Meditation & Health #5 – Prostration: Health Benefits
Prostration: Health Benefits
In the book Prostration: The Way to a Better Life Grandmaster JinBodhi wrote, “Repeated prostration is a safe method to replenish the energy within the brain and heart.” Within the flow of movement in prostration, the gentle exercise increases oxygen intake and flow to the heart, the brain and through the entire body, leaving one feeling refreshed and invigorated. The practitioner is energised and is able to work more efficiently and effectively. Through regular practice of prostration, slimming and weight loss can also be achieved safely.
For seniors and those with high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol-related diseases, prostration strengthens physical health, but it should be done according to one’s physical ability. The movement should be slow, fluid and gentle, and the mood calm; if there is any giddiness or discomfort, rest for a while; those with cardiovascular conditions should only engage in this exercise after consultation with their doctors.
Strengthening the Immune System
Chronic tiredness, overall sluggishness and general feelings of suboptimal health are common in many people. These feelings are rarely traced to a cause or successfully treated by conventional medicine. Prostration re-energizes the body and mind, helping people to overcome subclinical fatigue and weakened immunity, addressing health challenges in ways that allopathic medicine does not.
Optimising Heart and Brain Function
At midlife, heart problems and a decline in mental acuity are common. These two conditions are closely linked to the proliferation of sedentary jobs in modern life and the failure to exercise regularly. These factors result in reduced oxygen levels in the heart and brain. Working in an office setting for more than three hours often causes tiredness, as sitting for extended periods of time, even if the brain is active, restricts oxygen flow. A modicum of physical exercise and fresh air breaks are necessary to maintain mental sharpness.
Prostration engages the heart and brain, in part by repeatedly altering the body’s position from an upright stance to a down-facing one. The whole-body, up-and-down movement encourages oxygen intake, providing a simple way to keep cardiovascular and cerebral systems in optimum condition.
Alleviating Allergy Symptoms
Industrialised food production presents numerous health challenges. The poisons that are now a part of the food supply chain have a detrimental effect on the human body, causing liver, kidney and nerve damage, and encouraging the development of allergies.
Prostration was introduced to a group of children and adolescents who suffered from different kinds of allergies. After approximately three-and-a-half months of practice, even chronic allergy systems were alleviated. The persistent practice of prostration cleared the children’s energy channels, allowing the poisonous substances that had accumulated due to the food and water supply to excrete through their sweat glands and other means of elimination.
Prostration Helps Emily To Shed 15 Kg!
At 74 kg, Emily had tried many ways of losing weight. These included crash dieting and even surviving on only one apple a day. While the weight dipped a little, it would bounce back when she resumed her usual diet. Her difficulty with slimming drove her to the other extreme – bingeing. As a result, not only was there no weight loss, but she also had hormonal imbalance and her constitution weakened tremendously. It was a sad state of affairs.
In February 2012, Emily’s university lecturer, who was practising Bodhi Meditation, gave her a magazine, Meditation & Health, which featured an article on ‘Full Prostration and Four-In-One Ways for Weight Loss’. Her initial reaction was that this exercise, when combined with proper diet, should be scientific, holistic and effective. She started doing prostration at home. It was tough at first – breathlessness and pains all over her body. After 15 minutes, she lay on the floor and did not feel like coming up again. But she was reluctant to give up, so she checked with the teacher at Bodhi Meditation Centre. The teacher replied, “If you continue for 10 days, these pains will disappear. Please carry on.”
She reckoned that prostration only required her commitment and posed no risks. Hence she gritted her teeth and continued the practice. After 10 days, the pains and aches abated and she felt more relaxed doing the prostration. Although she did not lose weight, she felt at ease and joyful. Upon hearing her feedback, the Bodhi Meditation Centre teacher said, ”Congratulations!
Prostration can improve one’s moods, making one relaxed and happy. It would also enhance your complexion. Thinking also becomes sharper and faster. Just do it slowly and gently, with concentration, and you should not feel tired. Many people can do it for hours.”
Greatly encouraged, Emily increased the practice time gradually and her freckles became lighter and her complexion brighter. Her diet and bingeing was under control. Also, her bowel movements became regular and her tummy shrank. Not only did she lose weight, but her complexion has improved, and her mood has relaxed. She was elated with the outcome!
Prostration has uncovered the old beautiful Emily, and after four months, her weight came down to 59 kg from 74 kg.
Miracles Through Prostration
Barbara and her husband went to Canada from Taiwan, with hopes of setting up a new home. After her father’s sudden death, she worked hard to bring her mother and siblings to Canada to live with her. Ten years later, she was a happy mother of three children.
But her happiness was short-lived. Her husband passed away when her children were still young. For the next 30 years, Barbara worked hard to make ends meet. She slogged through almost 16 hours daily, sleeping about three hours. She had pains all over her body, but she had to endure them, realising that she had to be strong to keep the family together.
Fast-forward to 10 years later. Her three children were grown up, and had completed their studies and started their own careers. But Barbara’s physical health was a total wreck. Five surgeries, coupled with the years of fatigue, had weakened her body immensely. Two accidents had also taken a toll on her spine, leaving it crooked, with the nervous system affected. As a result, sleeping was torturous and painful. In addition, she had congenital rheumatoid arthritis and the joints in her legs were misshapen. To compound her problems, her right leg was hit by an iron bar, which resulted in torn muscles and a bone fracture.
In May 2009, while awaiting surgery to repair the damaged leg nerves, she visited the Vancouver Bodhi Meditation Centre. Subsequently, she joined the Bodhi Meditation and Fitness Retreat. She attended it not only for herself, but also to pray for her daughter who was trying to get pregnant. The first day of class was most memorable for her. During break period, Master Fa-Shi told her to do 108 prostrations daily if she wanted to heal herself. The advice left Barbara in a state of self-denial. How could she, with a damaged spine, disfigured joints, a fractured leg bone and her advanced age of over 70 years, do all that prostration exercise? Kneeling down was a sheer impossibility…
But deep in her heart, a small ray of hope emerged; perhaps prostration could really help her? So Barbara started doing prostration and bravely soldiered on, enduring the excruciating pain, egged on by an invisible force. After 20 prostrations, which took a long time, her entire body was sore and racked with pain. But the miracles had begun. Soon she found herself in a semi-fasting mode, with no appetite for food. Her semi-fasting period lasted 172 days, and the fasting helped her to shed more than 50 pounds.
She continued to make progress, attending The Second Level Retreat and subsequently The Third Level Retreat. Since then, her physical health has seen great changes – she feels nimble, light and energetic. Her joints no longer cause her pain. Soon after Barbara started practising meditation, her daughter also became pregnant.
Barbara said, “Having walked through the ‘shadows’ of life in the last 30 years, I am detached about life’s joys and sorrows. But looking at my family now, with four generations under one roof, I can’t help but look forward to a happier and blessed future for all of us.”