HIIYoga Hits a High Note

Featured Article, Fitness, Workout Plans
on November 4, 2013

A yoga workout that’s over in only 20 minutes? A strength-building, sweat-inducing workout that also incorporates calming yoga moves? Can there be such a thing? Yogi Chaz Rough, founder of the immensely popular YOGAmazing series on iTunes, will enthusiastically tell you yes. His new hybrid workout, High Intensity Interval Yoga—HIIYoga—is designed to appeal to “ADD types” like himself.

“You lose an hour to an hour and half in a yoga class,” says Chaz, a certified yoga instructor. “I’ve been doing yoga 20 years now. I love the practice but I’m always looking at how I can push the envelope with my yoga. And when I look at how busy my life is – I have two kids – I thought, ‘how can I do something [quick] and feel like I’ve gotten a workout?’”

When Chaz discovered that brief, intense workouts known as high-intensity interval training (HITT) offered the same cardio and strength-building benefits as a much longer workout – in just a few minutes – he was hooked. But he wasn’t ready to give up yoga.

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“And aha!” he says. “The light bulb went off and I said ‘why don’t I combine high intensity interval training with yoga?””

The result: a 20-25 minute workout that alternates 30 second “surges” of intense activity with 90 seconds of  “flow” yoga.

“This is a Vinyasa flow incorporating bursts to get your heart pounding,” Chaz explains.  “My point is that you’re not going to have to do a full hour to reap the benefits yoga can bring you. The theory that you have to work out for a long time is just not true.”

The surges themselves incorporate more traditional yoga poses. For example, a move he calls a Sun Burst adds a burpee to a Sun Salutation. Walk the Dog takes the Down Dog and adds back and forth stepping.  These moves sound deceptively simple, but when performed at 100% of your capacity, you’ll quickly work up a sweat. “I’m building on yoga poses to get a cardio benefit,” Chaz says. “It’s making you rethink the way you’re used to doing yoga.”  He admits not all yoga fans will like his approach.

“Serious, hard-core yoga people may not be happy with it and that’s ok,” he says. “If you go to a yoga class to do an hour of gentle stretching … this may not be for you.  It’s a matter of how hard do you want to work. It’s going to be intense. I’m still amazed at how intense it is. Every time I do it I am challenged.”

So who’s HIIYoga for? “It’s for anyone up for a challenge …who likes to build strength, and wants to also do yoga,” Chaz says. It’s also for yoga-doubters who were never drawn to traditional yoga. The variety and challenging moves will appeal to fitness buffs who haven’t considered yoga hard-core enough or thought it was boring. And because it clocks in at 25 minutes or less, HIIYoga is for time-crunched people who need to make the most of limited workout time.

The HIIYoga approach will include three workouts, one focusing on upper body strength, one on core, and one on toning. All three will offer the ability to center yourself, according to Chaz. “You’re going to be able to get your push in but you’ll have a chance to calm down.”

The workouts are available for download at hiiyoga.com for $19.95.