Five Tibetan Rites
The Five Tibetan Rites (or 5T for short) are a short routine of “exercises” which are similar to Yoga, even if the actual connection between 5T and Yoga is a bit tenuous.
I started practicing these daily in January 2010 - thanks to the suggestion of a dear friend of mine - and so far I skipped the daily practice for a grand total of 3 days - in one occasion I fell asleep before doing my routine and completely forgot it on the next day, while in the other case I had to suspend for two days due to one of the nastiest flu I ever had.
While I maintain a reasonable level of physical activity in my weekly routine (mostly by practicing Aikido three times a week) there are periods when the dojo is closed (1 month a year, more or less) or job-related commitments force me to skip some lessons.
Therefore I have always looked for something that I could easily add to my main practice, possibly something that didn’t require too much time or using special tools.
The main idea is to be able to do this every single day, even when I am not in my home, staying in a hotel and so on.
5T fill the bill nicely. These are not very strenuous, but seem to offer a good balance in terms of which muscle groups are put to work, and while I cannot be sure that some of the expected effects (like Immortality) are actually working, I can attest that in general I feel better than before - it seems to work especially well to counter back aching due to wrong posture in Shodo, and I have also noticed that in case I skip Aikido lessons for a bit, like when the dojo is closed in the summer, starting regular practice again won’t automatically cause muscle pain after the first lesson.
If you are interested in trying, I suggest you get a copy of:
The Five Tibetans
Five Dynamic Exercises for Health, Energy, and Personal Power
By Christopher S. Kilham
the book is fairly short but still provides a good overview of the 5T (from a pragmatic and “modern” stance) along with clear instructions for how to perform the various exercises.