For a decidedly complete approach to exercise, the fusion between hard-hitting HIIT and serene yoga might be exactly what you need.
Based on millennia of tradition, yoga is as much a physical activity as it is a mental workout. Through the physical form of yoga, practitioners learn flexibility and mobility along with balance and peace of mind. If we look strictly at its physical component, the movements within yoga develops our slow twitch muscle fibers—which is mainly related to endurance and muscle tone. For muscle definition and strength-building, you need a form of exercise that targets your fast twitch muscle fibers. And in this category, HIIT or High-Intensity Interval Training still reigns as one of the most effective options.
While it’s definitely possible to enjoy both of these forms of exercise, what if we told you that you could get the benefits of both in a single routine? This would certainly benefit those pressed for time, right? Well, in that case, meet HIIT Yoga aka Yoga HIIT Fusion aka Yoga-HIIT Hybrid aka Yoga Shred and so forth. There are even coaches offering Yoga Tabata classes.
The basic concept of HIIT Yoga is quite straightforward: Cardio exercise movements are done at speed from yoga positions. And like many other fusion exercises, it counteracts the limitations, shortcomings or risks of each type. For instance, HIIT Yoga offers a more “complete” workout compared to traditional yoga, but at the same time generates less strain on the joints compared to your typical HIIT routine, making it a much more attractive option for those who are pressed for time or prone to injuries.
Actually, there are quite a few advantages to HIIT Yoga and below, we’ll take a closer look at some of the major ones:
Burn Fat Faster
To be fair, HIIT is a good way to shed kilos. That being said, adding yoga to the mix can definitely help. As we’ve touched on earlier, yoga practice helps build muscular endurance; these endurance stressors, in turn, can then complement the effects of high-intensity, workouts resulting in accelerated body metabolism.
Improve Blood Flow
This one comes mainly from the yoga side of HIIT Yoga. In short, the relaxation exercises in yoga can boost your heart rate and optimize oxygen processing. At the same time, some of the basic poses encourage faster blood flow and ensure that freshly oxygenated blood is pumped to your muscles.
“THE BASIC CONCEPT OF HIIT YOGA IS QUITE STRAIGHTFORWARD: CARDIO EXERCISE MOVEMENTS ARE DONE AT SPEED FROM YOGA POSITIONS. AND LIKE MANY OTHER FUSION EXERCISES, IT COUNTERACTS THE LIMITATIONS, SHORTCOMINGS OR RISKS OF EACH TYPE”
As mentioned earlier, HIIT Yoga is much more high-impact compared to yoga while causing less strain compared to HIIT. On a more technical note, the way yoga improves muscle tone and flexibility helps you avoid sprains and bruising while performing fast, high-impact movements taken from HIIT routines.
Achieving and maintaining the positions taught in yoga requires a calm and relaxed disposition with your mind and body focused on the task at hand. More importantly, you will learn how to improve and maintain proper focus while performing the physical part of yoga. Extending this mindset to the high-impact training brought in by the HIIT component results in more efficient and effective workouts, not to mention safer workouts, too, as you become more aware on how the actual impact and strain of the movements affect your body.
Sounds interesting? Then go ahead and find a class that fits your needs and schedule. While a lot of exercise regimens allow a more DIY approach, for HIIT Yoga you definitely want to train with a qualified instructor. Since posture and correct form is a fundamental form of yoga—and therefore HIIT Yoga and all its variations—practitioners will need constant input and correction from a coach who knows what they’re doing. Besides, any form of exercise is much more fun with like-minded people, don’t you think?
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