I have been ‘training’ to be able to do the 108 full bows at the Temple Stay. At first blush, this might not sound strenuous, but it is. I did 50 one day, 70 another and 108 once. I don’t think I have all the steps correct though. I think I was bending forward to get all the way down and I think it’s supposed to be more of a squat. I’ll soon find out.
I hope this isn’t disrespectful, but a full bow reminds me a bit of the football training exercise in slo-mo (but we don’t shoot our legs out behind after you squat, instead you bow head to the ground).
Here’s the instructions they provided:
The posture of Ochietooji is intended to symbolically release the ego and respect the Buddha and other sentient beings. After putting one’s palms together and bowing to Buddha’s statue, press the knees, elbows and forehead to the ground.
1. Put palms together.
2. Make a half bow.
3. Sit on the knees.
4. Put the left big toe on the right foot.
5. Put the bottom on the feet.
6. Bow putting elbows and palms on the floor.
7. Put the forehead on the floor.
8. The knees, elbows and forehead, five parts of the body are on the floor.
9. Turn over your hands, to have palms upwards.
10. Raise hands straight up to ears.
11. Put palms on the floor again.
12. (every last bow of 1 bow, 3 bows, 108 bows and so on)
Hold up the head slightly and put palms together (hapjang) between the floor and the head.
13. Stand up.
14. Make a half bow before you finish.