The dining table is a recent phenomena in India. Our ideal eating posture is by sitting on the floor crossed legs. Even our Kings used to sit on the floor & eat. There is a reason why monks meditate on the floor and not on chairs. The right eating posture can affect our body and mind, let’s check out the significance of eating with crossed legs, sitting on the floor:
• Yoga – This is a yogic posture named ‘sukhasana’ (simpler version of padmasana). This posture allows mind to calm down and applies pressure on the spine, helping in relaxation. Our breathing slows down, muscular tension releases and blood pressure subsides thus enhancing the digestion process.
• Digestion – The blood flow to the abdomen is better in this posture than while sitting in a chair as in that case the legs will be at a lower level than the abdomen. Also, we tend to bend forward to take food and get back straight to swallow it. This front & back movement helps in the movement of abdominal muscles which in turn secretes digestive juices.
• Weight loss– Healthy eating suggests not to fill the stomach fully, enabling movement of food particles helping in proper digestion. Also, more than requisite amount of juices secretion may lead to acidity. In this cross legged eating posture, the upper stomach is compressed naturally and the size of the stomach is reduced. We will be able to feel it, when the stomach is full and eat consciously thus avoiding over eating, which is important for weight management.
• Posture – When we sit on the floor, back is straight, spine is lengthened and shoulder is pushed back. The lumbar region of the body is strengthened, reducing back pain. The hips open, making our pelvis & legs flexible. Posture is key for a healthy life preventing injuries and wear&tear. Following this regularly, corrects our posture.
• Core strengthening – Getting up from this posture without support requires flexibility and lower body strength. The joints in the knees, ankles and hips will be kept lubricated. Degenerative diseases like arthritis and osteoporosis are less likely.
• Staying humble – Sitting on the floor on the same level as children & animals help us align to the spiritual side. It helps in a humble perspective on others, world and ourselves.
• Family bonding – Last but not the least, eating is a family activity in India with everyone sitting together to eat. The ritual improves family bonding. This posture relaxes the body and helps in a happy family get together.
My home also has a dining table, but I never hang my legs and make sure I sit on the chair, crossed legs, to eat. The only time I don’t do this, is when I have to eat in a restaurant or a friend’s place. Am sure majority of times most of us eat at home, it’s our private space and so begin the change there. I can’t comment on the direct benefits of this eating posture alone cos I made a lot of lifestyle changes along with this and I’m definitely enjoying its benefits in terms of better digestion, flexibility, mindful eating, body’s affirmation to food, etc.
Need not worry about this dining table culture, as fashion and health can go hand in hand. Try and choose a low furniture(see pic) and decorate as per your choice and dine with family & friends. Keep up with the trend, without losing our values, fashionably!