Sitting on the floor is an ancient Indian tradition and has its roots in yoga and Ayurveda. Here are some reasons for that practice.
When you sit on the floor for eating, you usually sit cross legged, in an asana known as sukhasana or a half padmasna. These yogic poses are well-known in aiding digestion (it is believed that when one sits in this pose while preparing to eat, there is an automatic signal for your brain to prepare for digestion). Apart from that when you eat from a plate placed on the floor, you will have to naturally bend forward slightly and go back to your starting position to swallow. This constant back and forth movement is said to cause the muscles of your abdomen to get activated and leads to increased secretion of stomach acids, making it easier to digest food.
Helps in weight loss
When you sit in this position, your brain calms down and is better equipped to focus on the food you eat. Moreover this position helps you feel full faster. One of the main reasons people overeat is because they do not know when they are full. This happens because the vagus nerve (the main nerve that transmits signals from the stomach to the brain) sends signals to the brain as you eat, telling if you are satiated or not. When you sit on the floor this nerve is able to perform better and transmit signals more efficiently. Since this position makes you eat slower than you would while sitting on a table, it gives your stomach and brain time to cognate the signals of feeling full, thereby preventing overeating and bingeing.
When you squat or sit in padmasana, the muscles in your lower back, pelvis, around your stomach and those of the upper and lower abdomen stretch, thus reducing pain and discomfort. This, in turn helps your digestive system relax and stay in a normal position. Moreover, the regular stretching of these muscles makes you more flexible and healthy.
Good posture not only helps prevent injuries but also reduces the chances of excessive strain on certain muscles and joints, which can lead to fatigue and quicker than normal, wear and tear. When you sit on the floor your posture is automatically corrected, making your back straight, lengthening your spine and pushes back your shoulders, beating all the common aches and pains that come with bad posture.
Key to living longer
A study published in the Journal European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that people who sat on the floor in padmasana and were able to get up without any support were more likely to live longer. This is because being able to get up from that position takes a considerable amount of flexibility and lower body strength. The study found that those who were not able to get up without support were at the risk of being 6.5 times more likely to die in the next six years.
Keeps your knees and hip joint healthy
By sitting on the floor, we strengthen the lumbar region of the body, reducing back pain and discomfort. The hips open, making our pelvis and legs more flexible. Core muscles are strengthened, and the ankles also get gently stretched. 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.
Relaxes the mind and calms the nerves
Sukhasana and padmasana poses calm the mind and relaxes frazzled nerves. In Ayurveda, eating with a calm mind helps aid in better digestion.
Strengthens the heart by improving circulation
When your feet are below your heart (as in a position when sitting on a chair), the blood circulation is being directed to your feet, as opposed to when you sit cross-legged on the floor where your heart receives the benefit of better circulation.
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