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Yoga for High-Intensity Interval Training Recovery

by Orian Tal

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Whether you’re looking to cut weight, build muscle, or improve your cardiovascular fitness, HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is an effective way to reach your goal. This type of training is known for pushing you to constantly become stronger and healthier than you were before, testing you physically and mentally as it takes you to your personal limit and beyond.

While this means you’ll definitely get a good workout, as the name suggests, high-intensity interval training demands a lot from your body, with plyometric HIIT workouts that can last up to 30 minutes. That’s why it’s so important that you recover properly, taking the time to de-stress your muscles and restore a healthy range of motion to all your joints and musculoskeletal groups.

Yoga is a great recovery mechanism for this purpose, thanks largely to the way it eases the strain on your body, as well as the way it relaxes your mind. So if you train regularly using HIIT, here are several yoga methods that, along with being a great workout, can help you reach maximum health and wellness in your fitness routine.


Ashtanga Yoga



Photo by milopeng

Commonly known as Power Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga is a mixture of traditional yoga poses which are performed at a faster pace. The movements in Ashtanga are “designed to purify the body,” according to the Yoga Journal, providing additional benefits such as a stronger midsection and improved muscle tone.

In fact, the actual translation for Ashtanga Yoga is said to be eight-limbed yoga, with each limb representing some type of cleansing process, whether internal or external. Cleansing of one’s self can help athletes performing HIIT better focus on their workout sessions, a direct result of the enhanced mind control provided by yoga. It also improves balance, which is essential for safely performing a number of HIIT exercises.


Iyengar Yoga



Photo by Maksim Djačkov

While not as popular as other forms of yoga, Iyengar Yoga may be the most therapeutic. It is named after its creator, B.K.S. Iyengar, and involves the use of props (like blocks and belts) to help practitioners maintain correct asanas, or postures. It also provides participants “a deeper penetration into the posture, as well as a longer stay” according to the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States (IYNAU).

This combination of Iyengar’s deeper and longer movements assists in injury prevention and recovery, mainly by improving overall flexibility and joint mobilization. It can also teach HIIT athletes to work at a slower pace, thereby providing the necessary physical stability for more effective training sessions.


Kripalu Yoga




Another rejuvenating form of yoga is Kripalu Yoga. Discovery Yoga describes Kripalu as “a tool for self-empowerment and personal growth” because it essentially teaches you to listen to your body and what it needs. By performing it regularly, you become more in tune with the movements that give you energy, making you feel more alive. You will also learn which ones tend to take that energy away, enabling you to choose the ones that benefit you most.

Apply this same knowledge and this same principle to your HIIT sessions and you’ll also find it easier to identify the exercises that provide the most positive results. You’ll also likely experience fewer injuries because you’ll realize up front which movements don’t feel natural to you, or feel as if they could potentially cause you harm.


Viniyoga Yoga




MindBodyGreen explains that vini stands for “differentiation, adaptation, and appropriate application” – three values that are important in yoga and HIIT, making Viniyoga Yoga worth a try. What makes this type of yoga different than the rest is that it has less of a focus on using movements to increase strength and flexibility. Instead, it focuses on preparing the muscles for the stretches, a practice called proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, or PNF.

By ensuring that your muscles are in prime shape for the upcoming movements, you’re able to decrease your risk of injury, a risk that the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) reports having risen by four percent over a 10-year time frame, with more sprains and strains occurring than ever before. In short, practicing Viniyoga Yoga can help better prepare your body for your upcoming HIIT workout sessions, lessening the chance that you’ll be sidelined by an injury created as a result of the increased muscle load.


While many different forms of yoga can help you effectively recover from your HIIT training, these are just a few to consider. There’s no denying that yoga and HIIT go hand in hand, making them both great additions to any workout regimen.


Looking to recover after intensive training? Go to BookYogaRetreats.com and choose a yoga therapy retreat that will recharge your body and mind. Orian is the CEO and Editor of Snatcher, a leading functional fitness magazine based in Israel.

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