Hinduism is a tradition with numerous rituals and customs associated with it. These practices have an in-depth connection with our physical and psychological wellbeing of a person. Sitting cross-legged on the floor to eat food is one such practice that has been in prominence in India for a long time. Through this article, we will look into the significances of eating food by sitting on the floor. We will also focus on other interesting aspects of why the practice started in India.
In the ancient days, people did not have many options to have their food. The concept of chairs and dining tables got introduced a few centuries back. Before that, people had their food by sitting on the floor. Men would sit cross-legged, and women would sit with their right leg close to their stomach. Even kings and noblemen used to sit on the floor. They might sit on dry grass or mats for more comfort.
It was also a way of developing togetherness in families. However, in the present decade, not many people sit on the floor to have their meal. With their busy lives, many rely on fast food options and have food by watching television. Having food in such a manner can affect them adversely. These could cause health issues.
However, there is no clear description of ancient texts regarding eating food by sitting on the floor. It has been a practice long in use for centuries in India. Sitting on the floor in a cross-legged position is similar to Sukhasana. It is a Hatha Yoga pose. It helps in strengthening our back and also stretching knees and angles. Sitting on the floor is also akin to half Padmasana or lotus pose. It is also a seated posture where we place each of our feet on our opposite thighs.
Significance of seating on the floor to eat: There are several significances associated with sitting on the floor and eating our food. In Ayurveda and other Hindu belief systems, it is highly beneficial to sit on the floor while eating. When we sit on the floor, it brings stability to our Trigunas. The Trigunas are Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. Sattva is purity, Rajas refers to activities, and Tamas is darkness or destruction. When we sit on the floor, we can absorb Sattva principles. When women sit down on the floor to eat with their right leg close to their stomach, it balances the Root Chakra or Manipura. It also helps in controlling the Raja components and aids in removing disturbing vibrations. However, not many women practice this while having their food.
Apart from these benefits, sitting on the floor to have food has a plethora of health benefits. They include:
1. Sitting cross-legged to have food helps in improving digestion. It is because Sukasana and Padmasana are yogic poses that focus on our abdominal muscles. It would help in the secretion of stomach acids as we would be moving back and forth when we have the food. They also help in digestion because when we sit in Sukasana, our brain gives signals for digestion.
2. Western medicine has also appreciated the benefits of having food by sitting on the floor. It is an excellent way to lose excess fat in our body. When we sit in a cross-legged manner to eat food, our stomach feels that it is full within some time. Sitting on the floor is also an exercise that aids in stretching our knees and angles.
3. Sitting on the floor is a great way to improve our posture. Most of us face problems of bad posture as we are often working by sitting on chairs.
4. When we have food by sitting on the floor, it can help in reducing strain. Since it is a meditative pose, it is a great way to take care of our psychological and emotional health. By sitting down, we can concentrate on the food we are having. It would help us absorb micronutrients like vitamin B 12 and vitamin D. It is also an excellent way to get rid of fatigue.
5. When we have food by sitting on the floor, it assists in improving blood circulation. It is a way of enhancing our heart's health and also lowering pressure.
6. Since the ancient days, sitting on the floor has been a part of Indian customs and tradition. It has helped people take care of their health and also gain relaxation. It is because they are yogic poses. It is also an excellent way to improve our flexibility.
7. When we sit on the floor, we can improve our connection with Mother Earth. Muladhara or our root Chakra bases itself on grounding. It would help in balancing our Root Chakra and enhance the flow of energy through our body.
These are some of the significances associated with having food by sitting on the floor. It plays a crucial role in Indian culture. Many people do not practice it in urban regions nowadays. However, in some parts of India, most Indian families consider it essential to have food by sitting on the floor.