Who doesn’t want a yoga butt?! Well, it may depend on which definition you’re using.
‘Yoga Butt’- once the phrase for a supposedly enviable perky derriere – is now a term often used to refer to a pesky overstretch injury at the top of the hamstrings. This pain in the butt is marked by inflammation of the tendons that connect the hamstring muscles on the back of the leg (semitendinosus, semimembranosus and biceps femoris) to the sit bones (ischial tuberosities), and in some extreme cases, tearing or rupture of the tendons.
- Pain at the top of your thigh, bottom of the butt in forward folding poses (uttanasana, paschimottanasana, upavista konasana, etc)
- Tingling at the top of thigh/bottom of your butt in forward folds such as those listed above.
- Pain around your sit bone when seated, especially for long periods of time.
- You should never EVER have sensation up near your sit bones in yoga class, especially during forward folds. Look for sensation solely in the middle, belly part of your thigh muscles, not at all at your butt, behind your knees, or at the top sides of your shins.
- If you’re in pain, back out of the pose, and engage your legs more completely. Get a teacher or friend to check that you’re not hyperextending your knee (as shown, below left) in straight-leg poses. When your leg is straight, the center of your hip should be directly over your knee, directly over your ankle, as seen below, on the right. Your shin bone will be vertical.
- Keeping your legs straight (not hyper-straight) in forward folds is the first part, then finish the repair by working your butt. Yes, this means SQUEEZE IT. In all forward folding poses, lift your navel towards your spine, squeeze your butt muscles strongly (especially gluteus maximus), and pull your buttocks down towards your heels as you stretch your spine.
- Remember, if you feel the stretch up at your sitbones, you’re re-tearing the injured place, again and again. Back out and work salabasana variations, and less depth in your forward folds, until you have complete repair.