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Great Glutes

A toned backside is a beautiful thing, especially when you relax your posterior hip muscles.

By Julie Gudmestad

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Somehow, the idea that it's admirable to have "buns of steel" has become entrenched in our culture. It's true that these muscles need to be strong, but if there's too much steel back there—in the form of short, tight muscles—you're likely to face a multitude of difficulties.

In everyday life, those can include sciatic nerve problems, low-back pain, and even knee trouble. That's because tight buttock muscles limit the range of motion of the hips, leaving the low back and knees to compensate. Tightness in the posterior hips can also pull the knee out of alignment, thereby contributing to knee tendonitis and even arthritis. In yoga, you're likely to come up against frustrating flexibility challenges, particularly in forward bends and seated twists.

Most often, the buttock muscles get overly tight when you spend a lot of time sitting, especially with crossed legs or ankles. Activities like cycling and running can also contribute. Whatever the cause, the solution is to do stretches and yoga poses that lengthen these muscles and teach them to relax. If you can squeeze in some butt stretches a few times a week, not only will your low back and knees be happier, but you'll be rewarded with greater ease in your practice.

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Reader Comments

Jess

Don't the buttock muscles get weakened rather than overly tight by sitting a lot?? Thought it was the psoas that got tight?

Manish Pole

Hi,
This is the first anatomy article that I have read on yogajournal.com and I think its wonderful!! I'll be reading all the others.

I teach a style of Yoga called Bharat Thakur's Artistic Yoga. visit www.artisticyoga.com to find articles on "Butt-Strengthening"


Anonymous

I am a beginner in the practice of Hatha and Tantra yoga I have found that if you are truly seeking an enlightened journey you can focus on your breathing and only take the asana as far as you feel capable. I never once went on the negative thought of can't. I went on I can try and do eventualy. Meditation and breathing being my main focus to begin with. I am forever on a journey of enlightenment and I have found if you believe; your body mind and spirit will follow. I was taught by a Reiki Healer and I have been on this spiritual journey ever since

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