We are pumped to share one of our fave stories from Self here on FitSugar!
There's something about the way dancers carry themselves that makes them look a little bit taller — even if they're on the shorter side of the spectrum!
With this phenomenon in mind, we asked Laura Halzack of the Paul Taylor Dance Company
for her secret to that long and lean look. (Click here to enter to win a scholarship at The Taylor School — Summer Dance Intensive.)
"I think you carry yourself differently if you strengthen your back," explains Halzack, 29. "It becomes a habit start to carrying yourself a little bit taller."
Here are 3 exercises from Halzack that might make you look like you've grown an inch or two:
Downward Dog is a great yoga exercise that both strengthens and lengthens. To achieve the position correctly, straighten the legs to your personal limit, send your tailbone to the ceiling and pull the lats down (via the shoulder blades). Do a deep inhale, then exhale. Repeat the breath eight times and relax. Resume the posture at least 2 more times without letting your head drop or your back arch. Keep your head on your spine, making your spine one long line.
Learn two more exercises when you keep reading.
Getting Your Back on Track
This one is more of a stretch. Interlace your fingers behind your neck and slowly roll down as if you're pulling your head down to your toes, taking it as far as you can go. Hang there for four to five breaths. Take your middle finger and pointer on each hand and wrap them around your big toe to pull yourself closer to your toes — this is a great hamstring stretch. Once you get to the bottom of that stretch, pull your back toward the ceiling as you pull your head to the floor. This is an amazing stretch in the sacrum and lower spine. Use your abs to push the lower spine toward the ceiling, and repeat up to three times.
No Time Spine Align
Take a 2.5 lb weight or a very heavy book and balance it on the crown of your head. Think of the weight pushing down into the top of your skull. Keep the energy in your neck going up, letting the neck get as long as possible — hold it for about a minute. You feel like you get a little taller standing there in this meditative state. Let your shoulders drop and concentrate on your breath. Hold for at least minute. You'll be left with a sense of height and length in the neck and spine.