Until very recently, Westerners have had few clues in the search for knowledge of [the] Tibetan yogic paths. In the past few years, however, select teachers from two Tibetan spiritual communities now centered in the West have begun to share their long-secret, carefully guarded movement practices. Both of these practices are forms of what is called, in Tibetan, ‘phrul ‘khor, pronounced “trul-khor.” Trul-khor is the generic name for Tibetan movement practices, and today, two forms of trul-khor are being taught in the West.
The first form is called Yantra Yoga (not the yantra yoga of India, which is associated with geometric images) and is taught by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu. He is a living holder of the Yantra Yoga teaching, which stems from an ancient text called The Unification of the Sun and Moon and which descended through the famous Tibetan translator Vairochana and a lineage of Tibetan masters.
The second form was brought to the West by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, a master of the Bon school of the Dzogchen meditative tradition. In 1992, he founded the Ligmincha Institute. It’s aim, according to Ligmincha literature, is to “introduce to the West the wisdom traditions of the Bonpo which are concerned with the harmonious integration of internal and external energies.”
Another series of movements said to be Tibetan in origin is known as “The Five Rites of Rejuvenation” or “The Five Tibetans.” These unusual, rhythmic movements, which have circulated for decades among yogis but are finding new popularity today, have been credited with the ability to heal the body, balance the chakras, and reverse the aging process in just minutes a day. Legend says that a British explorer learned them in a Himalayan monastery from Tibetan monks who were living in good health far beyond normal lifespans.
Whatever the provenance or effects of the Five Rites/Five Tibetans, it seems clear that the practices of Yantra Yoga and Trul-Khor are keeping ancient, secret traditions alive and intact in a way that hatha yoga, perhaps, can no longer claim. “I think [Yantra Yoga] is very much as it was when it was first introduced. There’s an unbroken lineage,” Katz says. “It’s rarely presented to the public, which limits the likelihood of the distortion of the lineage. This may not be the case with some hatha yoga traditions, where there are various interpretations. I think the lineage in this particular tradition is very strong.”
Excerpts from Yoga Journal Article Into The Mystic By Elaine Lipson