Yoga gurus and practitioners can make some aggressive claims about what yoga can do for you. Some of these are true: The health benefits of yoga are so impressive that "You: The Owner's Manual" author Dr. Mehmet Oz recommends daily yoga for literally everybody. Some other claims, such as Baba Ramdev's assertion that yoga can cure AIDS, are demonstrably false. Other claims -- such as yoga making you taller -- require some deeper consideration.
Height and Physiology
Your height is primarily a factor of your bone structure, according to David MacCaulay's "The Way We Work." The bones of your skeleton form the frame on which the rest of your body hangs, determining how tall you stand. Yoga exercises do nothing to alter the structure of an adult's skeleton, or the growth pattern of a child's skeleton.
Height and Genetics
About 60 to 80 percent of your height is directly determined by your genes, according to researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. The balance -- 20 to 40 percent -- is affected by your environment, principally early nutrition. So, who your parents are and what you eat influence your weight more than any amount of time you spend on the yoga mat. Since genetics are unaffected by any yoga or other exercise program, yoga will not play a factor in the genetics of height.
Height and Posture
Posture is one of the only factors of your height that is affected by behavior. People who slouch or slump at the back and shoulders lose apparent height by putting some of their body length at a diagonal. According to eOrthopod.com, this height loss isn't just temporary. Long-term bad posture can degrade the spine and cause the "age shrinkage" many seniors experience during their later decades.
Yoga and Posture
Yoga exercises begin with training in erect posture. The spine is to be straight, but not locked, with the shoulders squarely above the hips. Even when in motion, or assuming challenging positions, this baseline posture is preserved. Yoga exercises also help to strengthen and preserve the muscles responsible for good posture.
Yoga will not increase the length of your skeleton or change the genetic code that determines your adult height. However, yoga exercises will improve your posture and help keep posture-related muscles from degenerating due to atrophy or old age. In this way, yoga can make you appear and feel taller.