High-intensity interval training (HIIT) can help you to build muscle, burn fat, improve your metabolism and even promote heart health. But did you know this kind of training can be incorporated into your yoga routine? If you do yoga regularly as your workout, you may not be familiar with dong this kind of cardiovascular activity. That’s where the sequence below comes in!
This HIIT yoga sequence only takes about 20 minutes. Do each move for 1 minute, then transition to the next. Remember to breathe and feel free to walk in place for 1 minute between each pose as you build up your endurance.
Come to stand at the front of your mat with your feet either together or hip-distance apart and your arms at your sides. Root down evenly through your feet and lift up through the crown of your head as you take a few mindful breaths through your nose or mouth.
Fists-of-Fire Flying Chair
Step your feet hip-distance apart. With your feet evenly grounded and toes spreading (not gripping the mat), bend your knees. Reach your arms up to find Utkatasana (Chair Pose) and inhale. On an exhale, straighten your legs and lift your heels off the mat as you bring your fists, facing upward, to your hips. Repeat for 30 seconds, then begin to jump off the mat entirely on your exhales, making sure to land with your hips back, which will take pressure off your knee joints. Repeat for 1 minute.
Twists-of-Fire Chair Pose
Come into Chair Pose again. Inhale here, and on your exhale, bring your palms together at your chest and touch your right elbow to the outside of your left knee. (Keep both hips back to protect your knees.) Inhale to return to Chair Pose, or come to stand with your arms reaching up. On your next exhale, twist to the opposite direction (left elbow to right knee). Continue this movement, alternating sides as you pass back through center, for 1 minute.
Temple Prayer Pose
Face the long edge of your mat and walk your feet much wider than your hips. Bend your knees, and turn your feet out until your toes face the same direction as your kneecaps. As you inhale, reach your arms overhead for Temple Pose. As you exhale, step your left foot to meet your right foot in Chair Pose with palms together at your chest. Inhale and step wide to return to Temple Pose; exhale and step your right foot to meet your left back in Chair Pose facing the other direction, again with your palms together at your chest. Repeat for 1 minute.
From Temple Pose, turn your feet forward, so they’re parallel to the short edges of your mat. Bend your knees and move your spine and arms to the left and right in a flowing, organic movement of your choice. Be sure to draw your low belly and lumbar spine in a little so you don’t “hang” in the lower- back curve.
Fists-of-Fire Flying Lunge
Come into High Lunge with your left foot forward, right foot back; your feet should be about hip-width apart. As you inhale, straighten your legs and reach your arms overhead. As you exhale, bend your front knee and sweep your hands down to form upturned fists at your hips. Inhale to return to High Lunge. Repeat for 1 minute; then, if needed, rest before switching sides, with your right foot forward. Repeat for 1 more minute.
Run the Dog
Come into Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose), making sure your fingertips and palms are planted strongly and evenly on your mat. On your exhale, lift the heel of your right foot, bend your left knee, and move it toward your left elbow; on your inhale, return to Down Dog. On your next exhale, come onto the ball of your left foot, bring your right knee toward your right elbow, then return to Down Dog on the inhale. Repeat for 30 seconds. If possible, for the final 30 seconds, pick up the pace until you begin to “run” this pose, bringing your knees to your elbows on each exhale. (If “running” is too much, drop to your hands and knees.)
Come into Plank Pose, with your hands shoulder-width apart and fingers strongly grounded into the mat. Focus on lifting your front belly, ribs, and lumbar spine for support. Stay here for a couple of breaths, then, keeping your feet separated (not stacked), begin to sway your heels from side to side, keeping your hips lifted and your body in one long line. Repeat for 1 minute. (If this is too challenging to maintain without losing form, drop to your knees and instead sway your hips from side to side.)
Seated Shoulder Stretch
Come to sit on your shins and walk your fingertips back until you feel a shoulder stretch. Gently draw your front low belly in and up for lumbar support. Take a few long, deep breaths to fill your chest. Stay here, breathing deeply, for 1 minute.
Bring your knees mat-distance apart and touch your big toes together. As you exhale, lay your torso down between your thighs and place your hands on the mat alongside your body. Stay here for 1 minute or longer, breathing deeply as you take a well-earned rest.