We live in a society where taller is better. Just look at the number of schemes, from supplements to surgeries, available to anyone desperate to add on a few extra inches.
Unfortunately, your height is determined by genetics and how well you were fed in your mother’s womb and during the first few years of infancy. Besides that, what you have is all you’ve got.
Unfortunately, it seems height can really make a difference when it comes to your career. Fifty-eight per cent of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are over six feet tall, which is quite an alarmingly high statistic considering only 3.9 per cent of men are six foot two or taller. Studies have also shown that taller people have higher self-confidence and get paid more. For those of us who do not fall into the ‘tall’ category (the average height of an American man is five foot nine inches, and the average height of an American woman is five foot four inches), where do we go from here? I say, yoga.
While yoga cannot add inches to your existing height, it can, through correct realignment of your body, make you stand taller. Through breathing and stretching, yoga elongates your spine; it can possibly correct a curvature; free your body from restrictions; balance muscle structure and give muscles an adequate supply of oxygen.
By standing tall we improve our body shape and tone, resulting in an improved physical appearance.
Ultimately, yoga can make you stand taller by helping you to look and feel better. For example, sometimes yoga will make us sweat (hot yoga), which is a good way to eliminate toxins and increase energy levels. We also release serotonin, which allows us to feel good after we practice. When our bodies look and feel good, this increases confidence in our bodies and in ourselves. With increased confidence, we face each situation with complete clarity. We approach each moment focused, calm, and optimistic. In other words, we are standing taller.
Lastly, yoga helps cultivate awareness. When we can bring awareness to our practice, we can also bring awareness to our posture so that we avoid slouching or walking or standing in a particular way that is unhealthy for our bodies.
Each yoga pose invites us to lengthen and grow taller. We are constantly lengthening and moving deeper into a pose with each breath. Here are three poses that you can do at home or at the office that can help you stand taller. Click on the yoga pose name for details on how to execute it properly.
1. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Fold) – Not only is this pose great for lengthening your spine, but it’s also a great stretch for your hamstrings!
2. Tadasana (Mountain Pose) – This pose is also the foundation for all other standing poses.
3. Supta Matsyendrasana (Supine Spinal Twist) – Twist out any unwanted toxins with this pose!
Michelle Uy is a certified yoga teacher and owner of LoveActionYoga. She is co-creator of the Eat Well, Feel Well Program, a yoga and nutrition program, and she is also certified to teach Yoga Thrive, a therapeutic yoga program for cancer survivors.