By Theresa Moodie

We all know Yoga is an ancient practice, designed to connect mind, body and spirit. Benefits include improved flexibility, muscle tone, endurance and of course lowered stress levels. But it is also ok if you practice Yoga or select certain Yoga poses for a great booty!

The Gluteals

There are three different gluteals. The gluteus maximus which is one of the heaviest and strongest muscles in the body The Gluteus medius which runs along the side of the buttocks and the gluteus minimus, which is much smaller and underneath. This muscle group rotates the thighs inwards and outwards, allows you to draw your leg back and stabilises the femur in your hip socket.

The gluteals helps you stand upright, give you power walking uphill or stairs and make your back feel better. Since glutes directly affect posture, back, hip and pelvis pain can often be attributed to weaknesses or imbalances in the gluteals.

Given our sedentary lifestyles and over exertion in other sports such as running, problems often develop.

We all want toned, balanced glutes to support a good posture. Never mind a perfectly rounded and lifted booty that is easy on the eyes! We most certainly do not want a flat, shapeless booty!

A strong balanced backside is key to both a stable and pain free Yoga practice and lifestyle.

Fortunately, Yoga counteracts the effects of modern life. We want to be able to stretch, contract and fully relax our muscles when we exercise. Yoga is the perfect playground for this. Nearly all the standing postures engage the gluteus maximus.

Movement patterns in Yoga are both dynamic and isometric. Coming in and out of the different postures works the muscles with concentrically, when muscles shorten and contract and eccentrically when the muscles lengthen.

My top 3 Yoga poses for a Great botty

Utkatasana: Chair pose

Inhale and raise your arms up over head, palms facing each other and drop the shoulders away from the ears.

Exhale and bend into your knees, trying to take the thighs parallel to the floor as possible. The knees will push out over the feet, so make sure you can still see your toes when you look down. The torso will lean slightly forward over the thighs. Keep the inner thighs squeezing together and press the heads of the thigh bones down toward the heels.

Salabhasana: Locust pose

This pose is great for prepping back bends. Lie on your stomach, with your arms at your side. Rotate the big toes inward to touch each other. Exhale lift your head, arms, upper torso and legs off the ground. You will be resting on your lower ribs, stomach and front pelvis. Firm into the glutes, keep the big toes touching and lengthen us much as you can through the backs of the legs.

Push your arms up towards the ceiling and length through the neck. This asana has a variety of arm variations. Be mindful to not strain or compress into the neck.

Virabhadrasana 3: Warrior 3

From Virabhadrasana 1 or your high crescent lunge, press the weight into your front leg and lift the back leg to make a T shape with your body. Keeping the back leg parallel to the floor. The arms can remain in prayer position or extend out in front.

The gluteus maximus is used concentrically in this position to maintain a neutral hip extension and rotation.