As you’re reading this article, you’re most likely sitting in front of your laptop, holding a mobile phone, or at your desk. According to a 2013 study by the Ergotron JustStand Survey Index and Report, approximately 86 percent of full-time employees surveyed are required to sit all day at their job. When we add driving, watching TV, computer time at home, and sitting down to read or eat, the time spent sitting in one day quickly adds up.
So how does this relate to getting taller, you might ask? Let’s break it down:
What Happens When We Sit:
- Our tailbone starts to tuck under slightly.
- We have a decreased curve in our low backs (we lose the natural lordotic curve in our low backs).
- We have increased hunching in our upper backs (we lose the natural kyphotic curve in our upper backs).
- Our heads move forward to counterbalance the shifted spine.
Our spine and muscles can get used to the “sitting posture” we practice the majority of the day. Over time, our head will keep moving forward and the muscles around the spine, neck, and shoulders will overcompensate to keep the body in this habitual position. This constant “hunched” position directly impacts our posture and height.
The good thing about all this is that it’s reversible by just bringing a little bit of mindfulness to your body. Cue: yoga. The benefits of a regular yoga practice are invaluable for our body, mind, and overall energy. The benefits of the physical practice lead to better posture, proprioception, balance, biomechanics, lung capacity, and joint stability – just to name a few. By following the following simple steps, you’ll have the tools to get a little taller and bring more awareness into your posture and body.
The Magic Steps to Getting Taller and Aligned:
The best way to practice this position is to watch yourself in front of a mirror, or have a friend take a picture of you in the following position. Keep adjusting until you notice that everything is in alignment.
Stand with your feet hip-width, (about two fists width), and evenly root through both soles of your feet. Relax your toes.
Keep the front, top parts of your pelvis, called the anterior superior iliac spines (ASIS), even with one another. Do this both horizontally and vertically. Line up both of the ASIS with the front part of your pubic bones. Let these three points be equal with one another. Once you can do this, you’ll have yourself a neutral pelvis.
When we want to stand or sit up straight, we tend to jut our ribs forward to pinch our shoulder blades together. Although this might be a typical correction we’ve made perhaps since childhood, (based on the loving advice from our mothers to sit up straight), this motion actually moves the body out of alignment. Instead, let your ribs soften into your body and rotate the tops of your upper arm bones back and away from your midline. Lengthen through your collarbones and maintain space between your shoulder blades.
Stack your ears over your shoulders and let your chin be parallel to the floor. Fun fact: For every inch we move our heads forward, we load an extra 10 pounds onto our spines. Keep your head back and look forward.
As we move through our day, we can focus on these key points to help posture, alignment, lung capacity and maybe even grow a couple of centimeters while we’re at it! These small, mindful movements we incorporate into our day are not only good for our posture, but they also lead to a sustainable and accessible practice that we can take with us anywhere to better our postural awareness and health.