Trying to find the perfect workout that combines the calming nature of yoga with the fast and effective nature of HIIT? Well, look no further! Tabata yoga workouts are the best of both worlds, and today we’re going to be exploring what it is and how to do it!
What Is Tabata Yoga?
There’s one thing for certain – Tabata yoga is NOT slow flow yoga. In fact, it couldn’t be more different! While slow flow yoga (like the name suggests) spends more time and breaths on each pose, Tabata is a much faster paced form of yoga where it feels more like a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout or a cardio session.
They named this style of yoga after Dr. Izumi Tabata as he was the Japanese physician who, along with the National Institute of Fitness and Sports, found that shorter bursts of high intensity training is better for the body than simple moderate-intensity workouts. Tabata has specifically timed intervals, which I’ll cover later on.
So, just with slow flow yoga, Tabata yoga brings its own unique set of benefits to the table.
Tabata Yoga Benefits
Whether you do it before or after cardio or a standalone workout or mindfulness practice, there are many benefits to all forms of yoga. Some benefits of yoga include better heart health, better well-being, reduces stress, and improves strength, flexibility, and balance, and more.
Because tabata is a high-intensity form of yoga, you will get the benefits mentioned above along with even greater improvements in heart health, weight loss, fitness and an enormous boost in your metabolism.
How Long Does Tabata Yoga Take?
By design, Tabata yoga workouts are supposed to be short bursts of energy, not lasting very long altogether. Traditionally, these workouts are only four minute sessions. Each session comprises 8 rounds of high-intensity for 20 seconds with a 10 second rest between each round.
While Dr. Tabata designed them to be four minutes long, many people will extend them. I would say most Tabata yoga classes or workouts that you will find will be between the 10-20 minute mark. This workout is much too high in intensity for it to go any longer than that!
Is Tabata Yoga HIIT?
Theoretically, Tabata is one form of HIIT. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) comes in many shapes, sizes, and techniques. But any kind of workout that focuses on short bursts of energy with brief rest in between would likely fall into this category. The goal with any form of HIIT is to get in and get out while accomplishing a great deal and being left feeling exhausted!
Is Tabata Yoga Safe?
While Tabata yoga may fall into the HIIT category, it is actually one of the safest forms of HIIT for your joints and your body.
However, to be as safe as you can be, make sure that you do a proper warm up beforehand! Because it includes a great deal of quick movements, you need to make sure you prepare your body before diving in.
And of course, before any of this, always make sure you consult your doctor if you have any previous injuries or conditions that may affect your ability to workout. While Tabata yoga is safe, it may not be right for everyone, so it’s always better to double check!
One of the great things about Tabata yoga is that it has it all! It’s fast-paced, which gets your heart pumping and feeling like a cardio session, but it’s also great for building strength and muscles with all the different poses and exercises.
This workout can be a full body experience, targeting a great variety of your muscles. Because is it tied with yoga, you will use your core a great deal. Other than that, you can expect to work your glutes, hamstrings, biceps, triceps, and anything else that is in between!
Tabata Yoga Workout
Now that we’ve got a much better understanding of what Tabata yoga is, I’ll be sharing a 15 minute Tabata workout with you! For this workout, we’re going to start with a solid 3 minute warm up. After that, you will experience three Tabatas. Each will be four minutes and will bring your total workout time to 15 minutes.
Warm up: 3 minutes
Because this Tabata will be yoga, start by warming up with the traditional sun salutations. Starting in a standing position, inhale as you bring your hands overhead. As you exhale, swan dive down to a forward fold. Inhale into a halfway lift, exhale back down to a fold, and then step back to a plank position. From there, you will chaturanga all the way to downward facing dog, step to the front of the mat, and repeat the sequence again.
Spend the 3 minute warm up repeating this sequence slowly, tying it to your breathing. Allow your body to prepare for the Tabatas ahead while also focusing on your movements.
Once your warm up is complete, you’re ready to Rock N Roll! Don’t forget that with each Tabata, you complete 8 total rounds of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. With this workout, you will have 2 exercises per Tabata, so you will complete each exercise 4 times.
Tabata 1: 4 minutes
Chair Pose Burpees – Start in chair pose with your arms reaching to the sky. Place your arms on the ground and complete a burpee, landing back in chair pose to repeat until time is up.
Plank Jacks – Combining a plank with jumping jacks, you will stay in plank position, jumping your feet from together to apart (landing on the outside of the mat). If that is too much movement for you, you can always step your feet together and then apart. The key is to keep your feet moving while holding a plank position.
Tabata 2: 4 minutes
In and Outs – As an abdominal focused movement, you will start sitting. Lean back as you lift your legs off the ground. Your body should make a “V”. As you straighten your legs out, you will lean back a little more. Then, bend your knees and pull your body back together in the original “V” shape.
Crescent Hops – Start out in a crescent lunge with your right leg in front. Gently hop up and down while remaining in your lunge. Complete the entire 20 seconds on your right leg and then alternate to your left leg in front for the next 20.
Tabata 3: 4 minutes
Crescent Lunge Switches – Similar to the crescent hops, you will start this exercise in a crescent lunge. What makes this exercise different is that when you hop, you will switch legs as you are in the air, landing in a crescent lunge with the opposite leg in front. Continue to repeat!
Yoga Squat Reach – Start standing with your feet more than shoulder width apart. Complete a deep yoga squat with your hands together at your heart. As you exhale up, reach your hands in the air, creating an “X” with your body.