Let’s get one thing straight from the very beginning: I have a big booty.
I have the kind of beautiful, round, bubble butt that just barely squeezes into jeans only to create the must-wear-a-belt gaping hole around the waistband. My bubble butt and I have traveled together for almost 30 years and we’re well-acquainted with the all of the joys (feeling like a sexy, curvaceous goddess) and miseries (um… do you have jeans that fit a 28-inch waist and 38-inch hips?) that come from carrying lots of junk in the trunk.
My generously distributed posterior never looks better than it does in a pair of black, form-fitting yoga pants; which, as a yoga teacher and regular practitioner, I spend a lot of time in.
I’m calling out to all of my big booty yoginis—have you ever watched that teeny, tiny gymnast sitting next to you in yoga class float right up into a handstand and think to yourself: that must be easy when you aren’t carrying 75 percent of your body-weight around your hips?
Yeah, me too.
Instead of sitting out during the next difficult pose, my bum-blessed sisters, try a few of these effective pose modifications designed to get that booty off the ground and up into the air.
1. Bakasana (Crane Pose):
Bakasana is a pose that I have always struggled with. I could never seem to find the right way to get my feet off the floor. Convinced that I wasn’t making progress with the pose because of my fear of falling forward, I stuffed stacks of pillows in front of my face to ensure I wouldn’t face-plant. Yet still, my feet would not rise.
I realized that fear wasn’t keeping my feet planted on the earth, my big booty was; I wasn’t focusing on lifting my bum up in the air, so I could shift the weight forward to balance myself.
If you find that your bottom-heavy body is keep you from flying, try stepping both feet onto a yoga block or stack of thick books. The extra height from the block will help you lift your bottom up enough so you can lift your feet off the mat.
2. Sirsasana (Headstand):
Similar to Bakasana, the main problem I would run into when practicing Headstand is manifesting enough core power to lift my butt in the air. In order to bring a sense of lightness to my headstand, I needed to strengthen my core, glutes and thigh muscles. Plyometric down-dog jumps are not only a great way to learn agility and lightness for jump backs, they’re also an awesome way to practice getting your bum in the air—which will ultimately help you float into Headstand with ease.
To practice down-dog jumps, position yourself in Downward-facing Dog, aligning your wrists shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart. Bend both knees deeply and lift your bum toward the sky. Engage your core muscles by drawing your belly button toward your spine and lift up through your pelvic floor muscles to engage mula bandha (root lock). Imagine that someone—a very strong someone—has wrapped their hands around your hips and is lifting your hips upwards toward the ceiling. With this focus on lifting the hips, jump your feet up into the air, straightening the legs. As soon as your feet touch the ground, bend your knees and bounce back up into the air. Try to squeeze at least 10 down-dog jumps into every yoga practice.
3. Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand):
Shoulderstand eludes some women because it’s bloody difficult to balance all that booty—notice a running theme yet?—and still protect your cervical spine.
To ease yourself into Shoulderstand, try modifying the pose by practicing it against a wall in supported Half-Shoulderstand. This pose modification allows you to sensitize your body to the muscles needed to balance your lower body in the pose, without adding extra strain to your upper body.
To perform the pose, position your shoulders and upper back on a folded yoga blanket, with the back of your head touching the floor. Walk your feet up the wall until your knees are bent to 90 degrees. On an exhale, press your feet into the wall as you lift your butt of the floor. Place your hands on your lower back for support.
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Ed: Brianna Bemel
Assist: Sara Crolick
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