The first time my backside ever got noticeably bigger was during my 7th week of pregnancy with my son. If you've seen me, then you know I'm lean. It was like my body was all, "Oh no! We are not going to be pregnant and have such a tiny ass and thighs." It was the difficulty with getting my pants over my hips that let me know I was on my way to gaining 10 pounds that first trimester. I immediately needed new pants. And new underwear.
The second time this happened was after I had completed my Nutritious Movement certification. My movement practice had ramped up and, suddenly, my underwear was tight. That tiny bum I had been sporting all my life suddenly had definition and tone and had grown in size. So I dug out my maternity underwear.
The third time this happened was just this week. Half of my underwear is no longer comfortable. The band around the legs is too tight. At first, I couldn't figure out what was going on, but then it hit me! Aha! I've been working my glutes a bit extra these last two weeks!
In my household, it was always like, "Oh well, we just didn't get the genes for that." But now I see it was more about not having the movement for that. Sure, I don't have the potential to have something big and round on my rear. But I do have the potential to have something modest and round, something other than flat. For my health, it's essential that I exercise that potential.
In the videos below are the exercises I've been playing with so you can give them a go, too.
But first, a few thoughts...
Having an Ass Matters
Strong glutes are REALLY essential for pelvic floor health as they stabilize the sacrum, making sure the muscles there can stay appropriately toned. Strong glutes also ensure you're not taxing the spine or stressing out the knees or creating an over-dependence on the psoas or quads or the obliques. They make it possible to stand without tucking your pelvis under.
Your Shape Literally Changes
In our culture, shape has a lot to do with weight, not actual muscle mass, and we measure the changing shape by measuring our weight or the decrease in fat. But when you are bringing new and more movement into your physical experience, you are literally growing your parts. Parts that aren't working well, parts where you're not so strong...that can change, they can adapt and they can literally change shape. I wonder if it would be helpful to think about growing your body (in addition to or as a substitute for other words like strengthening or gaining flexibility)? How would it feel to be adding to what you've already got as opposed to fixing or correcting or losing?
It's About More Than Your Physical Shape
For some time I've been deeply aware of the ways that movement work spreads throughout other aspects of life. How the experience of being present to your body and the encounter with a changing physical shape changes what's going on in your inner life, in your relationships, in what you are willing to ask for and receive and make of your life. As I've spent the last year taking others on that journey through HeartBody Method and Restore Your Wild, it's become even more apparent to me. For those who are open to it, building an ass becomes about building a life. If you've been around awhile, you've probably read some of my thoughts about that as my movement work is a big part of what has enabled me to see and honor my desire to sell my house and move across the country (in five weeks, baby!).
Our Wild Nature is Too Big for Our Britches
In the lateral hip love video below, I share an exercise that always seems to wake me up, to bring me into deeper connection, to make more of what I want in my life more possible, to make me bigger. I want to help you expand, too, if you're game, understanding that you may feel super cozy in your life and not want to push beyond your current reality. The truth is, getting too big for our britches isn't just about our underwear even though it might start with getting larger glutes. It's about the fact that sometimes we outgrow all sorts of areas of our lives, be it relationships or self-shaming tendencies or habits of exercise. So next week, I'll be inviting you on a journey of this sort of exploration. I've created a free, mini-course about awakening to your own wild and we're going to look at the movements the body needs in order for us to come home to them and also at how our relationship with those movements and with our bodies and various aspects of our lives reflects our own inner call toward our wild nature. So look out for that next week!
For now, two videos for you.
The first is one I've shared before to work the lateral hips (glutes!).
The second is from a colleague of mine. I think you'll love it! In her video, Susan tells you to notice when your back is trying to do the work. I just want to add one parameter that you'll hear me talk about in the first video: check in with your hip flexors when doing Susan's video, too, especially for the side-lying exercises. Are they doing the work? Can the work be done without them activating?
And here's Susan's video... Remember to check in with those hip flexors! Oh, and if you want to test your glute strength before and after, check out this video. What you find may surprise you!
Let me know what you experience! If you have any questions about the exercises above or want to share about your experience, I'd love for you to pop into the private Facebook group and ask away! I'd also love to see photos or videos of YOU doing the exercise on Instagram. Feel free to tag me!
And look out next week for an invitation to awaken more of your own wild!