Yoga is one of the best and most popular forms of exercise and is highly effective for improving flexibility and balance while building strength and pursuing a state of mindfulness. However, tall people might find yoga a bit harder to pick up. So, is yoga harder if you’re tall, or is it all in your head? What determines flexibility, and how do you make yoga work for you if you’re tall?
The belief that yoga isn’t a suitable form of exercise for tall people isn’t false but does have nuances. Yoga can be harder if you’re tall, but flexibility is determined by various factors that go beyond height. Tall people can thrive in yoga classes by adjusting their stances and positioning.
I’m 6’6” and tend to spend more time in the gym in the yoga studio, and I can assure you that it is certainly possible to pick yoga up and gain the flexibility required to get just as much out of your classes as any short or average-sized person. This is because several factors determine flexibility beyond height which you can work on to compensate for your lengthy limbs.
Unfortunately, being tall does make yoga somewhat harder due to basic mechanics. Shorter people have an advantage over tall people because their extremities are closer to their mass, making balance easier. The muscles that need to be stretched are simply shorter.
Flexibility concerns your ability to move in a wider range of directions. If you’re carrying longer limbs, basic movements like picking things up off the ground and moving through crowds are more taxing on your body. In short, flexibility is dependent on how easily you’re able to flex, move your joints, and extend and twist your muscles.
However, studies have shown that taller people can also extend their spines far better than their shorter counterparts, and they have more flexibility in their necks, trunks, wrists, and shoulders. The extension of the shoulder is a different story, however, with the same study finding that shorter people have the advantage in this regard.
One of the most important things in yoga is your breathing, as well. Because shorter people have smaller diaphragms than tall people, this can improve their ability to breathe deeply, profoundly affecting every other part of your yoga routine. They’re also able to stretch their hamstring muscles easily.
Furthermore, because taller people have a higher center of gravity, they will have difficulty with balance compared to shorter people.
Flexibility is determined by a wide range of physical attributes largely out of your control, such as age, genetics, and gender. How your bones are structured (and how they’re joined) also plays a major role. However, the frequency of your physical activity habits and the range of motion you use to carry them out are equally important.
Remember, flexibility has to do with your joints’ ability to move. The surrounding tissue, your nervous system, and your muscular composition play a key role in this. So, if you’re a runner, you’re using a limited range of motion, carried out repetitively, which will probably result in shortened hamstrings.
This also applies to people who spend a lot of time weight training, which shortens and contracts the muscles, who will struggle to achieve flexibility and mass.
One misconception is that overweight people aren’t flexible, but it simply isn’t true. Carrying extra fat tissue (to a point) does not affect flexibility. And, if you’re stretching regularly, you shouldn’t have any struggles to use a full range of movement, which is critical for yoga.
The good news is that no matter your body’s composition if you show the proper commitment to a yoga routine or basic stretching exercises, you can maintain flexibility while building muscle mass and handling other physical limitations. Even people suffering from paralysis have utilized modified stretching exercises to create a tailored routine that caters to balance than their bodies’ limitations. Anyone can do yoga with the right focus and dedication, even if it’s a greater challenge.
Now that you know that anyone can do yoga, you may still need some convincing to take it on, but you want to know if it’s worth the effort. Some people swear by yoga, and it’s difficult from an outsider’s perspective to understand why. So, let’s take a look at some of the major benefits of yoga, according to a Johns Hopkins study:
Firstly, yoga improves strength, balance, and flexibility. The slow movements increased blood flow from breathing and strength-building poses to create the perfect environment for improving your physical health in general and getting into good shape.
And till people, in particular, can benefit from the outcomes of a good yoga session, which can help with pain relief, particularly regarding back and neck pain – which is often a huge thorn in the side for tall people. On top of this, the symptoms of arthritis and heart issues are reduced.
Physical health is also meaningless without a good night’s sleep and a well-rested body, which is great because yoga helps you sleep better. This leads to radical improvements in mental health, a critical part of all of our lives in today’s fast-paced world. It gives you more energy, improves your mood, and helps you manage stress through some simple mantras interwoven with the actual physical exercise – Healthy body, healthy mind!
Finally, yoga allows you to be part of a community. One of my favorite things about going to a yoga class is that they are a wonderful, relaxed place to socialize. Unfortunately, tall people prefer to be at the back of the class to stay out of the way and not accidentally hit someone in the face with their broad wingspans. Nonetheless, classes can be fun and a great way to meet people and build a community of like-minded individuals. Yoga is always more fun when done in groups!
Yoga really is one of my favorite forms of exercise and for a good reason! The benefits it has for my body and my mind are unparalleled – even though I’m tall. And, after a few months of regular practice, it becomes just as effortless as it is for anyone else. Thirty minutes of solid stretching three times a week can help you extend your tendons and muscles significantly while retaining muscle mass. Just remember not to stretch cold muscles and find a warmup routine to ensure you’re getting the most out of every session.
If you’re serious about taking up yoga, there is always plenty of room for growth, no matter your size or your current abilities. It may be hard to begin with, but once you get into it, it’ll become effortless, and you will struggle to remember your life without it.