On Wednesday, I told you the story of growing up with “turned in legs”. I discovered many years later that the pain and weakness in my hips and knees I’d experienced as a child was mostly due to a very weak, very sleepy gluteus medius. It wasn’t until I found Yoga Tune Up®, that I began to find relief and fully understand the important role this muscle plays is in all aspects of running, walking, sitting, standing and my beloved yoga.

To begin to awaken my very droopy glute med, I started with Prasarita Lunges, emphasizing “pushing” from side to side, using abductors to initiate the movement and warming up the outer and inner hips. Check out the video here:

For targeted gluteus medius strengthening I practiced Abductor Lifts Dynamic. Beginning in Ardha Uttanasa, (putting hands on blocks to keep my spine straight) feet together, slowly lift one leg to the side, paying close attention not to lean into the standing leg, maintaining neutral pelvis, and exploring your end range of motion in abduction of the lifted leg

One of my favorite Yoga Tune Up® exercises is Moon Rises Minivini, which helps to build stability and flexibility throughout the entire hip girdle. See the video below for the how-to. Don’t get confused by the fancy leg! Only the standing leg and hip are actually working. Be acutely aware of each leg, maintaining Tadasana in the extended leg and acutely focusing and feeling internal and external rotation of the femur bone in the socket.

These YTU® exercises have created better balance in my body, less pain and much more mobility. Combined with Yoga Tune Up® Therapy balls, I have discovered a way to reduce and nearly abolish the day-to-day hip and knee pain I lived with for years. Yoga Tune Up is about learning to better propriocept and appreciate the body you have instead of trying to fit into someone else’s idea of what you should be. I am proud to report that I am back to jogging up to 12 miles a week, with minimal discomfort and I have a new relationship to standing poses and my “turned in legs”.


Enjoyed this article? Read Hip Space Available Immediately: A Step on the Path to a Balanced Pelvis.

Erin Hoien

As a long time athlete and personal trainer, Erin dabbled in yoga off and on (mostly off) for many years before becoming a consistent practitioner in 2004. After finding relief both physically and emotionally, Erin wanted to share yoga with others. In 2013, Erin completed her RYT 200 and immediately began teaching. Her curiosity fell more to the anatomical side of yoga, which led her to Yoga Tune Up®. The discovery of Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls changed her life and left her practically free from painful past injuries. With enthusiasm, Erin became a Certified Yoga Tune Up® Teacher in 2015. She mixes her love of rolling out and yoga asana in every class helping her students find relief from their physical discomfort, spaciousness in their bodies and openness in their minds.

Leave a Reply

76 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
75 Comment authors
Alyson Wish

Amazing news that you are able to jog again!!! Dedication to hitting the mat and doing the exercises to re-awaken the sleepy areas. Very inspiring. And the reminder to focus acutely on standing leg and hip to create the illusion that the extended leg is “doing all the work”. Hello, Gluteus Medius.

Denise Brown

I really love how the Moon Rises Minivini is Dynamic and the focus is on the standing leg initiating the rotation. Often I am so focused on using more of the leg that is extended and this has changed my perspective completely. I feel this will be useful with my dance students as well.

Jonathan Christenson

The “Moon Rises” exercises were a game changer and one of my favorites from the YTU Teacher Training course. It was so eye opening to some blind spots I personally have. I could feel my adductors and glutes really light up and activate more than I imagined I would have.

The prasarita lunges are also a great way to wake up and activate the whole hip girdle. Definitely will be using these not only in my own practice but with my fighters and hockey players especially.

Thanks for sharing Erin.

Kara Stafford

This goes along with a discussion we were just having in out YTU training. I realized I don’t (and many people don’t) use the full end range of the internal rotation and how vital it is to address both ends of the rotation on the hip. Those moon poses are so hard, but so good! Thank you.


I found these to be very challenging for me at the beginning of teacher training, but as I’ve practiced them more and more I love what they do to decrease the pain in my hips by awakening that sleepy glute medius!

Lisa Bourque

I learned these movements in the training and I absolutely love how they feel and what they do for my hips and my sleepy glute med! I have incorporated many of these movements into my classes and my own practice.

Ellen S.

I love the Moonrise Vini’s. The first time I did it, I thought it was so easy, but then I realized I was relying on the strength of my arms to assist the alternating abduction and adduction of the standing leg. When I tried to isolate the effort in my standing leg, which also added load to the work, it felt like I could finally differentiate the various muscles in the hips and their function. I feel like this is such an amazing embodied anatomy exercise to learn about muscles of the hips. Thank you Jill! This one is a… Read more »


I just learned this exercise in class yesterday. Seems each day at least one pose will be completely beyond my grasp. Perhaps it was the noise in the room, or the extra 20 lbs I have been carrying since the fall, or my general exhaustion. I look forward to trying again today.

Amanda Kreuzer

This is one of my favorite warms ups!


Love these 3 exercises you chose for targeting the gluteus medius! They’re great and my 3 go to ones. Thanks for sharing.

cg ovalle

Thank you for sharing these great exercises, looking forward to trying and putting them in my tool bag.

Shelby Williams

I noticed when I bring the attention to the action of the flexed or standing leg I can really feel the glutes engage and relax as I move through the moon rise minivini. Just trying to forget about that fancy leg!

Shelby Williams

After trying the dynamic abductor lifts I was very aware of how stiff and weak my outer hips (or abductors) really are. I noticed how much easier this pose seemed after practicing the prasarita lunges.


Thanks for the article. I am adding all of these to my practice. The Abductor Leg lifts are really hard for me and I think they are exactly what I need.


I just learned these exercises yesterday in class! Absolutely love them and can definitely feel the muscles working!

Donna Layton

Very helpful! Having this issue!


I am now adding these 2 poses into my morning routine to awaken my gluteus medius – and help my hip stability. Thank you for sharing!

Carole Giuliani

These are all great exercises to target and strengthen adducters and abducters.
Thank you for sharing!

Catherine RL

Thank you for this blog. I look forward to using this for myself and my clients.


So often we first think of stretching (or, now, rolling) to alleviate pain. But as you note, it’s not always due to tightness in a muscle. Sometimes it’s due to weakness. This is especially confusing in our hip/thigh region, where stretching and rolling feels sooooo good that we just want to keep doing it. Thanks for this sequence of poses that address pain by strengthening the muscles we use so often, in yoga and in life.


Working on my gluteus medius have made a huge impact on my pelvic stability. My SI-joint issue has also cleared with that type of work. Maybe my pelvis is ready for the moon rises minivin now.


Thank you Erin, I will start doing the abductor lifts to wake up my gluteus medium. One on them is definitely asleep.


These are some of my faves and really important movements for hip stability.

Jamie Walsh

You nailed to of my favourite minivini’s! 🙂 Prasarita lunges and moon rises!


Thank you for this informative blog. I am always looking for ways to activate a sleepy” glute medius ” for my private clients.

isabelle deschenes

Wow! A few months ago, I also realize that my leak glutes was a part of my back pain. I already did some strenght work that help a lot, but I will surly try those ones that I didn’t know. Thanks!