All words and images: Cat Meffan
Firstly I just want to say that yoga isn’t only about the physical body, but seeing as I came to yoga for physical reasons, it would be silly to dismiss that a lot of people do. I found yoga whilst on a mission to get strong and understand my hyper-mobile limbs a lot more, and through that I then discovered a whole world of information and a way of living. That doesn’t mean to say that I don’t just do yoga sometimes to get a sweat on and to discover new, fun postures – I do. And as long as we’re connecting to the breath whilst doing it, we’re doing yoga. But is that all we need to connect to?
Something I hear a lot is “Does yoga tone your bum?” and “People who do yoga have a flat bum”. I don’t care how many nasty people talk about ladies who do yoga as having a flat ‘yoga bum’, it’s just rubbish. Engaging your glutes whilst doing yoga is an absolute must. Maybe in the more spiritual classes, the teachers don’t talk about using the glutes as much, but trust me, you won’t get through a sun salutation and a few warriors without having to use those puppies. I don’t think it’s spoken about enough to be honest, sometimes the anatomy can be lost in yoga classes, but I assure you if you’re doing the postures correctly, you’ll be toning that peach every step of the way.
In yoga we talk about helping the body through injury, aiding good posture, using it as a form of healing and also as a way of preventing injury, but how can we expect to do that if we’re not focusing on using those buns of steal to give our body stability throughout a flow or taking pressure off of the spine by engaging it.
A posture example would be warrior two. Looks easy enough, right? Not exactly. Just hanging out in warrior two and relying on your ankles and quads to keep you steady, isn’t the most beneficial way to practice. Next time you’re in warrior two, give yourself a little ‘self adjust’. If you have the right foot in front, take the right hand to the outside of the right knee and start to add gently pressure, pushing it inwards. Now with the same leg, you want to resist that pressure and try to press out. Instantly you’ll feel the glutes engage and this is how you want it to always feel. Switched ON.
Growing a perky peach might look great, but it actually serves an extremely good purpose, along with the core. We all seem to accept the core and what it does in yoga, but the glutes are always helping with the alignment and posture, both on and off the mat.
There are so many great postures for toning the glutes, which you can find below in my yoga flow, but as well as doing flows like this, it’s something we need to be aware of no matter what the yoga focus is. So you’re doing a heart opening vinyasa flow class. Think about engaging those glutes. Reverse warrior pose, camel pose, salabhasana – they all need a little bit of glute love.
So in answer to the question I get asked so often. Does yoga tone your bum? ABSO-BLOOMIN’-LUTELY!
Fancy a flow right now, head over to my YouTube and give this one a go.