Recent research found that regular yoga practice made the practitioners taller!
According to the researchers, this was “mainly due to the extension of the spine by yoga, which improves the spinal deformations and dysfunction.”
Even a small, fraction of a centimetre change in height indicates important changes in the body. Our spine is critical to every movement and sensation.
Leaning forward — whether working, riding a bike, pushing a pushchair, or sitting at a meal — puts heavy demands on the spine. Over time, our posture sags and it gets harder and harder to stand tall.
Yoga helps us prevent and, as the study showed, reverse compression and stooping. When we practice yoga, we consciously extend, twist, and compress the spine in beneficial ways. We also strengthen our core and back muscles, creating more support.
These four poses will help you create a long, strong supple spine to stand tall!
Stretch it out with a wide-legged forward bend
Wide-legged forward bend (Prasarita padottanasana)
The wide-legged forward bend uses gravity to stretch your spine and neck, creating space and flexibility. The key is to take a good, wide stance then fold forward from the hips, keeping your spine straight and letting the weight of your head pull you towards the floor. Keep your belly tight, thighs engaged and weight forward on your toes to permit maximum extension through the neck.
Cobra pose (Bhujangasana)
This pose activates and strengthens the muscles in your back, wrapping the spine in power and security. Remember to maintain the connection through your hips and legs and keep your lower body tight, like a cobra’s tail. Take small breaths at the top as you gently increase the arc of your spine, lifting your eyes toward the ceiling.
Tree Pose (Vrikshasana)
In this pose we emulate the grace and stature of a tree. The first part of the posture is creating a firm base with your standing leg, which activates your muscles and mind. Then you find your balance as you bring your other leg up. Once in the posture breathe deeply, extending your spine and growing upward with each breath, just like a tree.
Spine Twisting Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Spine twisting pose is a fantastic posture for increasing the flexibility of your whole spine, right through the top of the neck. The important thing to remember is to keep your head level. Don’t cheat by throwing your chin over your shoulder; it can do more harm than good.
Further reading: Yoga poses for your neck and Spine healing yoga poses