I practice yoga for reasons that have nothing to do with my derriere–but you can’t deny that lifting and toning your butt is one great side effect of going to yoga class. I know, I can almost hear you gasping because isn’t it so un-PD to be talking about “better butt,” and using yoga to get it?! First of all, I think there are all sorts of beautiful derrieres just like there are all sorts of beautiful faces. But at least for me, working out any part of your body makes you feel more confident–and isn’t that always a good thing? Plus, yoga isn’t just about transcendence and meditation, but also about playfulness. I think you can totally want physical as well as spiritual benefits and not be any less of a yogi. 🙂
Because yoga poses work the seat from different angles (turned out hips vs. parallel hips; wide vs. narrow), and hold each pose for a long time and/or cycle through a sequence repeatedly, you get more results than just doing cardio. You also get more definition from your outer glutes and from where the backs of your thighs meets the seat. Here are some of my favorite poses and sequences.
Start from standing, feet parallel and hip width apart. Exhale and lower your hips (as onto an imaginary chair) while simultaneously raising arms overhead. Keep weight on your heels, and tuck your pelvis under which should activate your core (and release pressure from lower back). Hold here for five breaths.
On exhale, swing your torso forward and bring your chest to your thighs as your arms swing down and behind you. In one flowing movement, inhale and raise your left knee high up to your chest, foot flexed. Exhale and swing back down to position 2. Repeat on the other side; cycle through both legs, 5 times on each side.
2. High Lunge-Warrior 3
From high lunge, shift your weight forward as you gently kick off your back foot, coming into Warrior III–supporting leg is gently bent, your torso to your back leg is parallel to the floor, and back foot is pointing directly to the floor. Take 5 breaths here. Cycle through your vinyasa.
Come into a low squat with your elbows resting inside your inner thighs (Garland pose), toes slightly turned out. Start from prayer hands.
Raise your right arm up as you twist and open up your right side of the body, using the left elbow as leverage.
From there, scoot your feet several inches closer together as you reach behind your back with your right arm, and grab hold of your left hand. Lock this bind firmly in place as you shift your weight to your right.
Hold here for five breaths. Repeat on the other side.
4. Half Moon pose
From standing, fold yourself over and reach for the place about 3 feet in front of you. Place your left hand lightly on the ground, a few inches to the outside of your left feet. With your right hand on your hip, slowly rotate your right hip out until your torso is facing the side. Lift your right arm to the ceiling and turn your gaze upward. Tip: to challenge your seat even more, pulse your top leg just a few inches up and down.
Start by lying on your stomach. With exhale, lift up your upper body, arms, and legs all at the same time. Keep your legs straight and contracted, thighs, knees, and ankles touching. Stay here as long as you can while holding normal breathing. Tip: to work your seat muscles more, try squeezing your thighs together in little pulses.
Also see: Dancer Stretches for Splits
Photo: Peaceful Dumpling