“Soft,” “relaxed” glutes never had an inspiring ring to Alexandria Crow until she really understood the anatomy behind the less-than-clear alignment cue.
There are all sorts of cues given about the gluteals in yoga. “Soften the glutes,” “draw the buttock flesh down,” etc. As a student, these cues always conjure visions of a saggy derrière for me—and to be honest I don’t want a saggy booty. Without knowing gluteal anatomy, it’s logical to believe that that the more you contract, grip, and tighten your tush, the higher and rounder it would become. But it turns out learning to relax your glutes in certain poses is key to specific actions necessary for safe backbends.
Also see Poses for Glutes