"When we do a standing bow, we begin by standing upright, not stiffly but strongly, our spine in good alignment and our feet firmly placed on the floor, near one another. We should have a sense of physical grounding and strength whenever we do anything, especially in the meditation room and during practice. When we sit, walk or bow, we should have good balance and posture. This helps us stay mindful, and it helps our bodies stay alert. So the standing bow has a sense of balance and strength to it.
"Our hands should be in anjali, or hapchang in Korean, at our hearts. Dae Soen Sa Nim says that we should keep our palms pressed firmly, though not hard, together. This also helps us stay aware, because it requires a little effort to keep our palms together, so we are aware of feeling in our hands. To begin the bow, we keep our back straight and begin to bend from the waist. Our hands come down, still in hapchang, until we make a right angle with our backs and legs and our upper arms and forearms, our hands against our legs. My teacher, Zen Master Bobby Rhodes, says a bow is not complete until the muscles of your neck relax, because that's when you let go of pride and thinking. So our necks should also relax a little, but not so much that our heads are flapping all over! A standing bow is used to greet a teacher or show respect for the meditation hall where people are working to attain enlightenment, so we don't want to look sloppy or lazy."