Yoga doesn't just balance your body and mind, it also stretches and strengthens your muscles. Hold a pose long enough, and you'll start to feel the burn just as if you were lifting weights in the gym. But unlike other forms of exercise, yoga is low-impact and low-intensity.
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So if you're looking to firm and tone your backside, Livestrong teamed up with yoga teacher Elise Joan to bring you a kick-butt yoga series that will definitely strengthen all parts of your glute muscles — gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus.
To take your practice further, here are five more asanas, or yoga poses, to help tone your glutes as well as your abdominal, back and leg muscles.
1. Balancing Table (Dandayamna Bharmanasana)
Balancing Table pose is a low-impact static pose that works your glutes, abdominals and back muscles.
HOW TO DO IT: Starting on your hands and knees, lift your right arm straight out in front of you and your left leg straight behind you. Pull your belly in toward your spine. Inhale and lift your arm and leg higher. Hold for a few breaths. Exhale and place your hand and knee back on the floor. Repeat on the other side by lifting your left arm and right leg.
2. Downward-Facing Dog Variation (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
A variation on the well-known Downward-Facing Dog pose firms your butt and opens your hips for freer movement.
HOW TO DO IT: From hands and knees, exhale, straighten your knees and lift your butt upward for Downward-Facing Dog. Hold for a few breaths. Press your hands and left foot firmly into the floor and lift your right leg up to the ceiling. To open your hips, bend your right knee and rotate your right foot toward your left side. Then, square off your hips and raise your right leg straight up again. Hold for a few breaths, then return your foot to the floor. Repeat with your left leg.
3. Crescent Pose (Anjaneyasana)
This variation of a high lunge tones your glutes, quads and hamstrings.
HOW TO DO IT: From Downward-Facing Dog, step your right foot between your hands and rise into a lunge. Your back leg should be straight, your front knee bent and your front shin perpendicular to the floor. Stretch your arms overhead, keeping your abdominals pulled in, and take several breaths. Return your hands to the floor, switch legs and repeat with your left leg forward.
4. Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
Locust pose is a reverse hollowed-out position that strengthens your back, butt and legs.
HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your belly with your arms by your sides, palms facing up. Inhale and lift your head, chest, arms and legs away from the floor. Keep your pelvis grounded and lengthen your chest forward and your legs back. Take a few breaths in this position. Then exhale as you release the stretch and lower back onto your mat.
5. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Bridge pose strengthens your glutes and abdominals and reverses the effects of sitting all day.
HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your back, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart. Your arms should be at your sides, palms down. Inhale and lift your pelvis off the floor, simultaneously pressing your heels and palms into the floor. Keep your belly firm an be careful not to overarch your back. Hold this position for a few breaths and exhale as you lower back to your mat.
Read more: The Best Yoga Moves for Your Back
What Do YOU Think?
Are you looking to shape and tone your booty? Have you ever done any of these yoga poses before? What other yoga poses have you done for stronger glute muscles? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below!
- American Council on Exercise: Butt & Hip Exercises
- "Light on Yoga"; B.K.S. Iyengar; 1976
- "Anatomy of Movement"; Blandine Calais-Germain; 1993
- Yoga Basics: Asanas -- Yoga Postures