The mindful HIIT workout

The Workout:

“Give yourself positive cues such as “I can do this” to push past what you think is possible,” says Gervais. For a less intense, more mindful practice, follow the breath cues between each exercise. For a more intense routine, skip them. Run through the following sequence once as a movement prep for another workout or for a physical reset. Do it twice to work up a sweat.

Awkward airplane

Targets: Core, glutes, and balance and prepares brain and body for exercise

Start on all fours. Lift and stretch your left arm forward and your right leg back, keeping a neutral spine. Hold for one breath. Then reach your right leg to the right keeping it in the same line as your hip. Simultaneously reach your left arm to the left, keeping it in the same line as your shoulder. Hold for one breath, then reverse the movement to return to start. Repeat on the other side. Do both sides two times.

Breathe in child’s pose for 30 to 60 seconds.

Lateral weight shift 

Targets: Shoulders, legs, core, and neuroplasticity (encouraging new brain and fascia connections)

Stand with your legs wider than hip-width apart. While shifting your body weight as far as you can side to side, reach your hands to your feet, or to the wall, or ceiling. Reach your arms in as many different directions and in as many different speeds as you can for 2 to 3 minutes. There’s no rhyme or reason to the changes, it should be random.

Breathe while standing tall, closing eyes with hands on chest, for 30 to 60 seconds.

Reverse lunge to squat

Targets: Legs, glutes, and willpower

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, with toes either pointing straight forward or slightly turned out. Bend your knees into a deep squat. Press through your heels to stand, and then immediately step back into a reverse lunge first on one side, then the other. Continue alternating for 90 seconds. See if you can slow down the movement, avoiding the tendency to bounce. Stay aware of your footprint on the ground, and the balance it takes to step backward slowly. 

Breathe while standing with eyes closed, both hands on diaphragm, for 30 to 60 seconds.

The runaround

Targets: Agility and concentration

Fold your mat into a square. Starting anywhere, run clockwise around the mat once, returning to the spot where you started. Then run the opposite direction twice, returning to where you started. Count upwards with each lap, counting as high as possible in 90 seconds. If you lose count, start over.

Breathe while standing with eyes closed and hands on low belly for 30 to 60 seconds.

Spiderman crawl

Targets: Core and shoulders

Get into a push-up position. Bend your elbows to lower halfway to the ground, simultaneously drawing one knee in toward your tricep as you lower.  As you press back up, return both legs to push-up position. Repeat on the other side. Continue alternating, slow and controlled, for 90 seconds.

Breath with eyes closed while sitting on knees and heels (or easy cross legged position) for 30-60 seconds.

X jump

Targets: Agility and concentration

Fold your mat into a square. Stand at one corner and then leap diagonally across the mat to reach one hand to opposite corner.  Immediately hop across the mat sideways, then immediately diagonally to the opposite corner. Continue for 90 seconds, making “X” patterns on the mat as you go.   

Breathe in a low squat with eyes closed, hands crossing the body to grab opposite shoulders, for 30 to 60 seconds.

Warrior three

Targets: Back muscles, balance, and stamina

Stand tall and plant your weight into one foot. Extend the opposite leg back, reaching the arms forward and leaning forward until your body makes a “T” shape. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other leg, moving slowly and controlled, and breathing fully.

Breathe while standing with eyes closed, hands at diaphragm, for 30 to 60 seconds.

Victory pose

Targets: The parasympathetic nervous system and recovery

Stand tall with your arms outstretched into a V shape. Take 3 deep breaths, feeling victorious.

Finish by laying on your back and focus on breathing deeply into your stomach for 3 to 5 minutes (or more).