According to a recent NASA study, astronauts in space can grow up to 3 percent taller during the time spent living outside earth’s gravity. That means that a 6-foot-tall person could gain as many as 2 inches while in orbit. That gain is short lived, however, and once the astronauts return to Earth their height returns to normal after a few months.
So, what does that mean for those of us who are earthbound? And why might this be of particular interest to yoga students? Well for one thing, this speaks volumes about the effect that gravity has on our spines. Fortunately, the practice of yoga can help you counteract this spinal compression and create more space without the expense of orbiting the earth.
Ever notice that certain poses can actually make you feel taller? Or that once you have stretched one side of the body, it feels “longer” and maybe even “lighter” than the other? Could it be that yoga students, like the men and women in space, are simply accessing “space” in their spine that is already there?
Decompressing – or lengthening – the spine with yoga frees us up to move with more agility and a wider range of motion. That increased mobility can lighten the spirit while promoting better overall health for the entire nervous system.
As for me, I have long believed that yoga is “out of this world”. I think this study supports my theory. So we all know I am short, but I wonder if I’m taller than I thought!