Growing up, mom or grandma might have constantly been on posture patrol — always on the lookout for slouching or any other awkward positions that could lead to problems down the road. They were on to something though. Proper alignment means less stress on the spine. It also can help protect your body from pain, injury and several health conditions.
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Yoga is often a go-to when we’re stressed or tired of our bodies being tied in knots. And while a good session can certainly leave us feeling longer and stronger, is it possible for yoga to make you taller?
Stretching and yoga can help your posture. However, if you were hoping to add some inches to your height, it can’t do that. Instead, it can help you stand a little straighter and express the height you have a little better.
“While yoga is not going to make your skeleton longer, yoga does focus on improving your strength, posture and mindfulbody awareness,” says lead yoga therapist and yoga program manager Judi Bar, E-500 RYT, C-IAYT.
Strength, posture and mindful body awareness all go hand-in-hand. While we know that strength is important in helping us as we complete our daily tasks, how we stand is crucial to protecting our bodies as we do those things.
Where does mindful body awareness come in? Body awareness helps us recognize how our body moves through space and what that movement feels like. It helps us gauge where to stand when we’re next to people or determine the best way to grab an item off a shelf. When our body awareness isn’t as strong as it needs to be, our balance and coordination can be thrown off. Being mindful of that helps us to adjust immediately.
If mom’s or grandma’s words have been forgotten over the years, it’s OK. The good news is that you’re not a lost cause. Bar says that yoga can help you get your posture to where it needs to be.
“Yoga can help you elongate your posture and stand straighter to make the most of whatever height you have, especially if you are in the habit of hunching over or standing in a slumped position. The development of body awareness through yoga, and the lengthening, stretching and strengthening of your muscles also will help you to maintain and hold your height, which we can lose as we get older.”
Several yoga poses can help strengthen or alleviate discomfort in the spine. The idea is to lengthen the spine to create space. Poses like Cat/Cow, Standing Forward Bend, Symmetrical Stretch, and Mountain Pose can help ease tightness in the lower back. If you’re looking for more back and lower body relief, you can find more yoga poses here. Bar recommends doing these poses daily or every other day to work your whole body, ease tension and strengthen areas we often overlook.