It's called gluteus medius. Usually advanced yoginis have a beautiful well-trained strong gluteus medius. Some call it backside, buttocks or even ass. I'll use the term gluteus medius for this huge muscle during this post. That's what it is, a huge muscle and it can be very helpful to engage it when practicing yoga.
How does it come that I know such vocabulary?
During Christmas time was a Mysore class break. It was time to study yoga books. I wanted to know more about anatomy and my bf gave me a book present for Christmas: Ray Long - Yoga Anatomie 3D. It's a book with a lot of pictures. On every page one or more skeletons can be seen with muscles or muscle parts. These illustrations are so helpful to understand what has to be done when exercising asanas.
I saw in the above mentioned book (page 73) that it is important to engage the gluteus medius when exercising urdhva dhanurasana. Usually it is said "push the hips forward". But how to do it. It can be done when squeezing gluteus medius as hard as possible. This muscle is strong and loves to work.
When Mysore classes started again M gave me an adjustment in urdhva dhanurasana. He realized that my ud improved and I had only practiced alone. I got better by applying my knowledge about my muscles. Knowledge can help to improve an asana.
My studies re anatomy will surely go on.
Last week I found an email in my inbox by a Ray Long. Quickly I wrote back. Are you THE Ray Long, who wrote these fantastic yoga anatomy books, I asked him. And he was it.
He send me another book: Anatomy for vinyasa flow and standing poses. I'm sure I need the entire collection.
Also this vinyasa flow and standing poses book is fantastic. It will improve my yoga practice. Why? To see how the muscles work is enlightening, He also shows how the muscles rotate. The descriptions are very profound, but easy to understand.
For series yoga students, Ray Long's book can be of great help. A link to his website is on the right side of this blog or here.
Enjoy his books: On every page are color illustrations. Ray Long's books take your knowledge about your body to a higher level. It also helps you to avoid injuries when you practice yoga. His books are full of tips, it's pure joy to hold them in hands.
To have books by Ray Long in your book shelf is a must for a serious yogini or yogi.
Go to his side and have a look.