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Eating By Hand

Have you ever tried to eat by hand? It is most enjoyable! Watch children eat by hand. How much fun they have playing with food.

Ayurvedic Aspect

The practice of eating by hand is historic and based on the cultural view that eating is a sensual activity, and touch is part of the experience along with taste and aroma of the food. According to Ayurvedic teachings our bodies are synchronized with the elements of nature and our fingers hold certain powers. Each finger is an extension of one of the five elements:

  • The thumb relates to space.
  • The forefinger relates to air.
  • The mid-finger relates to fire.
  • The ring finger relates to water.
  • The pinky finger relates to earth.

Hence, eating with one’s fingers stimulates these five elements and helps to produce digestive juices in the stomach. When you use your fingers to pick up food, millions of nerve endings in your fingers send the message that you are about to eat. This prepares the stomach for digestion by releasing digestive juices and enzymes. 


By eating with the hand, all the senses concentrate on the current moment in time. Your sense of sight, smell, touch, and taste are fully integrated into the act of eating. You will inevitably feel more connected with your food. It improves awareness of the taste of the food, its temperature, and consistency. You are not only feeding your body but also your mind and spirit. When you touch your food with your hands, you make a physical and a spiritual connection. There is automatically more attention placed on the food, on how much you can carry, or how to hold your hand to keep the food in it. You’re also fully present, it makes it easy to eat in a meditative state. A calm, aware state allows better digestion and prevents overeating. In contrary, eating with a fork and knife can be mechanical. 

Mindful Eating

Eating by hand promotes mindful eating and encourages slow and relaxed food intake. Eating too fast or when you are stressed can cause indigestion and bloating. A calm, conscious state enables optimum digestion and prevents you from overeating.

How to Eat with Your Hand

In India and large parts in Asia and in Arica, only the right hand is used for eating. You may use the left hand to drink water and to get more servings. Use all your fingers to roll small food balls on your plate. Once done, you form a large spoon holding your fingers together to pick up a ball with the help of your thumb. Then, with your thumb, you shovel the ball into your mouth. 

It Is Fun!

Read more about the living ancient Science of Life – Ayurveda:

The Creation of the Five Great Elements

The Three Disciplines for a Harmonious Life Part I

The Three Disciplines for a Harmonious Life – Part II

The Three Disciplines for a Harmonious Life – Part III

Stay Tuned!

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Thank You!

Thank you for your interest. Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts and questions.

2 thoughts on “Eating By Hand”

  1. Haha …did not expect someone to write on this subject. I commend you to write such a simple topic in such an engaging manner. I like the content.

    One addition. The food that you eat should touch your central palm. That is where the life force is kindled and connects the food to its recipients.

    You see when we have to bless? We bless via central palms. The same is used before eating. Actually, there are mantras in Ayurveda prescribed that need to be uttered before eating. In those mantras, you recall the five life currents: Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana and Samana into poise of your palm and bless the food with water by sprinkling on and around it. Then you place your palm on food and utter the connecting words. Then the food (mainly rice or puddings) are grasped with fingers and rolled into palm and the pushed into mouth.

    Thus, eating becomes a sacred act of offering food to the devas in us than a tasty indulgence of tongue pleasure.

    Just wanted to add the above. Rest of your article is apt and sound!!


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