From HIIT Yoga
Ever notice how fatigued (ahem, noodle-y) your thighs feel once you hold Utkatasana for 5, or more, breaths? That’s because the isometric movements of yoga sap energy from the large quadriceps muscles. On the other hand, switching a traditional static pose into something more dynamic, like a hop, forces your body to harness power from the surrounding muscles (hamstrings, glutes, abs) and leave the quads with more energy, says Alexis Novak, an HIIT Yoga instructor in Los Angeles. Think of HIIT Yoga as yoga running on Energizer batteries—you’ll keep going, and going, and going…
From Buti Yoga (aka yoga + tribal dance)
Buti Yoga may very well be one of the most fun yoga hybrids out there. By fusing power yoga, tribal dance, and plyometric moves you get the physical benefits of asanas, particularly the stabilizing abdominal muscles, with a twist. Incorporating dynamic movement into Wild Thing (Camatkarasana) works the hamstrings and glutes as well as your quads and core when you press back up, says Buti Yoga founder Bizzie Gold.
Jedi Crawls (aka Active Tabletop)
Grab a partner to fine-tune your alignment. When poses share points of physical contact, you’ll be instantly alerted if one of the partners is a little “off.” This biofeedback not only highlights when positioning is awry, but the cross-body tension ignites the body’s stabilizing muscles to emphasize asymmetrical strengthening, says Britta Rael, an AcroYoga teacher in San Diego. The result: simple poses become more challenging, and you also cultivate your trust muscles, which are vital to developing communication and sensitivity with others.
High Lunge to Goddess Flow
From Ginga Flow (aka Yoga + Capoeira)
Transforming a lunge with a Capoeira-inspired movement gives your practice a sense of rhythm. This Brazilian martial art incorporates dance, acrobatics and tuning into music. Incorporating the Ginga position into your practice intensifies the benefits of a high lunge, such as hip and groin opening, says June Li Lo, creator of Ginga Flow and yoga instructor in New York City. Flowing from high lunge to a goddess-like squat and back to high lunge will strengthen your legs and core, specifically minimizing lower back injuries. By adding the shifting arm movement, you’re also boosting your practice with cardio. What’s more, since Ginga is a stance used in fighting, it amps up your focus and awareness.
Get into the Ginga position with a High Lunge—right foot firmly planted in front, knee in line with ankle, and thigh parallel to the ground. Keep the left leg extended back with back heel lifted and knee slightly bent. The right arm is relaxed by your side, the left arm is lifted with the forearm just above chin level to protect the face. Step the left (back) foot to the side into a low Goddess squat position, keeping both feet firmly planted and parallel to each other. Maintain the same arm position. Move the right foot to the back, going back to the lunge position. Your left foot should be planted in the front. At the same time, put the left arm along your body and lift the right forearm to chin level. Repeat the sequence several times for a cardio boost.