About a year ago, I started doing 108 bows a day. I’ve been bowing every day since then, except for several weeks when I didn’t have the privacy. I estimate that I’ve done about 36,180 bows in total (108 * 335). These days I am bowing in the mornings after 40-50 minutes of meditation. Here are my thoughts on the practice:
- I can do the 108 bows in about 20 minutes with decent form, without pausing. My legs are not tired afterwards; I’m able to do a leg workout on the same day with no reduction in strength.
- While bowing, listening to a recording that recites 108 statements of repentance, gratitude and aspiration is instilling good thoughts into my mind. One such recording in English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7tuP2Muez4.
- My body seems more flexible and coordinated. After not bowing for some weeks, I noticed how inflexible and uncoordinated I felt. My body even seemed to look more awkward in the mirror.
- I don’t think 108 bows a day are enough, on their own, to make my legs stronger. The muscular load is too light. However, I think their high-rep nature is helping to maintain a minimal level of leg strength and size.
- My mind feels faster and clearer. The front part of my brain feels more “activated”. Maybe bowing is burning off bad karma related to mental functioning. Or maybe the act of touching my head to the floor is bringing more energy to the front part of my brain.
- I think I have a slightly better personality now than I did a year ago.
- My mind sometimes wanders while I am bowing. I need to fix this because in bowing, sincere intent is as important as the physical movement.
- My “world movie” has not magically improved since I started. I still have bad days where bad things happen and I still make mistakes although I try not to. I do not have a saintly aura; people still mistreat me at times.
Doing 108 bows a day seems to be a good practice, but not a cure-all. I intend to keep doing it. However, 108 bows a day is very basic and maybe not enough to overcome problems and tendencies that have been decades or lifetimes in the making. At present, I only have the time and energy to do 108 bows a day; I also have to work, read, and exercise. When I have more time, I want to do a thousand or three thousand bows a day.