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Remember the time when your granny would tell you to sit on the floor while eating food instead of eating while sitting on a chair or on the bed? Well, if you’re from my part of the world, you would already know that this is an age-old practice in many traditional homes.
Nowadays, people are used to dining tables or even choose to slouch on the couch for their meals. But let us tell you. Eating food while sitting on the floor was not about the socio-economic factors. It has its share of health benefits!
This ancient tradition has its roots in yoga and Ayurveda and comes with science-backed health benefits too. According to Ayurveda, sitting on the floor while eating means you sit in a sukhasana or cross-legged position. As a result, it is like doing yoga while eating and it leads you to reap amazing health benefits.
Vani Krishna, Chief Clinical Nutritionist, Manipal Hospitals Varthur, Bengaluru, says, “Sitting on the floor while eating helps to improve body posture, and because you’re sitting in a cross-legged posture, this helps the heart to pump blood and circulate to the other parts of the body.”
Here are 6 reasons why sitting on the floor and eating is a great option:
Weight gain is usually triggered by overeating or when you fail to burn the calories you consume. And the key to losing weight is concentrating on every aspect of food that you consume – like the quantity you eat and the smell and taste of the food. “Sitting on the floor and having meals helps the vagus nerve to send signals from the stomach to the brain whether your stomach is full or not. That’s why you eat slower and can prevent eating too much,” says Vani Krishna.
When you sit in Sukhasana, it reduces the blood circulation of the feet and the extra blood starts to be transmitted through the heart to other organs which increases the activity that is needed for digestion. It also removes tension and concentrates the mind and increases positive energy. Remember, this is not possible if you sit on a chair because in this position your feet are below your heart and this directs the blood circulation to your feet, as opposed to when you sit cross legged on the floor.
While you sit and eat on the floor, bending ahead, and returning to the original posture helps to secrete digestive juices. “It is believed that when a person sits in a cross-legged position on the floor for having a meal, it sends a signal to the brain which prepares the body to digest,” says Vani Krishna.
It is really very important to maintain the correct posture while you eat. A right posture while eating will help you reduce the chances of excessive strain on your muscles, joints, knee, back, neck and hands. Your posture while floor sitting is automatically corrected, making your back straight, lengthening your spine and pushes back your shoulder – neglecting all the fatigue, aches and pain.
Sitting cross-legged could also bring benefits to your body’s flexibility level. Vani Krishna says, “Sitting on the floor helps the knees, hips, spine, chest, and ankles to stretch and the body becomes more stronger and flexible.” The constant movement of bending head and returning to back supports your core strength and agility also.
It may sound a bit unbelievable but it’s true! Sitting on the floor can add a few more years to your life. According to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, people who sat on the floor in the cross-legged position (Sukhasana or padmasana) and were able to get up without any support are more likely to live longer. The reason behind this was that it takes a good deal of strength and flexibility to get up from that position.
Sukhasana improves your focus and is an ideal position for meditation. This is because of the posture it naturally puts you into. It automatically makes you more attentive to anything that you are about to do, relieving stress from the mind. So, eating in this asana makes you more attentive to the act of eating. It is believed that sitting in these poses can increase the flow of oxygen in the body.
So, sit on the floor while eating to keep your health in great shape!