Prostrations

Prostrations are the approved exercise of the architect of the human body for the strength to break down the ego and the strength to be helpful and guide others to freedom from suffering. Brahma designed the body to enjoy this beautiful and expansive universe and to be useful and helpful to its inhabitants. According to the Sacred Text, full body prostrations are an important morning exercise for keeping the body and mind trim and fit. I have translated many mantras that describe the virtue of doing them, but none that describe how, so here is a way. 

In the early morning before sunrise, stand with the feet a little apart and inhale a breath through the nose as you raise the hands high above the head as if reaching to heaven for God. Begin exhaling from the mouth as you lower the arms to bring the palms together at heart level. This can be a position to stop in when tired, but most of the time it will be momentary. The hands separate, and as you come to a kneeling position, place the palms on the ground a few inches to a foot in front and a foot or so apart. Extend the right hand forward about a foot and a half to two feet, then the left, and finish exhalation while lowering the body to the ground. Swing both arms forward, stretch out the body and touch the forehead to the Goddess, Mother Earth. Begin inhaling the breath and draw back the hands and push the upper body off the ground. Step back with the left hand, then the right until they are a little in front of you and you are kneeling, stand upright, and raise the hands high above the head and reach for God. That completes one prostration, which is repeated many times, the Veda says ninety-nine to stop the flow of venom. 

In a weeklong meditation retreat, one of the skinniest gurus in the world challenged us students to a prostration contest. His assurances of proficiency coupled with our struggles assured him of no takers amongst us. It was funny, but seriously, prostrations done first thing in the morning and their purpose is clear by the extra energy during the day. Prostrations are a virtuous activity to engage in with countless ways of enjoying. Some religious practitioners prostrate the entire distance to a Sacred Shrine, or around the site. Some serious practitioners prostrate 32 miles around Sacred Mount Kailash in Eastern Tibet. It can take three weeks to circumambulate the mountain in high altitude. The path is rocky, cold, icy, with half the oxygen of sea level, but they endure. The Creator urges one to wake before dawn, go anywhere, and prostrate until the body is glistening with sweat and roaring filling the belly with the breath. That gives a body a nice warm glow for sitting down in the sun for meditation. 

Addendum: About five years ago, I began experiencing knee issues, not related to prostrations, but brought an end to the practice. However, through caution and care, the knees improved, and I am now enjoying the practice again with a modification. I inhale the breath and reach to heaven, on exhalation reach down and touch the earth and repeat twelve times. The twelfth time I come to a kneeling position, walk the hands forward, lower the body and stretch out on the ground. Draw back the hands and breathing normally, complete twelve push-ups before returning to a kneeling position, to inhale the breath, stand and reach to heaven. Ninety-nine times to stop to flow of venom. 

To move the architect is connected, and to be comfortable in the body, extend oneself before for the presence to be present, and the protector will AH in the morning to be with you.