Have you ever done a lot of lower body stretching and then it hurts to sit for periods of time? There's a name for that: yoga butt! It's a silly name for a real injury and it can be really painful. It can be damaging in the long run if you don't let it heal correctly, so let's learn about it.
What is Yoga Butt?
The official name for "Yoga Butt" is hamstring tendinopathy. It's an irritation or inflammation of the hamstring tendons where they attach to the ischial tuberosity (your sitting bone).
Why Exactly does Yoga Butt Happen?
Tendons have a limited amount of elasticity. That tendon elasticity can change over time with yoga classes, mobility training, and stretching. It's not uncommon to overstretch a certain area of the body - like your hamstrings - with a flexibility-focused practice.
If you're not warmed up properly, or you're pushing stretches too far, or maintaining a deep stretch for too long, you can irritate the hamstring tendon resulting in infamlation and pain.
Why Sitting hurts with Yoga Butt
Your over-stretched hamstring tendons can become inflamed and cause pain. This is especially noticeable when sitting because the hamstring muscle is resting in extension (a gentle stretch) which can add to the inflammation of the already overstretched hamstring tendons.
Yoga Poses that can cause Yoga Butt
Splits and Oversplits
Side lunge (skandasana)
Yogi Squat (malasana)
General overuse in a practice when not properly warmed up
Long holds when not properly warmed up
Repetitive movements without correct muscle activation
4 Ways to Heal your Yoga Butt
Yoga Butt can persist if you continue to stretch deeply and not rehab your hamstring. Here are 4 ways to heal your yoga butt.
Take it easy on hamstring stretching for at least 3 days or until it feels better and more stable.
Focus on strengthening your muscles. If you want to be flexible, you have to be strong! 💪 Rest up for a few days then incorporate low-weight, high-rep exercises. You an try my 10 Min Glute HIIT here.
Don't Ice it! While icing an area used to be very common, professionals are now moving away from icing sore areas in order to maintain increased blood flow to heal the area faster. Yoga Body has a great excerpt on this. If the pain is bearable, try to stay away from anti-inflammatory medicine for the same reason.
Go on walks to increase blood flow to your hips. Walks are gentle, low impact, and sending more blood flow can help with healing. Here are a few short and spicy HIIT classes that will help you get strong and counter that Yoga Butt! Here are also a few UPPER Body Stretches to give your Yoga Butt a break!