Below is a repost of an article that I published back in 2005. The old one is now offline for technical reasons.


Recently I’ve stumbled upon a set of easy exercises that are called ‘Hermes gymnastics’. The actual referred person is Hermes Trismegistus, who is believed to have been highest priest in Ancient Egypt. He is credited with writing a great number of books, of which only 3 seem to have survived till our days.

Anyway, there’s a set of easy daily exercises which are called on his name. They are somewhat popular in russian literature on such topics but I’ve found no reference to them in the English world. I will translate them for English, maybe for the first time in print.

I’ve been doing these exercises for several weeks now, every morning and in the evenings, after work. I find them very easy to perform and yet they make me feel much better every time I do them and they seem to raise my energy levels (which is the exercises’ original intent).

Hermes

The practice of the exercises can be divided into 4 parts. Two of them are the actual exercises and the other two are complementary.

The first part. Warm up.

This should performed before the exercises in morning. It consists of warming up, better by running for 5 to 20 minutes. You can run on the spot, if you’re doing them at home. If you’re doing the exercises in the evening, this can be skipped.

The second part. Power exercises.

This is a set of three exercises which energize the body. Some common notes on power exercises set:
Each exercise consists of:

  • Relaxed position.
  • Short and forceful inhalation through the nose (giving an air strike on the throat). In that time the described position is reached with maximum speed and the whole body muscles should be tightened as much as possible.
  • While all the muscles are tight, hold breath for 4 seconds. After a year or so of practice, this time can be increased to 6 seconds. More than that is harmful.
  • Exhale all the air at once through the mouth making the ‘Ha’ sound as air exits. At the same time relax all the muscles as fast as possible and return to the relaxed position.
  • Breath normally for 4 seconds.

Notes: The change from the relaxed state to the tense should be as fast as you can. Gradually progress with your training. The synchronization of breathing with the movements is very important for maximum benefit. Exercises should be performed with eyes closed and concentration on movement and breathing.

Now to the exercises themselves:

1. Exercise ‘Cross’

  • Stand straight. Feet apart. Hands hanging by the body, muscles are relaxed, free breathing.
  • Short, powerful breath in. At the same time, clench fists, raise tense arms and move them behind the back on the shoulders height, throw back the head and arch the body. Tighten all the muscles of your body in this position. Hold breath for 4 seconds.
  • Exhale fast and fully through the mouth, bend the body forward, hands relaxed down, almost reaching the floor. Shake the hands crossed for better relaxation and return to the original position. Relax fully for 4 seconds. Free breathing.

Repeat the exercise 4 times.

2. Exercise ‘Axe’

  • Stand feet apart shoulders width, straight knees. Bend forward, arms hanging near the floor, all muscles relaxed. Free breathing.
  • Instantly grip palm together, finger crossed, like holding an axe, take a fast, short breath. At the same time straighten the back, raise the hands from the right side behind the back, like swinging an axe. Arch the back as much as possible and drop the head back. Tighten muscles. Hold breath for 4 seconds.
  • Forceful exhale through the mouth and with a powerfull turn through the left side return to the original position. Body is bent forward, palms apart. Relax for 4 seconds.

Perform the exercise 4 times. Two as described, and the other two in the opposite direction (switch left and right).

3. Exercise ‘Disc thrower’

  • Stand straight. Feet shoulders apart. Arms relaxed on the sides. Breathing normal.
  • Short breath in, clench fists, throw the right hand forward and take the left behind, turning the body in the direction of the imagined throw, eyes turning with the motion. Hold the position of the disc thrower. Tighten all the muscles in the body. Hold breath and position for 4 seconds.
  • Exhale fast through the mouth and return to the original position. Relax fully for 4 seconds.

Perform 4 times: two times as described, then switch hands.

Third part.

These exercises distribute energy into all muscles of the body. These are mostly the same exercises as in part 2 but they are to be performed slowly, with no tension in order to discharge previously tense muscles and charge those that didn’t participate. The breathing is deep. Perform exercises in accordance with the breathing described below.

First exercise.

  • Stand straight. Feet apart shoulder width. Stretch hands before yourself, palm pressed together.
  • Inhale through the nose for 4 seconds. At the same time spread the hands to the sides on shoulder level. Hold your breath for 4 seconds. Move the hands farther behind back.
  • Exhale through the mouth for 4 seconds and at the same time slowly return the hands into original position.

Repeat 4 times.

Second exercise.

  • Stand with feet a little spread. Bend body forward, touching toes with your fingers. The knees are not bent.
  • Inhale for 4 seconds while straightening the body, stretching hands forward on the breast level. Hold your breath for 4 seconds. At the same time raise the hands above the head and behind the back.
  • Exhale through the mouth for 4 seconds and at the same time slowly return into original position.

Repeat 4 times.

Third exercise.

  • Stand straight. Spread the feet about half a meter. Hands stretched to the sides on the shoulders level.
  • Inhale for 4 seconds and hold the breath for 4 seconds. At the same time turn the body right with the hands still stretched to the sides so, that you’ll see the wall behind you. Do not raise the feet of the floor.
  • Exhale through the mouth for 4 seconds and at the same time slowly return into original position.

Repeat 4 times: 2 times to the right, 2 to the left.

Forth exercise.

  • Lie on your back. Put both palms with finger crossed below the head.
  • Inhale for 4 seconds and at the sime raise the feet 90 degrees. Hold the breath for 4 seconds and at the same time perform 2 circular motions with the feet to the right.
  • Exhale for 4 seconds and slowly return the feet on the floor.

Repeat 4 times: two times turning the feet to the right, 2 times to the left.

Forth part. Stabilization.

This is reached by taking shower switching from cold to hot water every 2 minutes. The contrast of the water should be increasing over time. After three months reach its maximum and stay at that level. Always start with cold water and finish with hot. The first 4 months the timing is 2 minutes for hot cold and hot showers. On the fourth months – 3 minutes and then 4 minutes each.

I hope you will follow the advice and perform the exercises and I promise you will feel better during the day and in the long term.