Top to bottom, yoga has something to offer us. The practice provides strength, stability, balance, peace, and focus. Yoga has this beautiful ability to integrate and connect the whole body, or it can zone in to help improve certain areas.
One very important focus area is…the yoga booty. It’s the strong, firm, shapely booty that most of us would love to show off. A strong booty (i.e. Gluteal muscles) is not only confidence-building, but even boasts some health benefits such as lower chances of pain, strains, and tension along the back and legs. If a toned and beautiful booty is one of your goals, check out these yoga poses to help you build the bottom of your dreams.
Uttanasana — Standing Forward Bend Pose
A Standing Forward Bend may not seem like the most obvious booty strengthening pose, but the beauty in this pose is its gentle ability to open, stretch, and synchronize the muscles of the back and hips. Start off your bottom-building sequence with an intentional forward fold to set the stage for a full-booty work-out.
Take a deep breath in. On the exhale, swoop your arms to your sides, bend slowly downward, and come into forward fold position. Touch your toes, shins, or knees, depending on what is comfortable for your body. You can grasp your elbows and allow your head to hang free. Take a few breaths. Raise you body up from forward fold one vertebrae at a time, while engaging the glute muscles the whole way up.
Utkatasana — Chair Pose
Sit in Chair pose for a second or two and you’ll know exactly why it’s on this list. Chair is one of the best poses for building strength and stability in the hips, glutes, and quadriceps muscles. Make sure to engage the glutes when lifting out of chair as well for the best results.
Starting from a standing position such as mountain pose, breathe in and lift your arms up along your sides to above your head and point your fingers to the sky. On an exhale, bend the knees and lower your torso so that your thighs are parallel with the ground. The thighs should be parallel to each other as well. Direct the tailbone down to the floor, keep the arms raised and the shoulders lowered and the shoulder blades back. Rest here for 30 seconds to a minute. Slowly lift back up to standing while maintaining the engagement of the glute muscles.
Adho Mukha Svanasana — Downward Facing Dog Pose
Downward Dog comes to the rescue again – this time as an all-around lower body conditioner. Down dog is so common in most yoga sequences that we might forget about its value as a stand-alone pose. Not surprisingly, Downward Dog is an amazing booty toner and strengthens the entire lower body.
Come to the floors on hands and knees, similar to the tabletop position. With hands firmly planted and toes on the ground, stretch the knees to come to a downward dog position. Start with the knees slightly bent and heels off the ground, then exhale and slowly straighten the legs bringing the feet fully to the ground if possible. Rest here for a few breath cycles.
Salamba Bhujangasana — Sphinx Pose
Instead of straining your neck and chest muscles to lift up in Sphinx, put that energy to much better use by contracting the glute and lower back muscles. This not only helps you tone your booty, but helps to prevent injury as well.
Lay face-down on your mat, legs straight out behind you, hip-width apart with the tops of your feet pressing into the floor.With arms at your sides, bring your elbows up to rest below your shoulders and forearms extend outward in front of you. Take a breath in and lift your head and chest off the floor, engaging your mid and low back, glutes, and thighs. Hold this position for a few breaths, or as long as is comfortable. To complete, exhale and slowly lower your chest and head back to the mat.
Ashwa Sanchalasana — High Lunge Pose
High Lunge can be a useful pose for so many areas of the body – the back, shoulders, hamstrings, calves, and, you guessed it, the glutes. Rest here a little longer than you might during your vinyasa session to really tune in to the strengthening abilities of the pose.
Begin in Downward Dog, then step your right foot up between your hands.On an inhale, raise your chest up. Here you can rest your hands on your knee or swing them up along your sides, raising them overhead to High Crescent Lunge. Lengthen the spine, but be careful not to overarch the spine. Drop your shoulder blades down and look up to your thumbs. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to one minute. On an exhale, swing the arms back down your sides and down to the floor. Return the leg behind you to fall back into Downward Dog. Repeat on the left side.
Virabhadrasana III — Warrior III Pose
Warrior II is one of those poses that screams strength and stability. It may be a difficult pose to maintain at first, but with practice (and as your gluteal muscles strengthen) you will find it easier and easier to maintain a strong and powerful Warrior III.
Start from a standing position such as Mountain Pose. Breathe in deeply and bend into a forward fold. Exhale and step the left foot back into a high lunge. Drop your torso to your right thigh and bring your hands to your right knee. Stretch your arms forward, parallel to the floor with palms facing each other. Engage the right heel into the floor and, when steady, lift the left leg back and off the ground behind you. Raise your head to look forward. Rest in this position for 30 seconds or as long as is comfortable. Exhale and release the raised leg to the floor. Repeat on the opposite side.
Purvottanasana — Upward Plank Pose
The Upward Plank Pose is the reverse of your typical plank pose. Instead of focusing on core strength, with Upward Plank our focus turns into the glutes. The added benefit of this pose is that it is amazing to open the chest and arms for balance. Rest in this pose for a few breaths per day and see how quickly you will build that booty strength!
Begin in a seated position such as Staff pose, propping your hands a few inches behind your hips with fingers pointing forward. Bend the knees in front of you and place feet flat on the floor. Exhaling, lift the hips into a reverse tabletop position. Gently straighten out one leg at a time, then lift the hips higher to support a small arch in your back. Engage the glute muscles and press your shoulder blades against the back to lift your chest. Drop your head back and rest for 30 seconds.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana — Bridge Pose
While you may think of Bridge as mostly a pose for back strength and flexibility, a proper Bridge relies greatly upon your ability to fully engage the glute muscles. This takes strain off your arms and shoulders and allow for a deeper bend.
Lie on your back and bend your knees to place your feet firmly on the ground. Bring them as close to your sitting bones as possible. Bend your elbows to place your palms on the ground behind your shoulders with the fingers pointing back towards the shoulder joint. Exhale and lift the tailbone to the pubis, engaging the buttocks, with the thighs parallel. Take a few breaths here. Press your hands into the ground to lift the crown of the head. On an exhale, straighten the arms, lift the pubis further, and come into wheel pose. Take 2-3 breaths here, then gently lower back down to the ground to rest. Repeat a few times. Rest in Child’s pose afterwards.
Salabhasana — Locust Pose
Locust is great to mix with Bridge pose and you can do it either before as a warm-up to full-bridge, or after to really focus on and enhance the glutes.
Lie face down with your arms against your sides and your legs extended. Turn your big toes towards each other. Inhale and lift your head and chest up while raising your arms parallel to the floor at your sides. Tighten and engage your buttocks, thighs, and heels. Pay special attention to the glutes as you raise and hold a firm Locust position. Keep your neck long as you look forward. Stay here for 30-60 seconds or as long as is comfortable.
Malasana — Yogi Squat Pose
We all know squats are famous for toning up our rear-ends and creating that perfect, bouncy behind. The Yogi Squat is just as great for your booty, with far less chance of injury. Try and do this at least once or twice a day for phenomenal results.
Begin on the floor with your legs out in front of you. Bend the right knee and bring it close up to your buttocks but out slightly to the right. Repeat with the left leg. Gently ease your weight on your feet and into a low squat. You can adjust your foot placement here to find the most comfortable position, but it should be a wide stance. Bring your hands together at your heart and press your elbows into the inner knees. If needed, use a block beneath your seat for some added support.
Build a Better Behind
Many of us lust after a booty that we are happy to show off in our yoga pants. Fortunately with these poses, that perfect yogi booty is not so out of reach. The best part about working towards a better-looking behind is that strengthening your glutes is actually a great way to prevent musculoskeletal issues down the road. A strong bottom will carry and support our bodies through our daily activities and take the strain off our other, more vulnerable areas – bye, bye low back pain! So whether you’re in it for the looks or for the strength, these poses will keep you in tip-top shape from top to bottom!
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Paving the way for yogic living in Nebraska, Jacqueline Roberts is adored by her students as a constant source of support and inspiration. A knack for writing allows her to share what she has learned with the world.