Preforming a ceremonial act isn't the same thing as clinging to rites and rituals. Clinging to rites and rituals specifically means that you think that some ceremonial action has some sort of power in it that can take you to enlightenment.
I wonder how this practice can contribute to insight especially when prostration is done mechanically (as practiced around Buddhist pagodas in Birma; Sri Lanka and Thailand)?
Prostrations is done to Revere.
Reverence is an act of merit->Merit brings happiness->Happiness brings Tranquility (Samadhi)->Samadhi brings Insight.
Mind influences the Body, but ...
In Tibetan Buddhism, according to Chogyam Trungpa prostration is a practice of surrendering one's ego, to the triple treasure exemplified by the guru. A student full of oneself is compared to an upside down pot or else to a full cup, and prostration is seen as either turning the pot right side up or emptying the cup.
In Korean Zen, the purpose is supposedly ...
Some texts attribute the original authorization of prostration to the Buddha himself, although they are clear to differentiate between the Hindu Bhakti and guru worship.
However, He did lay down three forms of reverence for bhikkhus;
wearing the robe with the right shoulder bared, ...
At a Korean Zen meditation center I visit occasionally, a practice of 108 Bows is held for special occasions with the focus being on repentance.
108 Bows of Repentance and Renewal
Reflection on unwholesome states, body, speech and mind and rededication to wholesome practice to eliminate suffering through the practice of 108 full prostrations.
Any right or ritual does make Sankara / Karma positive or negative. Eradicating Sankara is the way out of misery hence any practice which does not eradicate Sankara is not conducive to get out of misery.
You should understand the formation of Sankara and eradicate it. Formation of Sankara is linked to sensations. When it passes away subtle sensations arise....