I have some bad news: Your desk job could be sabotaging your butt. Sitting all day can give you weak glutes, tight hamstings and even tighter hip flexors (translation: a flat, deflated derriere). The good news is that yoga can counteract all that sitting – and give you great glutes! More good news: Alison Wohlfarth, yoga instructor extraordinaire from Mountainside Fitness, is here to help us all build a better booty. Here she tells us her 4 fave yoga moves to take your butt from flab to fab…
It seems like everyone is looking to achieve a derriere you can bounce a quarter off. As an instructor, it’s my single most requested “focus,” coming in only slightly ahead of “core.” And oh, how I love to torture my students with intense gluteal work. The beauty of using yoga to attain this sculpted backside is that it incorporates hip flexor stretching, which is an oft-forgotten aspect in the quest to achieve great glutes.
High Lunge (preparation for virabhadrasana I) – There is simply nothing better than a lunge to sculpt a lean, shapely derriere, and the High Lunge is no exception. How To: From down dog (adho mukha svanasana), step your right foot forward between your hands. Keeping your back heel lifted, square the hips, inhale, bringing up the torso and extending your arms to the sky. Hold for 10 breaths. For extra fun, slowly lower the left knee, hovering just above the ground. With control, return to the top of the lunge.
Half-Moon Pose (ardha chandrasana) – From a rooted foot, to engaged gluteals, half-moon will awaken the sleepiest of derrieres. How To: From triangle (trikonasana) shift your weight forward, keeping your right hand on the ground about 12 inches in front of your right foot. Elevate the back leg to a position parallel (or slightly above parallel) to the floor. Firmly ground the right foot as you straighten both legs. Think of “stacking the hips on top of one another” as you open, rotating the upper torso to the left. Actively extend through the back foot. Bear most of the weight on the standing leg, only using the right finger lightly on the floor for assistance.
Upward Plank Pose (purvottanasana) – In the way plank pose requires abdominal strength, upward plank pose recruits the glutes. How to: From a seated position with your legs extended on the floor, take your hands behind you, fingers pointing toward your body. Press into your palms as you lift your hips as high as you can. Let your neck relax, as your head falls back. Stay here for five breaths, continually trying to find more lift.
Bridge Pose variation (setu bandha sarvangasana) – Single-leg bridge is probably my favorite butt-shaper because you have to really ground your foot in order to find lift – in other words, you can’t cheat. How to: Lying on your back, bend your knees and place your feet on the ground hip-width apart with your arms on either side of you reaching toward your heels. Make sure the heels are directly underneath the knees. Pressing into all four corners of your feet, lengthen through your tailbone and lift your hips. Interlace your hands together underneath you and draw your shoulder blades together. For added challenge, lift your right leg toward the ceiling, keeping your hips level. Lower hips about 6 inches, and lift back up, pressing firmly through the left foot. Repeat for 8, slow and controlled reps on each side.