Tables and chairs have truly westernized our lifestyle. However, they are just recent inventions, which have now become an important part of our lives. Besides working, we have become so accustomed that we end up using them even while eating. Even before when dining table and chairs were invented, our ancestors chose to sit on the floor with legs crossed while eating. Have you ever wondered why? Well, there are many healthy reasons behind this practice. Even today, in countries like India, the practice of sitting on the floor and eating is too common. Let us unveil the hidden health advantages.
1. Improves Good Posture
Even you know that “posture” plays an extremely important role in your overall wellbeing. It prevents injuries and lessens the probabilities of unnecessary strain on the muscles & joints.
Unnecessary structural problems, as well as wear and tear, can be prevented when your posture is good. Sadly, most people in the West tend to have a poor or weak posture. When compared to the Asian countries, people in the West have weak backs, and the reason is clear – slumping onto the couches & chairs, hunching over the desks, and hours of sitting before the computers.
On the other hand, sitting on the floor keeps your spine straight and your shoulders relaxed as well as pushed back. Doing this regularly naturally corrects the poor posture.
2. Improves Digestion
Sitting on the floor with legs crossed and eating assists in better digestion. When the plate is in the front, your body has to bend forward to pick the food up. You move back & forth and then return to the sitting position. This constant movement helps in activating the abdomen muscles throughout the mealtime and further, secretes better digestive juices. All of this will ensure that the food is digested properly and quickly.
Moreover, this sitting posture calms the mind and applies good pressure on the spine (lower part), which in turn, facilitates relaxation. The tension in the muscles is released, and elevated pressure levels come down. So, all this happen simultaneously when you sit and eat with your legs crossed. Amazing is it?
3. Lubricates The Hip And Knee Joints
According to the author (PS Venkateshwara) of the book called Yoga for Healing, sukhasana and padmasana are incredible yoga poses that have multiple benefits on the body. They not only help the digestive system to function properly but also ensure that the joints are flexible and supple. Gradually after practicing this posture, the knee and hip joints become less prone to degenerative diseases (such as osteoporosis and arthritis) and injuries.
This happens because you constantly tend to bend your ankles, hip joint, and knees, making them flexible over time and of course, free from diseases. With elasticity comes lubrication, making it a lot simpler to sit on the floor.
4. Improves Circulation In The Heart
If you are someone, who sits on the floor to eat, then you must have observed that you feel warmer and at times sweaty as well. Ever thought why? It is because when you eat, your stomach requires energy to digest it. According to experts, one of the important elements of digestion is a proper blood circulation. In order to maintain the process, our heart works overtime to assist the digestive system.
Now, this is exactly where sitting on the floor and eating helps. The heart obtains the benefits when the blood is pumped to the digestive organs. On the other hand, when you take dining table and chair, the pattern of blood flow is just the opposite. It directly goes to your legs, making the digestive system to function less over a period.
5. You Are Automatically Doing Yoga
When you are sitting on the floor and eating, you are automatically doing a yoga pose.
The pose is otherwise known as Swastikasana, Siddhasana, or Sukhasana. Though these seated body postures seem easy and simple, practicing them with clear intentions, offer multiple health benefits. In short, you are doing two things at the same time – eating and practicing yoga.
This cross-legged sitting position helps in calming the body and mind. It is more of a relaxation technique, which also happens to be the initial step when you begin to practice meditation. Your breathing slows down, the tensed muscles loosen up, and finally, your blood pressure levels subside. So, the benefits of sitting on the floor and eating have its roots in Ayurveda and Yoga too.
6. Teaches You To Be Humble
Ever seen a monk meditate on a chair? No. Never. Why? Well, there is a strong reason why monks meditate by sitting on the floor with legs crossed. Many spiritual and religious beliefs claim that when you are on the floor, you are at the same level with kids, animals, and other living beings. So, spiritually, you will be able to connect easily, making you see no difference about the highs & lows, or rich & poor, or ugly & beautiful. This practice teaches you to be more humble towards others.
7. Our Bodies Are Not Designed For Chairs
In the history of human evolution, chairs are only a recent discovery. It was only about 200 years when chairs and tables were invented. Even today, the practice of using chairs and tables for eating is still not practiced. They still prefer to sit on the floor to eat.
8. Increases Family Bonding
Now, last but not the least, sitting on the floor and eating with your family gives better bonding with your family. When you are on the floor, you are at the same level with kids, making it simpler to connect and learn their emotions as well as feelings. Same time, it reduces stress.
9. Loses Weight
It is true that sitting on the floor and eating can help you lose weight. When you sit with your legs crossed, your brain naturally calms down. It is more equipped to focus on eating. This posture helps you to cognate the quantity of food you’ve consumed and makes you feel satiated or full faster. So, when you eat less, you are never going to put that extra fat.
The primary reason people overindulge themselves in eating is that they aren’t unaware when they’re full. Usually, this happens due to a nerve called “vagus” (the nerve, which transmits signals between the brain and the stomach). This nerve sends signals to the brain when you eat. It tells whether you are full or not. Now, when you sit on the floor and eat, this nerve performs better and transmits signals efficiently. The position is also created in a way to make you eat slower than one would usually do while eating on a dining table, preventing bingeing and overeating.
10. Helps You Live A Little Longer
Yes, that’s true. According to a research published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, participants who sat on the floor to eat (in padmasana) could get up without support were highly likely to live a little longer. To get up from that sitting position literally takes substantial flexibility and low body strength. According to this study report, people who couldn’t get up without any support were 6.5 times more susceptible to die in the next 5-6 years.