You may have heard from a friend or come across research saying yoga can make you taller. Is this true? Most people won’t increase their skeletal height beyond the age of 20. And different factors also come into play to determine your height, including nutrition, genetics, and lifestyle. But though yoga has many mental and physical health benefits, practicing it regularly will not increase your skeletal height. However, it may help you gain strength, develop a better posture, and establish body awareness, all of which might make you look taller.
When it comes to increasing your height, no matter the amount of yoga practice you do, it will never make your bones stretch. The only way of stretching your bones apart from natural growth is via painful medical procedures. You may not like these procedures as they are expensive and can have adverse effects on your health. But though yoga may not make you taller, doing some yoga poses will help you appear taller to yourself and even to friends.
The Reason Why Practicing Yoga Could Make You Look Taller
When you practice yoga, your core and different muscles are engaged. Some of these muscles are responsible for your body posture. Most times, these vital muscles become weaker as a result of our lifestyle. This is because most of us sit when eating, watching, driving, and even studying at work desks. If you don’t train your muscles, your body will become weaker, making you slouch; besides, the muscles will become shorter as they’re not functioning as they should. Keep in mind that your body adapts to the way you use it.
Maintaining an upright position in a desk job prevents further shortening of muscles.
Yoga also helps you increase your muscles’ strength, which is essential for a good posture. Therefore, you will feel and appear taller as your spine will be elongated, which will also improve your posture. By maintaining an upright position, you will raise your body by a few inches, especially in your upper body. It can also be helpful for your lower body.
If you spend most of the time sitting, your body will adapt to the length of the muscles while you’re in that position. On the other hand, if you’re active, your body will also adapt to the kind of intensity you push it to. This is the top reason you should be active as it enables you to lengthen your muscles to attain a perfect body posture. And for starters, yoga is the best exercise to lengthen your muscles.
Yoga Poses to Improve Posture
When it comes to improving your posture via yoga, you should know that some poses specifically help build core strength, elongate the spine, and improve your posture. While holding these poses, ensure you open the chest muscles and lengthen your spine. Ensure the space between your hips and shoulders is as long as possible. Also, concentrate on relieving the body’s tension while creating resistance in the body to get that much needed muscular strength.
Four Yoga Poses for Making Yourself Appear Taller
These poses help you lengthen your spine, release tension on your neck and shoulders as well as strengthen your core and back muscles which are essential in improving your posture and subsequently making you stand straighter.
Standing forward bend
The standing forward bend is the greatest yoga pose for releasing tension in the neck and shoulders and lengthen the spine. It’s also ideal for those who are stressed.
How to do a standing forward bend
- First, start in a mountain pose by standing tall, then making your body relax. Breathe in and put your arms above your head while your palms face each other.
- Breathe out and hinge away from your hips slowly while your legs are in a straight position. Place your hands behind your legs to ensure a deeper stretch, only if it feels comfortable. Go as deep as you can comfortably go.
Breath while in this pose and allow gravity to decompress your neck and spine to lengthen them.
This pose is great for releasing tension in the neck & shoulders and lengthening the spine.
Triangle pose is also an effective way of making yourself appear taller as it engages most parts of your body simultaneously. As you get into a triangle pose, you will realize that it stretches the legs, engages your core, and opens your hips.
How to do a triangle pose
- First, position yourself in a standing position, then spread your feet out to 3 to 4 feet apart. Turn the right foot towards the front of the mat and move your left toes inward.
- Breathe in your arms to the level of your shoulders and parallel to the floor. Move your hips to your left as you extend your right leg. After shifting to the right part to the maximum, now move your right arm to a downward position and the left arm to the air.
- Depending on your level of flexibility, you can place your right hand on the shin or the floor. Now, gaze up towards the left hand and then hold it for some breaths. If you cannot sustain it, just look at the floor.
- Now, repeat this process on your opposite hand.
This pose stretches the legs, engages the core, and opens the hips.
Cat and Cow Pose
It is helpful not only in warming your body and spine but also in strengthening your core, making you look taller. Thus, it’s key you engage your core when performing this pose.
How to do a cat and cow pose
- First, begin on all fours. Keep your hands below your shoulders and your knees hip-distance apart. Now, press the fingers tightly to the ground to eliminate the pressure in your wrists.
- As you inhale, arch the back, drop the belly, ensure your shoulders are back, and open your chest, staring at the sky. This is called cow pose.
- As you exhale, reverse the cow pose. You can do this by rounding out the back, bringing the head down, pulling in your belly button as you exhale all the air inside you, and then maintaining your gaze at your belly button. This is called cat pose.
- Now, repeat these two processes multiple times at a pace that feels good for you.
This pose warms the body and spine while strengthening the core.
The tree pose can be quite challenging for those who are beginning their yoga practice. It’s also more difficult for those who find it hard to maintain balance with one leg. If this is your case, look for a chair or a wall nearby for extra support.
How to do a tree pose
- First, stand tall as you begin shifting your body’s weight to the right foot. Now, bend the left knee and bring it up in the air.
- Get hold of your left foot using your left hand and place it on your right thigh side. If you can’t do this, place it below your knee, on your right calf. REMEMBER TO NEVER PUT THE FOOT DIRECTLY OVER THE KNEE JOINT.
- Place your palms together at your heart, or raise your arms over the head. Make sure your shoulders are down and relaxed.
Place your palms at your heart or raise your arms but never put your foot over the knee joint.
Other Ways of Preventing Height Loss As You Age
Height loss is a natural consequence of aging. It occurs from the age of 30 for most people. Also, women are most affected, and they will lose an average of 3 inches while men lose an average of 2 inches. Height loss mainly occurs because of a loss of the cushion between the discs of the vertebrae in your spine. As you age, they will lose water hence shrining in size. Yoga will strengthen and support your vertebral column to reduce shrinkage. This is another reason for keeping a healthy muscle mass when aging.
According to Harvard Medical school, most people start losing about half an inch every ten years once they reach the age of 40. But there is also another condition which is called osteoporosis, that could speed up the loss of height. Though some height loss is inevitable and people lose different lengths, its key to take the right measures to reduce it well in advance.
The good news is there are many things you can do that will also help you maintain your height even as you age. Sitting for extended periods can cause loss of height. To prevent height loss, ensure you incorporate balance, strength, and flexibility training in your schedule. As you age, your spinal discs will flatten and become closer, though other factors can accelerate the process. Also, monitor your posture closely, including the movement of your body while sitting and different positions as you handle various activities. Researchers in Israel followed 2000 men and women for about 30 years. And in their study, they realized that the difference in height loss between those who regularly exercised and those who don’t could get up to more than two inches. Therefore, maintaining your fitness is one of the best ways to reduce height loss.
Become a healthier version of you with yoga and a balanced diet.
The last advice is keeping a healthy diet each day. Take a balanced diet that includes fruits, beans, and vegetables. Also, taking food rich in calcium, such as fish, nuts, and vegetables, will help prevent osteoporosis. Finally, keep sugary, processed, and highly acidic foods as far away as possible from your diet.
Though yoga cannot make you taller, it contributes to a better body posture which can make you appear taller. The good thing with yoga is you have dozens of poses to try, and each of them has a benefit to your body. Therefore, if you are looking to appear taller, try yoga and maintain a healthy and balanced diet. The worst outcome would be a healthier version of you with the same height.
Co-founder of MB Zen, digital nomad and freedom seeker. Loves developing projects that improve people’s lives. Functional training, yoga, and healthy eating define his lifestyle since he got his back injured. Fell in love with Yin yoga from the very first session though he won’t say no to any other kind of yoga.