this is necessary to achieve the effect - you need ten minutes a day to follow the simple instructions and stick with it for ten days. Then you will feel it!