While it’s true that yoga can be an incredibly relaxing practice, it can also offer tons of physical fitness benefits. The whole body gets toned and different muscle groups are engaged, especially the glutes.
The glutes are made up of three main muscles: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. These muscles are essential to standing upright, and when properly worked, they’re just so happy to help you look great in your black stretchy pants.
Every yoga pose requires full body engagement, however, there are a handful that truly target the glutes. So if you want to practice yoga for a great butt, here are some of my top picks of yoga poses and variations that'll do the job.
1. Chair Pose
This pose not only builds the glutes, it also fires up the muscles of the upper legs. Proper alignment is key to nailing this pose, and when the traditional version becomes too easy, you can mix it up with any number of variations!
Start in a standing position with your feet together. Slowly begin to sink your hips down and back until you begin to feel heat building up the legs. Engage the inner thighs by squeezing them together. Allow the hips to become level with knees and hold for five deep rounds of breath.
When you are ready to take things up a notch, take your Chair pose to the wall. Place your back against the wall and slowly slide down until your hips are level with the knees. Hold for 30-second intervals. The support of the wall allows for longer holds, which will help to further strengthen the glutes.
2. Warrior III
The Warrior series is packed with glute-strengthening moves. However, Warrior III is by far the best pose in the series that brings a good lift to the butt.
To maintain good form requires strong engagement from the gluteus maximus. This engagement allows the back leg to be extended and the body to remain in a straight line, from the tip of the head to the tips of the toes. Hold for 30 seconds or five rounds of breath.
3. Locust Pose
This variation of Locust pose fully targets the glutes. By extending the arms forward and lifting both the arms and the legs away from the ground, you force the glutes to fire up in order to protect the back.
To get the most out of this pose, keep your gaze down and allow the neck to remain long. It is also incredibly important not to hold your breath, and instead find your deepest inhales and exhales to avoid unnecessary tension.
4. Bridge Pose
With a little lift of the hips in this backbend, a firm butt is yours in no time. The higher you lift your hips, the greater benefit you will feel across the abdominal muscles as well as the glutes.
Similar to Locust pose, you may experience a restriction in your breath, so remember to breathe as deeply as possible.
5. Reclining Half Pigeon
Also known as Figure Four pose or Thread the Needle, this supine posture is anything but easy. By reclining, you allow your outer hip to release without the downward pressure imposed by a traditional Pigeon pose.
Keeping in mind that the gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body, the only way to truly strengthen and build the muscle is to provide it with a balanced stretch after it is engaged in all the other poses.
So the next time you are looking in the mirror and feel like your rear could use a lift, turn to your yoga mat. These poses will not only work your glutes, but also bring you that sense of relaxation you get anytime you get on your mat.
Image Credit: Sanaa Jaman