Yoga practitioners and gurus can often make some pretty far-fetched, outrageous claims about the ways in which practicing yoga can benefit you. Some of these are definitely true – yoga certainly has a massive range of health benefits both physically and mentally – but, other claims, for example a claim made that yoga can cure AIDS, are completely false. But, what about growing taller? Can practicing yoga help to add inches to your height? Let’s explore this in further detail.

Height, Physiology and Genetics

Primarily, your height is a factor directly related to your bone structure. Your skeleton and the bones which comprise it form the frame which the rest of your body essentially hangs on, determining how tall you stand. Unfortunately, there are no yoga exercises which will actually be able to alter your skeleton, regardless of your age. Yoga also has no effect on genetics, another huge factor when it comes to your final adult height. Around 60-80% of your height is determined directly by genetics, according to research. The other 20-40% is determined by a range of external factors, for example your environment, your diet and nutrition, and your exercise habits. So, your parents and your early nutrition have a much more significant effect on your height than any amount of time spent on a yoga mat.

Your Height and Posture

Your posture is perhaps the only factor of your height which is affected by you and your behavior. People who slouch or slump over when walking, standing or sitting will lose apparent height due to putting some of their body length at a diagonal. According to researchers, this loss in height due to bad posture is not simply temporary, consistent slouching and poor posture can actually cause permanent height loss, which is the last thing that you need if you are already shorter than average. Long-term bad posture has a degenerating effect on the spine and causes the shrinkage which comes with age.

How Yoga Can Help

The good news is that although yoga can’t have any effect on your actual adult height or your genetics, there is a lot which is can do for your posture. Since yoga exercises begin with training in erect posture, they help to train you to stand, walk and even sit with your spine in the correct position. When practicing yoga the spine is to be straight but not locked, with the shoulders positioned squarely above the hips. Even when changing positions or in motion, this straight, erect position is used as a bassline. Regular yoga can definitely improve your posture and help you to avoid slouching, which in turn helps you to walk and look taller and prevents your height from decreasing as you age. Because of this, you’ll also benefit from avoiding a lot of back and shoulder pain which can be experienced by people who have bad posture.

If you’re trying to grow taller, yoga can’t unfortunately cause you to grow. But, it can be hugely beneficial to your posture which can in turn help you appear taller and avoid getting any shorter over time.