Definition - What does Tabata Yoga mean?
Tabata yoga is a style of yoga that combines asana practice with a form of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) known as Tabata. Tabata takes its name from Dr. Izumi Tabata, a Japanese researcher who found an effective formula for HIIT, in which the practitioner exercises for 20 seconds and then rests for 10 seconds in a 4-minute cycle. This is believed to boost overall fitness in the shortest amount of time.
Tabata yoga combines this timed approach with yoga asana, taking the advantages of both practices and blending them into a quick and effective exercise program.
The practice helps to:
- Improve physical strength and cardiovascular fitness.
- Aid in healthy weight loss.
- Reduce stress levels.
- Improve concentration.
Due to its focus on anatomy and alignment, Tabata yoga is safer for joints than many other HIIT programs, and may be more appropriate for those who have experienced injuries.
Yogapedia explains Tabata Yoga
In his research with the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, Dr. Izumi Tabata found that short term but high-intensity training can have a greater positive effect on the body than a long-lasting program with moderate-intensity level exercises.
As such, the Tabata approach involves 4-minute cycles with 8 rounds of exercise, broken up by 10-second rest periods.
In Tabata yoga, these same short cycles are applied to yoga asana. The practitioner will hold or repeat high-intensity postures or movements for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds in a passive restorative pose.
The high-intensity segment may include poses such as plank, side plank variations, lunges, squats and yoga-inspired push ups.
Generally, the same posture or movement is repeated for each of the 8 rounds, and may then be changed in the next 4-minute cycle. In this way, the practitioner can feel the physical benefits of a longer yoga practice in a much shorter space of time. Because of this, Tabata yoga is popular with those who are unable to make time for traditional 60- or 90-minute yoga classes.
In addition to providing a time-efficient workout, Tabata yoga can help to:
- Develop lean, strong muscles.
- Improve cardiovascular fitness.
- Enhance mindfulness.
- Encourage better posture.
- Provide greater anatomical understanding.
- Contribute to healthy and long-lasting weight loss.
- Reduce impact on joints when compared to typical Tabata workouts.
- Build core strength.
- Boost metabolism.
Despite the dynamic movement it involves, Tabata yoga is thought to be a good way for beginners to start a fitness journey. There are many low-impact options, in addition to those which focus on developing a specific area of the body such as the abs, arms or legs.
Tabata yoga requires no equipment and is a relatively low-risk form of exercise, making it suitable for a wide variety of practitioners.
In order to practice safely, it is important to warm up the joints and muscles with rotations and stretching prior to starting a Tabata yoga session.
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