The Best Way To Avoid 'Yoga Butt'

Yoga is often associated with deep breathing and relaxation rather than lasting pain. Of course, we feel the discomfort when holding a one-legged tree pose, but it's worth it by the end of our session when we clasp our hands together and murmur "namaste." But if you feel pain in your butt that continues after your session, then you may be suffering from "yoga butt." Ariele Foster, a physical therapist and yoga teacher based in Washington, D.C. tells Women's Health what symptoms yoga butt is associated with. "This is most likely a burning, discomfort, cramping, or pinching high up in the hamstrings, close to the pelvis," Foster explains.

Of course, "yoga butt" is more of a casual nickname than true medical term. Jenni Tarma, a Yoga Medicine therapeutic specialist, explains to Healthline the real root of the pain. "Yoga butt, technically called proximal hamstring tendinopathy, is an irritation or inflammation of the hamstring tendons at their attachment site on the ischial tuberosity (the sitting bone)," Tarma says.

Yoga butt occurs from the stress of certain movements

Hamstring tendinopathy, or yoga butt, is most often caused by holding certain poses such as: the Deep Forward Fold, Compass Pose, Splits, and more advanced poses where the foot is placed behind the head, Healthline shares. "In this sense, hamstring tendinopathy is not just an overuse injury, but also an underloading issue: The tissues haven't been subjected to enough challenge and have therefore lost their ability to tolerate the stress of certain movements or joint positions, resulting in pain and irritation (aka poor function)," Tarma says. To prevent this, Tarma recommends building strength in tendons through isometric holds.

This type of yoga injury is also common from not being properly warmed up. So make sure to listen to your body's limits to reduce the chance of injury. If it's too late and you are already dealing with a yoga butt injury, then it would be helpful to see your physician so they can assess the damage, Foster explains to Women's Health. She goes on further saying the best thing you can do to recover is rest. And if you just can't wait to get back to your yoga mat, then try restorative yoga, which is known to be less intense.

As it turns out, yoga butt is really "a pain in the butt." So remember to make sure you are properly warmed up before attempting to advance your yoga skills, and take it easy if your body needs to heal.