If you step out of your yoga mat feeling like you’ve added to your vertical space, you’re not alone. All that stretching and twisting can make you feel looser and taller – as if your spine suddenly had room to “breathe”.
However, while practicing yoga offers a host of mind and body benefits, increasing your skeletal size is not one of them.
However, yoga can help you appear Where feel bigger. Here’s how.
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 a yoga session?
“My perception is that this is because so many yoga poses focus on opening up the chest and reaching for height and length,” says physical therapist Jessica McManus, owner of Full Circle Physiotherapy and Wellness Coaching.
As a result, many people feel physically taller after their practice, she adds.
How does yoga help with posture?
Yoga may not make you taller, but it can do wonders for your posture. And less slouching can make you look taller.
Yoga poses like downward facing dog can help improve mobility in your spine and flexibility in your hamstring muscles, for example.
With greater mobility and less tension in your posterior chain, you should be able to stand straighter, which can indirectly make you taller, McManus says.
Other yoga poses are like an antidote to slumping on a computer for hours, she says.
Hanging out in Mountain Pose and Upward Facing Dog, for example, helps stretch your chest muscles and engage your thoracic spine (the area of the spine between your shoulder blades).
The result? A more upright posture.
What are some benefits of yoga?
Relaxed posture is one of the main demands of yoga, but there are plenty of other reasons to roll out your yoga mat.
Its scientific benefits related to feeling taller include:
- Contribute to healthy aging by improving the quality of life
- Improve balance by increase proprioception (awareness of your body’s position in space), as well as strengthening your ankles and legs
Can you prevent height loss with yoga?
It is normal to lose a little height as you age. “Much of our height loss as we age comes from water loss from the discs between our vertebrae,” McManus says.
This degeneration is a symptom of the natural wear and tear that occurs over the years.
“As that happens, we get shorter,” McManus says.
Yoga offers a potential solution. When researchers compare bone scans of longtime yoga teachers and non-practitioners, they found that yogis’ spines showed less disc degeneration.
The reason may be that creating length in the spine through the various yoga poses helps move much needed nutrients into the discs.
These nutrients help your discs retain water, which keeps them flexible and resistant to compression.
Thanks to yoga’s bone- and muscle-building benefits, it may also indirectly help prevent height loss by maintaining bone density, McManus says.
Search found that practicing yoga for just 10 minutes a day improves bone density in the spine and hip bones.