The yoga butt-lift
Do your cheeks hang low, do they wobble to and fro? This non-traditional yoga set is based on yoga pulse moves that target the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. It’s a kick-butt yoga set that will lift, sculpt and tone your sweet bee-hind!
1. The side jab
Start in a tabletop position with hands directly under your shoulders and knees directly under your hips. As you inhale, extend the right leg back so the heel is in line with the hip. Press through the heel as you hug the thighbone into the hip joint. Focus on keeping the hips level and drawing your belly button toward the spine, keeping the core strong and active through the whole set. Exhale and extend your leg as far to the right as possible. On an inhale, draw the leg back to center and repeat 10 to 12 times: exhaling and extending leg to right, inhaling and drawing the leg back in. Once you’ve completed the set on the right side, return to tabletop and repeat on the left side.
This move is a butt-burner that works all three glute muscles and is a good way to connect movement with your breath.
2. Three-leg downward-facing dog pumps
From a tabletop position walk knees and feet back 5 to 6 inches, tucking toes under so you are on the balls of the feet. On an exhale, lift your sit bones upwards, bring the body into a V-like shape — downward-facing dog pose. On an inhale, raise the right leg as high as possible; once it's up there, point your toes away from you and try to separate your pinky toe from the rest of your toes (this is called "flointing" the toes, and it encourages all the muscles in the legs and glutes to engage). Focus on hugging the belly button toward the spine and keeping the shoulders level. Begin to make tiny pumps up and down with your right foot, pulsing the foot up and down 16 to 24 times. On an exhale, return to down dog and repeat on left side.
Works the gluteus medius and core, and energizes the body.
3. Warrior II flow
From a standing position, step feet out about 3 1/2 to 4 inches, coming into a wide-leg stance with feet parallel. On an inhale, pivot your right foot forward facing the front the mat. While grounding firmly through the outside edge of your back foot, begin to bend the right knee, stacking it directly over the ankle. Inhale, reaching the arms over head, then exhale and draw the arms to a “T” shape parallel to the floor, gazing over the right middle finger: this is Warrior II. Focus on rotating the right knee towards the pinky-toe side of the right foot by externally rotating the thighbone; this brings the glutes into action. On the inhale, straighten through the right leg by firmly pressing the foot down and squeezing the kneecap up, engaging the quad; reach your hands overhead and gaze up. On the exhale, come back into Warrior II, making sure to rotate the knee toward the outside edge of the foot. Repeat eight to 10 times, then release back to a wide-leg stance and repeat on left side.
This pose sculpts the buttocks, thighs and is a gentle hip-opener. It also is a great way to connect movement with the breath.
4. Muffin-top melter
Come to a seated position with the legs extended in front of you. Begin by bending the right knee to 1 o’clock position and the left knee to 11 o’clock position (12 o’clock is directly in front of you). Place the hands on either side of the left knee, staying on the fingertips as if you are cupping the earth with the hands. Focus on keeping the shoulder blades moving together and down, lifting the sternum up and forward, and pulling the belly button back toward the spine. On an inhale, draw the right thigh, knee, shin and foot to float 5 to 7 inches off the ground. Try to separate the toes as much as possible and press through the big-toe mound of the foot. On the exhale, extend the leg; on the inhale pull the leg back in. It is somewhat similar to doing "crunches," but you are working the external oblique (muffin-top area) and glutes. Repeat 12 to 16 times, then release and repeat on the left side.
This pose is a challenging pulse yoga move that helps to strengthen the legs, hips and lower back.
After finishing the yoga pulse sets, come to a neutral position, lying on your back in corpse pose, allowing the body to completely settle and calm. Relax in corpse pose for 3 to 5 minutes before completing your practice.
Are the yoga pulse moves not cutting it for you? Interestingly enough, the glute muscles only partially contribute to the shape of your buns; the composition of the panniculus adiposus (fat storage location) greatly impacts whether or not you have a saggy butt or that desired round shape. Exercise, like yoga and cardio, and a healthy diet contribute to fat loss and a reduction of the fat storage location in the buttocks. Be sure to support your butt lift goals by eating healthy and drinking lots of water. If you have questions please visit alibooyoga.com and feel free to send me a message! Cheers to a tight and toned booty!
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Images: Ariane Gampper