The cosmos must have a wonderful message for me. Or so I like to believe. Consider this chain of events, each of which appears completely normal, but which taken together leave me with the key to an ancient Tibetan practice of longevity.
Cosmic message #1: I notice a book mentioned in a recent issue of New Scientist, Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor. Amazon offers next day delivery, so I get the book rapidly.
Cosmic message #2: After a few days of reading Breath, and trying out some of the initial breathing exercises, I arrive at the "Exhale" chapter. There i learn about a booklet written by Peter Kelder in 1939 that supposedly was based on esoteric stretches called the Five Tibetan Rites.
Nestor is properly skeptical about Kelder's claim that he learned the Five Rites from a Colonel Bradford (not his real name) who uncovered them in a Tibetan monastery. Nestor writes:
Kelder described these techniques in a slim booklet titled The Eye of Revelation, published in 1939. Few people bothered to read it; fewer believed it. Kelder's yarn was likely fabricated, or at minimum grossly exaggerated.
However, the lung-expanding stretches he described are rooted in actual exercises that date back to 500 BCE. Tibetans had used these methods for millennia to improve physical fitness, mental health, cardiovascular function, and, of course, extend life.
Cosmic message #3: The universe delivers the Five Rites to my doorstep! All I had to do was revisit Amazon, search for "Peter Kelder Five Rites," pay $9.99, and behold, a copy of Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth is mine. It even has a foreword by Bernie Siegal, M.D. and testimonials from pleased readers.
Being 71, I like this one:
"I not only feel younger, but am told by people who know my age (seventy-three) that I look twenty years younger. My doctor, who is fifty-eight, complained that although he jogs fifteen to twenty miles per week, I look younger than he does. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to halt the aging process."
-- Jack Smithson, Grass Valley, CA
Me, Me, Me! -- I want to halt the aging process! (As an aside, I had a girlfriend in high school who ended up going to a private school in Grass Valley; clearly this is another sign from the cosmos that this book will transform my life.)
This morning I tried out the first four stretches/Tibetan Rites. I could do the first three without much trouble. The fourth is tough. The fifth looks part of the Sun Salutation that I've been doing as part of my yoga routine for many years.
Kelder's book describes the Five Rites in just a few pages. They're also many places on the internet, such as this HealthLine page. And naturally there's You Tube videos. The one below has amassed 2,362,000 views.
The woman demonstrating the Five Rites is easy on the eyes, so I'll be studying her form closely as I try to master the stretches as well as my senior citizen body allows. (Note that you have to watch the video on You Tube, so click on the link that appears after the play arrow is pressed. The ads are annoying, but can be skipped after a few seconds.)