High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, is a form of interval training/cardiovascular training that alternates between short bursts of intense exercise and even shorter rest and recovery periods. HIIT has been growing in popularity in the fitness world because it provides an efficient workout in a shorter period. Committing to a HIIT workout a few times a week is great for cardiovascular health increasing endurance and stamina, and has also been known to help with weight loss*.
The concept of HIIT is even being fused into yoga classes recently and the result is a dynamic practice resulting in more energy all the while speeding up your metabolism.
The following is a sequence utilising yoga postures and the premise of HIIT to give you a practice that is going to increase your endurance and stamina. Please warm-up with a few minutes of Surya Namaskar C (2 to 3 rounds will suffice).
The aim of this sequence is to work at high intensity followed by a short period of rest. For your rest posture, you can take child’s pose or remain in downward facing dog.
Limbed downward dog to plank
Limbed downward dog to one leg plank pose, and then 30 mountain climbers / Rest in Downward dog – Note: Keep the sides of the neck long with the gaze between hands or slightly forward, and maintain an engaged core. Rest.
Step into one leg tadasana
Limbed downward dog to high crescent lunge, and then step forward to one leg tadasana with lifted leg bent and squeezing into chest with hands coming together in prayer. As you step back to high crescent lunge, reach arms over the head. Repeat 20 times, ending in high crescent lunge, and moving through a vinyasa before rest.
Jump into malasana
From downward dog step or jump forward to malasana and then take 10 jump squats. From malasana leap up reaching the hands in the air, landing lightly back in malasana with hands in prayer. Complete this sequence with bakasana into vinyasa, then rest or straight to rest pose.
From high plank, place right elbow down where the right hand is, place the left elbow down where the left hand is, into forearm plank pose, then back up one hand at a time. Repeat 5 times, end in rest posture.
From downward dog step the right foot forward underneath the belly button, and lift the left leg up to a handstand prep. And kick up and switch the legs a total of 10 times, end with a vinyasa. If the handstand hop switches or too challenging you can hop switch the legs from a lizard lunge (with foot outside of the hand). If it’s too difficult to keep hands flat, this can be done on the fingertips.
From downward dog, take a minimum of 5 pike hops up to 10 maximum, land in downward dog for your rest pose. If you aren’t comfortable hopping from the middle of your mat, you can do so using the wall. Have the hands shoulders-width apart, and as the hands root firmly into the floor take a light hop bringing the shoulders and pelvis to stack the wrists while the knees pull into the chest, and the heels squeeze to the buttocks.
Following this last HIIT exercise, take a rest in child’s pose for 5 to 7 full breaths, tuning into the rapid beating of your heart, and watching it slow with the long exhalation. Cool down with a sleeping pigeon pose on both sides, and a supine twist. You could round it out with happy baby pose or a simple apanasana.
Have fun with this HIIT yoga sequence, practice it daily, and notice your stamina and endurance increase over time!
*Studies have shown that high-intensity cardio raises your metabolic rate to the point where you continue to burn calories even after the session ends. The key is, of course high intensity, working yourself to near-maximum where you’re left breathless.
Photo Credit: Bruce Chung