`Geronda, does your body hurt you?`
`NO, because I practice spiritual gymnastics.`
`What do you mean?`
`I make prostrations, blessed one. You see the laymen have Swedish gymnastics and the monks have the prostrations. The laymen by gymnastics make their bodies healthy and the monks by prostrations make their souls and bodies healthy. The poor laymen don`t know how helpful the prostrations are for the health of the soul and of the body.
They do well to the joints and remove fragility, make the big bellies disappear; they spread peace and give nobleness.
In the same time with these the prostrations give to the man the possibility to ascend easily to the spiritual heights of virtues, but also on the peaks of the mountains without breathing heavily.
Prostrations are absolutely necessary for the young man and for the elder one as well, for the one who is fought by physical temptation and for the one who is freed of this fight.
Who has a strong physical condition must make more prostrations than a frail one exactly as a powerful machine works more. Prostrations help the young to control their body. That is why I always tell the children: `Make as many prostrations you can both for yourself and for the sick and old who can`t do this anymore.`
Prostrations mean prayer but in the same time they mean ascesis and help more than all the other spiritual endeavours. Beside the fact that they prepare our spiritual engine for prayer they also bring many good things. The first one is that we worship God and ask humbly for His mercy. The second good thing is that by prostrations the wild body is tamed and becomes quiet and passionless. The third one is that prostrations give us physical health bringing in this way double health to the man
Excerpt from About prayer – Pious Paisios the Athonite, Evanghelismos Publishing.