If you leave your yoga mat feeling like you’ve added to your vertical real estate, you’re not alone. All that stretching and twisting you can do to feel Relaxed and tall – like your spine suddenly has room to “breathe”. However, there are many benefits to the mind and body when practicing yoga, increasing your skeletal height is not one of them.
Still, yoga can help you displayed or to feel Here’s how tall.
Why do people think yoga makes them taller?
If yoga doesn’t add inches to your height, why do people think they’ve grown taller after yoga?
“My impression is that a lot of yoga focuses on opening the chest and focusing on getting taller and longer,” says physical therapist Jessica McManus, owner of Full Circle Physical Therapy and Wellness Coaching. As a result, many people feel physically taller after their workouts, he adds.
How does yoga help with posture?
Yoga may not make you taller, but it can do wonders for your posture. And leaning less can make you look taller.
Yoga poses like downward dog can help improve the mobility of your spine and flexibility in your hamstring muscles, for example. With greater mobility and less tension on your posterior chain, you should be able to stand up straighter, which can indirectly make you taller, says McManus.
Other yoga poses are the antidote to hunched over the computer for hours, she says. Hanging in a mountain pose and upward facing dog, for example, helps stretch your chest muscles and mobilize your thoracic spine (the area of the spine between your shoulder blades). The result? A more upright posture.
What are some benefits of yoga?
De-slouching poses are one of yoga’s main claims to fame, but there are many other reasons to roll out your yoga mat.
Its science-backed benefits related to feeling taller include:
- Contributing to healthy aging by enhancing quality of life
- Improving balance by increasing proprioception (awareness of your body’s position in space), as well as strengthening your ankles and feet
Can you prevent height loss with yoga?
It is normal to lose some height with age. “A good deal of our height loss with age comes from the loss of water from the discs between our vertebrae,” says McManus. This degradation is a symptom of natural wear and tear that has occurred over the years.
“As it happens, we get short,” McManus said.
Yoga offers a possible solution. When researchers compared bone scans of long-time yoga teachers and non-practitioners, they found that yogis showed less degeneration of the spinal discs. The reason may be that lengthening the spine through various yoga postures helps transfer much needed nutrients to the discs. These nutrients help your discs retain water, which keeps them flexible and resistant to compression.
Thanks to yoga’s bone- and muscle-strengthening benefits, it may also help prevent height loss indirectly by maintaining bone density, McManus says. Studies have shown that just 10 minutes of yoga a day improves bone density in the spine and hips.