Challenge Your Glutes

Having strong, well-functioning glutes is critical for your integrity in both yoga poses and in sports. Sage Rountree explains and shares a glute-strengthening practice.
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Having strong, well-functioning glutes is critical for your integrity in both yoga poses and in sports. Sage Rountree explains and shares a glute-strengthening practice.

As we saw in my last post, Warrior III is a good pose to measure and to build hip stability.

Practicing your standing balance poses in a continuous sequence on one side, then the other, instead of alternating between sides before moving to the next pose, will challenge the hip muscles of the standing leg to build hip strength. In addition, your lower leg strength and sense of balance will improve.

Here’s a sample sequence to string together.

Tree Pose

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Standing in Mountain Pose, rotate your left leg to the left and set the left foot against the right leg. This can be taking a kickstand position with left toes to the ground; cupping the right calf with the left arch; or lifting the left foot above the right knee to rest against the inner right thigh. Spread your arms for balance: either off to the sides, parallel overhead, or in prayer at your heart or overhead. Stay for 10 breaths.

Eagle Pose

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To transition, squat with the right leg, knee over toes, as you slowly cross the left inner thigh over the right thigh. Your left toes can rest on the floor to the right of the right foot, hover in space to the right of the right shin, or wrap behind the right leg. Arms can be spread like eagle wings or can wrap, too, with the right elbow nestling in the crook of the left elbow. Stay 10 breaths.

Back to Tree Pose

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Now slowly unwind your left leg back to Tree, using your arms to help with placement if necessary. Hold another 5-10 breaths, then step the left leg back to Mountain Pose. Notice the feeling in your right outer hip and lower leg: your glutes and foot muscles should feel a pleasant fatigue. Repeat on the other side.