Monday, March 1, 2010

Tall Drink of Water

Tomorrow morning when you first wake up, lie flat in bed or on your mat and enjoy a full body stretch. Feel tall? Maybe even taller than you felt the night before? You are.

After a night of sleep has allowed time for fluids to rehydrate disks and joints, we humans start the day about 8mm, or .3 inches taller. But before you think about buying longer jeans, remember gravity. Throughout the day, gravity gradually compresses the cartilage separating the bones of the vertebrae and joints. Like a sponge, water and synovial fluid are squeezed out every time we sit, stand or move. There are other contributors too, like how we hold our bodies upright in space (posture) and how we use those bodies to perform daily activities (muscle tension and imbalances).

Yoga, particularly restorative, lying-down postures, can mitigate this daily, progressive scrunch. If you ever get antsy at the end of a practice or class, ready to bolt to your next activity, consider the benefits your body receives when you lie quietly in savasana, deep relaxation pose. Imagine your vertebral disks plumping with water, your knees and shoulders receiving vital, restorative fluids. Add the gift of a gravity-free break to the soothing balm of a quiet mind.

You can probably keep the same jeans, but you might end the day feeling as tall as you did when it started.

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