When was the last time you had to make the effort or were forced to squat on the floor? Unfortunately, for many of us in Western countries sitting on the floor is not part of our etiquettes. Apart from a feeling that the floor isn’t the most hygienic place to sit, leave alone eat, there is also a sense of awkwardness.
Why is this so important?
The way we sit, how we sit and where we sit, influences the functional structure and posture of our bodies. It aligns the spine and our musco-skeletal framework back to its original form. It is the “natural” way mankind was programmed to be, the way of our ancestors. In countries, especially in Asia, where squatting and other forms of floor living are seamlessly weaved into everyday life, people still retain the mobility to do all that stuff into old age.
Though difficult at first, making a conscious effort can eventually lead to easing into this ‘new’ posture and back into a primal posture and health.
Benefits of having your meal sitting on the floor:
- Naturally there is a connection with earth’s natural energy bring balance to our nervous system. And food is more appealing to all our senses.
- When you sit on the floor, you usually sit cross legged – In sukhasana or a half padmasana (half lotus), which are poses that instantly bring a sense of calm and help in digestion, it is believed to automatically trigger the signals to your brain to prepare the stomach for digestion.
- When you eat your meal with a plate placed on the floor, you will naturally have to bend forward from your hips instead of just your chest and sit back up to starting position to swallow. This constant back and forth movement causes the muscles of your abdomen to be active, increases secretion of stomach acids – making it much easier to digest food. And an upright position prevent acid reflex.
- Sitting on the floor and eating has great benefit for weight loss. When you sit in this position, your brain automatically calms down and is better equipped to focusing on the food you eat, helps you finish leaving a sense of satisfaction. And you have to get up and move more muscles to go for second serving. It curbs craving or binge eating.
- When you squat or sit in sukhasanas or padmasana, the muscles in your lower back, pelvis, around your stomach and those of the upper and lower abdomen stretch – reducing pain and discomfort. This helps your digestive system relax and stay in a normal position. We are left with a straight spine and vast space in our stomach without compressing our ribs helping in eating better and digest well.
- It help you focus on your food, also helps you make better choices when you eat. Since your mind is calm and your body is ready to accept nutrition, sitting on the floor is the best way to eat the right amount and kinds of food.
- Floor seating helps gain back your Posture. With our culture surrounded by desk jobs and slouching we have lose our posture. Posture is very important when it comes to staying healthy. Good posture not only helps prevent injuries but it also reduces the chances of excessive strain on muscles and joints.When you sit on the floor your awareness on posture improves with in few days, making your back straight, lengthening your spine and pushes back your shoulders –all the common aches and pains that come with bad posture vanishes.
- padmasana and sukhasana are poses that have immense health benefits for your entire body. Not only does it help your digestive system function better, but it also helps keep your joints supple, flexible and less prone to injuries and degenerative diseases like arthritis and osteoporosis. That is because the constant bending of the knees, ankles and hip joint helps keep them flexible and free of diseases. And with flexibility comes better lubrication between the joints making it much easier to sit on the floor.
- It is a great hip opener! When I see my student in a yoga class with a tight hip, I suggest them to practice sitting on the floor. This releases lower spine tension and strengthens hips.
- Sukhasana and padmasana significantly calm the mind and relaxes frazzled nerves.
- Floor seating also helps circulation as the blood flows naturally through the heart to digestive organs in contrast to chair seating where the blood flow to legs. Therefore sitting on the floor and eating, affords you a healthy heart with strong muscles to help it cope with the pressures of daily life.