Part of Zen Buddhism, and some other Buddhist traditions, is the practice of full body prostrations (see image below) which involves moving from standing into prostate bows and then back up again, usually three times but sometimes more.

For some of us, this basically ain’t gonna happen!  My own Zen teacher is pretty much able-bodied but struggles with back issues so doesn’t always find prostrations easy.

In our sangha (Buddhist community) we allow those members who cannot do full bows like this to instead bow slightly at the waist with hands in gassho (prayer position), or doing the same seated with or without the inclination at the waist.

The prayer position itself (hands held palms together in front of the chest) that can also be modified as required to be done one-handed or even in the mind.

As with the laying down meditation posture, it is usually best to inform a teacher or meditation leader up front that you have physical difficulties in performing prostrations and bows so that they know why you are not joining in.

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