Dahn Yoga Voice

Bowing Meditation Explained: Calming your Mind, Strengthening Your Body

Posted on: 12/30/2009

For thousands of years, Asian cultures, such as that of Korea, have used bow meditation and other prostration exercises as part of their spiritual and physical practices. They were performed both as a preparation for sitting meditation, and as a meditation in their own right. Bow meditation was neither used as a form of worship, nor as a form of self-punishment. Practitioners did not bow down to anything exterior. Rather, they bowed in humble acceptance and deference to their own highest nature.

As Dahn Yoga founder Ilchi Lee wrote in his book Human Technology, “Bowing is one of the most humble and spiritual acts a human can perform. It is an action that simultaneously signifies acceptance and a deep understanding of and feeling toward its object. Moreover, through this action, we cast aside the narrow confines of the self and accept the energy of the universe.”

Japanese Zen master Shunryu Suzuki concurred with this view of bowing in his book, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: “By bowing, we are giving up ourselves to the universe. To give up ourselves means to give up our dualistic ideas and become one. When you become one with everything that exists, you find the true meaning of being.”

Even today, many people engage in bow meditation—from Buddhist nuns in mountain temples to ordinary housewives. In one session they may perform anywhere from one bow to ten thousand bows. For instance, in his blog, Sumi Loundon writes about a friend of his in Korea who did 3,000 bows in one night.
On her blog, Sr. Ellie Finlay of the St. John’s Center for Spiritual Formation in Tulsa, Oklahoma, writes that bowing is good for “shifting very deeply ingrained habitual tendencies.” A repetitive full-body movement that involves strength, concentration, and balance, bow meditation is a means through which a person can become more aware of his or her thoughts, emotions, and habits, and through which they can reinforce or change them. It’s also a way through which the emotional heart can open, allowing a person to love and accept his or herself and others.

Bowing MeditationBesides its mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits, bow meditation also invigorates and strengthens the body. It’s a meridian exercise that strengthens the back and legs, warms the body (especially the lower abdomen), stretches the muscles, oxygenates and circulates the blood, and makes you sweat. As a stress reducer, bow meditation also enhances the immune system and generates a more positive and hopeful outlook on life. The health benefits are similar to those derived from Sun Salutations performed in Indian yoga.
Because of its advantages on multiple levels, many people even in Western countries practice this moving meditation regularly as a way to enrich and enliven their lives. In Dahn Yoga, bow meditation is not taught in the regular classes, but is often a part of special classes such as follow-ups to the Shim Sung workshop. And many Dahn Yoga practitioners do bow meditation as their daily meditation routine because it helps them calm their minds very effectively.

38 Responses to "Bowing Meditation Explained: Calming your Mind, Strengthening Your Body"

I do bow training everyday. It is my daily routine practice before starting a day.
It calms my mind and helps me focus more and better.
It is also a gesture that I respect my true self.
I love it.

[…] 2.Bowing Meditation Explained […]

Bowing is excellent meditation. I’m practicing everyday to calm my mind.
Great training.

I just started the Bowing Meditation above about 10 day’s ago. I have chosen to do the bowing as a meditation. I like doing them slowly, mindfully, feeling the connection with Heaven and Earth. There are so many different excercises I have learned in Dahn Yoga, if practiced on a regular basis, are truly life changing. I have been a member for more than 4 years and my continues practise has helped me face life challenges a lot more gracefully than before.
Thank you again to all the Masters, Instructors, Volunteers, Members and first of all to Dr. Illchi Lee for having such a great vision.

Thank you 🙂 Love!

I’ve done 3000 bows twice. The first time I was very happy to commit myself to do it and actually accomplish it. I didn’t struggle, my mind was very quiet and my emotions very stable. I did it with other 3 members, one of them got tired after completing 1000 and left. The second time I bow by myself. I felt it was a little bit harder than the first time but at the end I had a sense of accomplishment and self discipline. I see how bowing helped me to believe in my capacity to accomplish tasks. Through bow meditation I found my strength and determinate mind.

I am also proud to say, that I did the Bowing Meditation, it was a great experience. BTW, the instructor did stop us in the middle of bowing and asked us if evrything was fine and people could eat and drink if they had the need to do so during this break. I personally however wished we had not stoped, as I was so deep into myself and could have gone and gone….

All the best to all.

A member from German Centre

Bowing and the choices we make in life. I come from a typical middle class ,jewish famly, raised in brooklyn, ny in the 40s and 50s there was NO such thing as bowing. we possibly shared a handshake or a hug but not a bow. it was not familiar to my lifestyle.

when i was introduced to the dahn envirnoment 9 years ago i remember clearly seeing for the first time on the center wall Chun Bu Kyuong. i walked over to this frammed sheet of strange lines. i placed my hands over the characters. not realizing at that time the significance of these characters or the training i was going to do that night. the training was bowing. 103 bows and i immediately thought …should be a piece of cake. i thought we would bow from our waiste and that would be it.

shortly i became overwhelmed with the process as it was explained by the master of the center. i could feel something strange happening as we started the bows… something that i had no control over. Nothing has changed from that moment til today. bowing is always a unique experience. i prepare myself for bowing and accept my experience based on my sincerity. i have never been disappointed, it is my choice. it cost no money to do bowing, i can do it slow or fast, i can do 9 or 103, i can chant or not… the only requirement is that i be sincere and go inside to where my soul is.

always my body feels more balanced after bowing, my mind is more alert and clear. i am grateful today that bowing is a part of my life. when i don’t bow, i know the difference. i am grateful for those who have come to this country with tools to teach me how to open my mind and heart. i am grateful for my vision

Thank you for giving me a good information.
I had a back pain for almost 20years but through bow tr everyday it’s healed~!
Now i can sleep better and walk better without pain.
Thank you

I practise Dahn Yoga 6 years and BOWING is my favorite exercise. I had a very big problem with my knees.I try different method, and nosing really help me. I always have to put support to my knees. First time I finish just 3 BOWs. I used my hands to come up and down. After 1 month practice at home every day I able to do 100 BOW for 20 minutes. My knees recovery 100%. Now : 10 min for 100BOW and 90min for 1000 ( I do it ones a month by myself). My legs become very good shape, I increase my stamina, mind become clear, I become creative, peaceful and very successful in my life. Thank you Ilchi Lee for this powerful BOWing !!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m trying to do bowing every day.
Sometimes when I skip it I notice that the day is different : less focus, unclear mind, stiff body.

It is my new year’s resolution to do 103 bow every morning without skipping.

Bowing is such a great tool to live everyday to its fullness.

Thank you.

I just rediscovered this blog post I wrote about bowing last year in March. It has the instructions for how to do it based on Ilchi Lee’s book, “Human Technology”.


I start my day with bowing and ending it with bowing.
Why? because it helps me focus, calm my mind and it makes me ready to face life challenges. It also helps me keep my emotions under control.

I pratice bowing exercise everyday
It helps me to calm my mind and get prepared for the day
I love this training and it helps me alot!

Great article on bowing. It reminds me of all the benefits. Sometimes of put off bowing, but now I have renewed passion. I will go do 103 right now.

Try YongKiTong (103bow training) early in the morning for 100 days at 5:30. It’s a real discipline in letting go of one’s bad habit and like getting a natural shot of energy with calmness and peace to get one going throughout the day. Hmm, it does make one time 1000 bows pale in comparison. When one has build enough strength, then 3000 becomes attainable. We are not pressured or tortured to do this form of exercise, we do at our own pace, we are free to participate or not. On a regular basis 3, 9 or 21 or so bows, slow or fast anytime, it’s our own choosing. I find this to be the easiest exercise to do, yet not only to benefit my body, but also my connection and Oneness with the Heaven, the Earth, and Humanity.

A cult? I have never considered DahnYoga as one. Let’s put things in perspective. Bowing has been practiced for many, many years, what proof do we need more for what benefits it does to our body, mind and spirit. Soldiers have been trained far more excruciatingly to prepare for war (killing). When are we going to stop? Do you see them as cult then? Until we look from within and wake up on a global scale, we will keep sending young generations to war and also innocent lives at stake. We are and will be projecting that energy of killing toward each other, in spirit. History keeps repeating creating negative energies in the airwaves and Peace becoming very far to reach, is this what we want?

This Earth desperately needs healing, listen to her. With hope and a vision, one day we no longer need to kill inorder to gain Peace, but heal to attain Peace.

Thank you great teacher Ilchi Lee for the teachings and principles:) and partnering with us in making this world a better place, a better home for humankind.

CNN has been given the opportunity to spread news and the responsibility to professionally inform, are you choosing fairly and wisely? Is it for healing? What did you choose? What are you choosing?

It is so calm and peaceful to do bow training, especially in the morning. My whole body gets a nice stretch and all my blood starts flowing. It feels so comfortable and cozy. A great start to the morning.

I do bow training everyday. It helps me calm down and focus on myself. Also it improves and strengthens my physical body. I recommend every one to try it. But you can start from 3 bows and increase gradually if this is your first time. When I was a member, I tried 1000 bows for 30 days. Nobody asked me to do that. But I wanted to challenge myself because I was not strong enough, not physically but mentally. I knew how hard it would be. I made it, though. After that I got lots of confidence and my physically got very strong. It was a really great experience. You can try!

I think bow training is the best one i have ever done. I had done 1000 bows everyday for several months. My hight got toller and my legs got straighter. My legs was O shape.^^. Best one was I felt so energized.

Bowing has been a struggle for me. My mind doesn’t want to shut off. Since the New Year I have bowed daily, and curiously, my mind now shuts off. For the first time I’m able to feel the calmness, the centertedness, the well-being I’ve heard you and others mention. I’m beginning to love bowing.

The most important thing during bowing is to be sincere. I have done 3000 bows with a group a few times. It was not easy at all. There are times through the trainning when we can all feel each others mind and the wonderful feeling of working together. However if someone is not able to keep up due to age or injury, there is no-one there to force or push them. Everyone does their best.

When I first started doing bowing meditation it was hard to even get through 50. But now 103 is easy and healthy and a part of my daily routine. I don’t think 3000 will ever be easy for me.

I most often times practice bowing meditation in the morning. When I do bowing in the morning there is a marked difference in the rest of my day. I am able to focus on how to create the most with the day. The effects of bowing clear my mind of unnecessary clutter which if not cleared naturally lead to lack of focus throughout the day. Usually before I begin bowing my mind is in many places at once, however as I am bowing, bow by bow I become clearer and clearer inside of myself and I can feel my value through the clarity. It is great because it stimulates the 12 major joints, the circulation of the whole body, breathing, and it has a very meditative quality that brings humility out of myself. I don’t know if it is too much to say, but I feel like an overall nicer person throughout the day if I have started with bow training. I feel as though because I closely checked in with my self I am more at tune with the subdleties of what others are feeling or need and how I can help.
I usually do 103 bows unless I am a bit short on time then I usually do 21 bows instead. I also experienced achieving 3,000 bows but just once. It was a great challenge and the hardest part was not the physicality of it but finding from myself and for myself the will to overcome obstacles. The obstacle was not overcoming the challenge of 3,000 bows, the real obstacles were overcoming the part of me that would give up even though I hadn’t reached my full potential. To this day I look back on that achievement and can feel my courage return to overcome the small things in life.
I am not sure how excited I would be to do 3,000 bows right now, but I would love to re-experience the confidence about myself and my life that I did after achieving that goal.
Have a great day,

I love ‘Jung – Sung’ Training.
I love ‘Jung – Sung’ Training.
I love ‘Jung – Sung’ Training.
I love ‘Jung – Sung’ Training.
I love ‘Jung – Sung’ Training.
I love ‘Jung – Sung’ Training.
I love ‘Jung – Sung’ Training.
I love ‘Jung – Sung’ Training.
I love ‘Jung – Sung’ Training.
I love ‘Jung – Sung’ Training.
I love ‘Jung – Sung’ Training.

“Is Bow Meditation Torture?

I’m here to tell you about a training that is truly deadly. My mother was forced to participate in this practice when I was 9, and she did so well into her forties.

The first participant of this particular style of training dropped dead upon finishing.

In this training one prepares for an event over a period of several weeks or even months, increasing the length of duration as the training progresses. Practitioners of this training are encouraged to practice even if they experience a 4 to a 6 on a pain scale of 1-10.
Practicing this deadly training can lead to: Blisters, shin splits, foot pain, severe knee problems, nipple bleeding and hyponatremia; a condition causing an electrolyte disturbance that can cause vomiting, seizures, coma or even death.

This deadly training that so many participate in is…

…The Marathon.

Yet, no one considers running a marathon as something strange that a scary cult forces you to do.

On the other hand, bow training is not only less strenuous than training for or participating in a Marathon, but is also practiced by nearly one third of the world’s population. How could it be considered torture?

Bow meditation can be practiced slowly or quickly depending on the practitioner’s needs and physical ability. Bow training helps align the body’s spine and increases blood circulation. It also stimulates every major muscle in the body as well as increasing the flow of energy along the meridians and unblocking acupuncture points. It serves as a meditative practice as well as a very healthy low impact exercise.

And I have yet to meet anyone who practiced bow meditation because they forced to do so. Please try it for yourself and see how you feel. Take it slow and increase the length of times or the number of bows you do as you see fit. Enjoy!

I do bow training everyday….

It is my most love training…

My mom has 70 years old but she do bow training……

it is good for her health and mind…

Thank you.

What can I can I say! I love this blog. You have so much useful information and are doing a great service for many people. Thank you.


Author of http://www.facialexercisesformula.com

It’s inspiring to know about each and everyone’s introduction to DahnYoga and the experiences they’ve gone through in overcoming their life’s hardships and trials and in improving themselves. Yes, it is a choice on what are we feeding more, is it the good wolf or the bad wolf in our consciousness? Thank you all for your sharings and being of great model.

I’ve done bowing for around 5 years now, and have sustained NO lasting injuries from it. When i got a knee injury, i wasn’t able to do bowing, so i didn’t. That simple, i wasn’t pressued to do it, and only began again once my leg was in good enough shape to do so. even now, i don’t do more than i’m physically capable, and i find its a great method for remembering my gratitude for anything.

I am beginning to feel the importance of Bowing in my life now. 🙂 I had resistance to it for the longest time. It really helps keep me centered and connected and grounded.

I bow and pray for everyone.

Love and light to all.

We do bowing exercise every Monday at the center with members in terms of self purification. It is a so nice and peaceful healing exercise with the slow movement of the whole body. I really recommend you to try it. It will bring you health, happiness, peace and self love, self trust, and a lot. I love you.

After this morning’s Bowing Meditation training, I felt sincere gratitude for all the guidance that I’ve been receiving through Dahn Yoga.

I want to become a better person, to heal myself and cleanse my bad habits that I still hold onto, I want to refocus my mind on each moment and do what’s more important for my growth, to truly awaken my brain and pay attention to what I say and what I do.

I am so grateful for all that I’ve learned from Ilchi Lee, from the instructors who guide me, and I am so grateful for myself. If I don’t choose to change myself, no matter how much guidance I get from others, no one else can do it for me. No one else can give me what I want for my life, except myself.

Bow meditation has been such a powerful way to gain clarity in my life. 🙂

Thank you so much!

Bow meditation is very beautiful. After 103 bows, I can feel my mind quiet down and be peaceful.

The very first time I experienced bowing I felt like I had found an old friend. My body felt like waves in the ocean, rising and falling in rhythmn, connecting heaven and earth through my body. Every day I try to do bowing, about 103 bows. Every day it is still the same comforting, cleansing, strenghtening joyful experience. I don’t think I will ever tire of it. When I am stressed, it is calming. When I am tired it is envigorating. When I am depleted it is renewing. For me, it embodies the essence of a moving meditation. I am very happy and lucky to have this practice in my life, grateful to Ilchi Lee for including it in Dahn Yoga, and grateful to Anita Ahn for teaching me.
I have also practiced Tibetan bowing, which includes full prostration, but it is the Dahn bowing which captured my body, mind, and heart.
I have done 1000 bows a few times, but never 3000. When I did 1000 I was encouraged to take breaks, drink water, stretch, etc, whenever I wanted. I usually prefer to go straight through so I don’t break the rhythmn, which feels like the ocean flowing inside my body. It provides a good chance to feel my whole body from the inside, and “clean house.”
Can you tell I just love it? Why not try it, you may be grateful for the rest of your life!!

I am praying and bowing to purify my soul. It helps me release a lot of my karma and preconceptions.

I bowed this morning and prayed for all the people affected by the earthquake in Haiti.

When I bow, I feel so connected to heaven and to earth. My heart is happy.

Bow training has been an important part of my personal routine for better health and peace of mind. I try to do at least 100 bows in the morning, taking 10-15 minutes to wake up my body and relax.
When I do this my focus is better, my mind is more comfortable and I generally have a better day.
One time, as a personal goal, I did 3000 bows. It was an intimidating number but I did it. Afterwards I felt so great. I felt focussed, my body was open and fresh, and I felt a great sense of accomplishment. I really appreciate that experience.
I know millions of people every year prepare themselves and run in marathons. Running 26.2 miles in a row is difficult!! Some people take 7,8,9 hours to do it! Who would voluntarily do such a thing!! But people love it, and I totally understand why. Through using our bodies and challenging our limitations we open new feelings and awareness in our brains.
Bowing is like my daily jog (I also enjoy running) but for me it provides a better situation for meditation and reflection than running. That’s why I like it!

Bow training has helped me overcome my physical limitation. I do my bow training each and everyday, if a I happen to skip a day my mind and body feel disconnected. Bow training really helps me get focused, relaxed and in the right track. I have a deep and respect for bow training.

I am blessed and grateful for Ilchi Lee, for teacher who guides me and I love myself for accomplishing so far in my life.

Bow training has set my mind in the right path.

I just started my morning with 103 bows. Bowing warms my body and really makes me sweat! It’s a great exercise for getting my energy flowing correctly and helping to straighten my posture. Most importantly of all, it calms and focuses my mind wonderfully. When I do bow meditation, my mind becomes peaceful and calm. I feel energized and ready to take on my day.

These principles of training are vital in the healing process.

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