NBA Star Alonzo Mourning’s 10-Minute Yoga Practice

The Five Tibetans, a flowing yoga series that is popular among professional athletes like Alonzo Mourning, can give you a strong, resilient physique.

May 24, 2013    BY Shannon Sexton

Ever wonder what kind of poses a 6-foot-10 Olympic gold medalist and NBA champion would include in his yoga practice? When Alonzo Mourning discovered Christopher Kilham’s book, The Five Tibetans, he started practicing the flowing series every day. Now you can too. 

According to legend, ancient Tibetan lamas practiced these poses in the Himalayas to access the fountain of youth. Kilham writes, “The Five Tibetans stimulate full energy flow through the chakras and enliven corresponding nerves, organs, and glands…and strengthen the major muscle groups.” Start with 10 repetitions of each exercise and work your way up to 21.

1. Whirling Dervish

  • With the arms outstretched, spin in a clockwise direction and let your vision blur.
  • Take two full, deep breaths, inhaling through the nose, exhaling through the mouth, the lips pursed in an “o.”

2. Leg Lift

  • Lie on your back, with the feet flexed and the palms down. Inhale, tuck the chin to the chest, and raise the legs to 90°.
  • Exhale the legs and head down to the ground, keeping the feet flexed. Repeat as desired; then return to 1b.

3. Camel Variation

  • To prepare for camel pose, exhale, and tuck the chin to the chest.
  • Inhale, arch the back from the waist, and drop the head back. Repeat as desired; then return to 1b.

4. Staff & Table Pose

  • In staff pose, exhale, and tuck the chin to the chest.
  • Pivot at the shoulders and inhale into table pose; drop the head back. Exhale back into staff pose. Repeat as desired; then return to 1b.

5. Upward-Facing & Downward-Facing Dog

  • Exhale into upward-facing dog, bearing weight on the palms and the balls of the feet.
  • Inhale into downward-facing dog. Repeat as desired; return to 1b; then relax in shavasana (corpse pose).

Shannon Sexton
Former Yoga International editor-in-chief Shannon Sexton writes about food, travel, yoga, and natural health.

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