"Kata is central to good Karate training. Karate kata have existed for hundreds of years and have their origins within the Chinese fighting systems.
There is no direct translation of the term Kata into English. The best we can come up with is form or pattern. Kata is a predefined sequence of movements performed in a special order to maximize your practice time.
Kata teach you about body movement, weight distribution, angles, turning, awareness and how to deal with a variety of situations. Kata are composed of martial-type movements that help you learn certain skills.
Karate kata comes from a time where few people knew how to read or write. Information was passed down from the previous generation in the form of song, dance, ritual, poetry and stories. The human mind works with imagery and feeling, not lists of facts and figures. Using enjoyable playful learning tools like these are the most natural and efficient way to learn and remember things."
- Stephen Irwin, What is the Purpose of Kata Training
All of the mind-body arts use a "predefined sequence of movements performed in a special order." Yoga uses carefully defined postures (Aanas) and sequences of postures (e.g., Sun Salutations). Each style of Tai Chi Chuan has a specific sequence of postures and movements (Forms), unique to its style, that can sometimes take up to 25 minutes to perform.