This yoga-inspired workout builds full-body strength – and it only takes four minutes

Strengthen your body and calm your mind with this short routine

A woman performing the child's pose as part of a yoga session
(Image credit: Getty)

HIIT sessions have a time and a place, but the thought of an onslaught of burpees after copious amounts of Christmas food is enough to set our stomachs churning. 

Luckily, bouncing around your living room isn't the only way to get a great workout. This yoga-inspired sequence provides a low-impact alternative designed to calm your mind and strengthen your body simultaneously. 

It doesn't require any equipment either, thought it's preferable to have some extra padding from one of the best yoga mats (opens in new tab) if your floor isn't carpeted. 

This workout has been designed by yoga and wellbeing teacher Esther Marie (opens in new tab), who describes it as "a moving meditation".

"It’s a sequence that merges upper-body, lower-body and core strengthening moves," she explains. "The bodyweight postures that we use in yoga have been remixed to create this strengthening circuit with added mobility that will support, center and calm [your] body and mind."

The session consists of just four movements; knee drive lunges, child's pose to push-ups, single-leg bent lotus lifts and single-leg cycling. Each exercise is performed eight times, and if it's a unilateral movement (engaging one side of your body at a time) then it's completed eight times on each side. 

This circuit should take you around four minutes finish, and Marie says you can repeat it two or three times if you want a longer workout. 

Watch her video below to learn how to perform each movement, then practice each exercise to perfect your form before giving the workout a go for yourself. 

Watch Esther Marie Yoga's full-body workout

People often use HIIT workouts for fat loss (opens in new tab) as they spike your heart rate by squeezing intense bursts of exercise and minimal rest times into time-efficient sessions. However, there are benefits to slowing down every once in a while. 

A study published in the npj Science of Learning journal (opens in new tab) found that university students who took part in a short bout of low-intensity exercise before class displayed improved mood, increased vigor and decreased fatigue. 

Meanwhile, a 2019 systematic review from the British Medical Journal (opens in new tab) concluded that "higher levels of physical activity — regardless of intensity level — and lesser amounts of sedentary time are associated with lower risk for premature mortality".

Or, in other words, any form of exercise is better than none at all, and a low-intensity, low-impact workout like this one can be a great way to get moving during the holiday season. 

Other alternative exercise ideas that could help you stay active during this festive period include our Pilates for beginners plan (opens in new tab) and these anti-aging yoga moves (opens in new tab).

Harry Bullmore is a fitness writer covering everything from reviews to features for LiveScience, T3, TechRadar, Fit&Well and more. So, whether you’re looking for a new fitness tracker or wondering how to shave seconds off your 5K PB, chances are he’s written something to help you improve your training.


When not writing, he’s most likely to be found experimenting with a wide variety of training methods in his home gym or trying to exhaust his ever-energetic puppy.


Prior to joining Future, Harry wrote health and fitness product reviews for publications including Men’s Health, Women’s Health and Runner’s World. Before this, he spent three years as a news reporter with work in more than 70 national and regional newspapers.