“Mirror, mirror on the wall… something, something, where’s my yoga butt?”
Yep, after practicing yoga for as long as I have, I actually resorted to asking my mirror why I’d yet to attain the ah-mazing yoga butt that inspired me to start doing yoga in the first place (and, you know, the health benefits and whatnot). What makes it such a valuable commodity? The definition of “yoga butt” on Urban Dictionary says it best:
"The ultimate external sign of a strong and powerful body… It is perfectly proportioned, very tight, high and sculpted… It is very sexy and it immediately turns eyes and makes people jealous or inspired."
Indubitably! So what’s a girl to do? I caught up with yoga instructors Vanessa Van Noy and Danielle Franco to find out. Here are 9 of their fave poses to help you achieve the yoga butt of your dreams:
1. Balancing Table Leg Extensions
Start in Table Pose, making sure your wrists are underneath your shoulders and your knees are underneath your hips. Move into Balancing Table by extending your right leg behind you until it’s in line with your spine. Keeping your leg straight, lower your toes down to the floor and just as they're about to touch, lift your leg back up until it's parallel with the floor. Repeat 10 times and switch to the other side.
2. Bridge Pose
Bridge Pose is one of the few yoga butt poses I do well: Lying on your back, bend both knees and place your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Place your arms alongside your body, palms facing down. Press your feet on the floor, inhale and lift your hips up, peeling your spine off the mat. Engage your legs and butt to lift your hips as high as you can. Hold for five breaths. To release, exhale slowly and roll your spine back to the floor.
3. Locust Pose
Lie facedown on your mat with your legs outstretched behind you and the tops of your feet pressing against the mat. As you inhale, lift your head, chest, arms, hands, legs and feet off the mat as high as you can. Engage your back muscles while attempting to relieve your glute muscles. Hold for five breaths. (Here's the Locust Pose in action.)
4. Downward Facing Dog Leg Lifts
Starting in Downward Facing Dog, sweep your right leg back and up behind you, keeping your toes pointed toward the floor and hips in line. Lift your leg as high as you can without letting your stomach and ribs pop forward. As you exhale, lower your toes back to the floor. Repeat 10 times, then switch to the other side.
5. Warrior III
Start in Mountain Pose and step your right foot forward, shifting all of your weight onto this leg. Inhale your arms overhead and as you exhale, lift your left leg behind you. Hinge your hips forward to lower your torso and outstretched arms until they - along with your left leg - are parallel to the floor (like so). Look down at the floor and stare at a point to keep your balance. Repeat on the other side.
6. Horse Pose
Stand with your legs wide and turned out. Bend your knees and sink your hips, making sure your knees are in line with your feet. Keep your back straight and your pelvis tucked in, and place your hands in prayer position (also, make sure your Horse Pose doesn't end with you in a pile on the floor like mine always does).
7. Chair Pose
Stand with your feet together. Bend your knees and drop your hips, bringing your weight onto your heels (as if you’re about to sit in a chair). Bring your thighs as parallel to the floor as possible. Lift your arms up, making sure they’re shoulder-width apart. Gaze upwards. Hold for five breaths.
8. Single Leg Plank
Starting in Plank Pose, inhale and lift one leg parallel to the floor. Make sure your core is strong and your glutes are tight. Hold for five breaths, exhale your foot to the floor, then repeat on the other side.
9. Upward Plank Pose
Start in Crab Pose. Keeping the upper half of your body as is, slowly straighten one leg at a time and point your toes, lifting your hips as high as you can (like this). Roll your shoulders and lift your chest, while strongly engaging your core, butt and glutes. Hold for five breaths, then return to Crab.
Have you achieved the infamous yoga butt?
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