Rocket Yoga, also known as “The Rocket,” is a dynamic and invigorating style of yoga that combines traditional Ashtanga yoga with elements of vinyasa flow. Rocket Yoga is divided into three different sequences based on the series of Ashtanga Vinyasa.
This unique style was created by Larry Schultz, a student of Pattabhi Jois, the founder of Ashtanga yoga.
|Table of Content|
|1.||Who is Larry Schultz?|
|2.||Origin of Rocket Yoga|
|4.||The Rocket Yoga Sequences|
|5.||Rocket Yoga Benefits|
|6.||Tips for Beginners|
|7.||Rocket Yoga Today|
Who is Larry Schultz?
Larry Schultz, also known as “the father of Rocket Yoga,” was a dedicated student of Pattabhi Jois, the founder of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. Schultz began his yoga practice in the 1970s and quickly fell in love with the Ashtanga method. He went on to become one of Jois’ most dedicated and accomplished students.
In the 1980s, Schultz began to experiment with the Ashtanga series, adding new poses and modifications to the practice. He also began to incorporate elements of vinyasa flow, a style of yoga that emphasizes movement & breath, but being more creative. The result was to become the Rocket Yoga style, a dynamic and invigorating yoga practice that quickly gained popularity among yoga students.
“Larry Schultz was considered as the “Bad Man of Ashtanga Yoga”. While practicing with Guruji, Larry liked to sneak in more advanced poses, such as handstands, for fun. Pattabi Jois would catch and call him affectionately: You Bad man – You Bad man!
Origin of Rocket Yoga
In the mid 1990s Larry Schultz traveled on tour with the Grateful Dead as the band’s personal yoga teacher. He spent a lot of time in hotels and had to find ways to entertain himself. Bored in his hotel room, practicing on his own, he came up with a highly creative, highly accessible version of Ashtanga Vinyasa, later named Rocket Yoga.
Why the name Rocket?
The name “Rocket” comes from Bob Wier, one of the guitar players from The Grateful Dead. After one of the classes, Bob said to Larry… ‘what is the name of this sequence? It’s great!”. Larry replied, he did not have a name for it, he just loved to teach it. Wier then said he should call it “The Rocket!” Larry asked why and Wier replied “because it gets you there faster!!” And it stuck instantly. Larry joked he never knew where “there” was… but he would get there faster anyway.
Rocket Yoga Key features
- Rocket Yoga Key Features Summary:
- Playful and fun
- Faster Tempo
- Accessible for all levels
- Focus on inversion and arms balance
- 3 sequences based on Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga
More playful with Faster Tempo
While the traditional method of Ashtanga Yoga foucs on long and slow ujjaji breath, Rocket Yoga is a bit more upbeat. While we keep the Ujjaji Pranayama breathing and 5 breaths per pose, the count is a bit faster. It makes the practice more fun while keeping the meditative aspect of the breath. Rocket Yoga become like a dance or a moving meditation.
Rocket Yoga Inversions
One of the key features of Rocket Yoga is its emphasis on inversions. This means that many of the poses in the practice involve being upside down, such as headstands, handstands, and shoulder stands. These inversions are believed to have a number of benefits for the body, including increased blood flow to the brain, improved circulation, and a boost to the immune system.
Rocket Yoga Arms Balances
Another unique aspect of Rocket Yoga is the use of “flying” poses. These are a series of arm balances and transitions that are designed to build strength, flexibility, and coordination in the upper body. These flying poses are a lot of fun and can be a great way to build confidence and self-esteem.
Accessible for all levels
Arm balances and inversions can be challenging, but they don’t have to be out of reach for those who have never practiced so. This is the beauty about Rocket Yoga. With proper guidance and modifications provided in Rocket, arm balances can be made accessible for everyone. With patience and consistency, anyone can develop the skills needed to practice safely and effectively.
One other important element of Rocket is music. Music is a powerful tool in a yoga practice to create a specific atmosphere. In Rocket we want to create a fun and dynamic vibe to help students stay energized and focused. Generally it is more upbeat, energetic than a regular yoga class and it can be a mix of different genres such as rock, hip-hop, electronic, and world music. The music is intended to keep the energy high and to help students maintain a steady pace throughout the practice.
The Rocket Yoga Sequences
The Rocket Yoga practice begins with a series of warm-up poses, such as sun salutations, to help prepare the body for the more intense poses that are to come.
The practice then moves on to a launching sequence linked to a series of standing poses, such as warrior poses and triangle poses. That helps to build strength and balance in the legs and core.
Rocket 1 Sequence
Rocket 1 is based on the Ashtanga Primary Series. A big focus is on forward folds, lengthening and strengthening the hamstrings.
|2.||Paschimottanassana A and B|
|4.||Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana|
|5.||Trianga Muknaipada Paschimottanasana|
|6.||Janu Sirsasana A and B|
|7.||Marichyasana A and C|
|9.||Upavista Konasana A an B|
|11.||Supta Padangustasana A and B|
|16.||Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana|
Rocket 2 Sequence
Rocket 2 is based on the Intermediate Series with a focus on spinal extensions to stimulate the nervous system.
|8.||Kapotasana A and B|
Rocket 3 Sequence
Rocket 3 is a combination of 1 and 2. Rocket 3 doesn’t imply it’s more advanced, it simply contains parts of Rocket 1 and 2 and as per the Rocket philosophy it should always remain accessible
The practice concludes with a series of inversions and relaxation poses, such as headstands, shoulder stands, yoga mudra, padmasana and savasana. This helps to release tension from the body and calm the mind.
Rocket Yoga Benefits
- Rocket Yoga Keys Benefits
- Build Upper Body strength
- Improve overall flexibility
- Improve cardiovascular health
- Boost lung capacity
- Better mental clarity and focus
- Reduce Stress
- Release body tension
- Increase in energy and vitality
With Rocket being a fast-paced and dynamic practice, it offers a variety of benefits for the body and mind. It helps to build upper body strength and improve overall flexibility and cardiovascular health. The practice requires focus, which improves mental clarity and concentration. As there are several inversions and arm balances in the sequence, it enhances balance and coordination.
The combination of physical movement and focused breathing in Rocket Yoga can help to reduce stress and tension in the body, promoting relaxation and a sense of well-being. Expect an increase in energy levels and overall vitality.
Rocket Yoga places emphasis on the breath, which boosts your lung capacity and overall respiratory function.
Rocket Yoga is known for its fun, dynamic and challenging sequences and provides an exciting change of pace from traditional yoga styles, keeping the practice fresh and interesting.
6 Tips for Beginners
If you are new to Rocket Yoga, it is best to start with an “all levels” or “beginner-friendly” class and to work with a qualified teacher who can help you to modify the poses to suit your level of fitness and ability.
There’s a strong emphasis on the breath, focus on your breath, keep it steady and smooth as you move through the postures.
It can be fast-paced and dynamic, so it’s important to go at your own pace and not push yourself too hard. Listen to your body and only do what feels comfortable for you.
If a posture or movement feels too difficult, don’t be afraid to use modifications or props to make it more accessible. Your teacher will offer modifications and variations to help you progress at your own pace.
Remember that learning Rocket Yoga is a process, and it will take time and practice to develop the strength and flexibility needed to perform the more advanced postures. Be patient with yourself and enjoy the journey. With regular practice, you will soon notice an improvement in your flexibility, strength, and balance, as well as a sense of calm and focus in your mind.
Most importantly: Have fun!
Rocket Yoga FAQ
What is Rocket Yoga?
Rocket Yoga is a more accessible version of the Ashtanga Vinyasa system, created by Pattabhi Jois. Both of them consist of Sun Salutations, followed by a standing and seated sequence, and finishes with the traditional closing series. Rocket follows a certain structure, however the given sequence can be altered and modified according to the practitioner’s level. It’s a dynamic and fast-paced flow supported by music, with the intent of making the practice a lot of fun.
What is Rocket Yoga good for?
Rocket strengthens muscles and improves balance. Due to its fast-paced nature and usually more being more intense (yet still accessible for all levels) than Hatha or Vinyasa Yoga it can boost cardiovascular health too. Practicing Rocket yoga enhances concentration and reduces stress.
Where can I practice Rocket Yoga?
Rocket Yoga is becoming more and more popular all around the world. Many yoga studios offer classes as part of their regular schedule and often even workshops. Search for local studios that offer Rocket Yoga classes and enrol in one that fits your schedule and level of experience.
How do I become a Rocket Yoga Teacher?
Firstly, attend Rocket Yoga classes regularly to gain firsthand experience and to build a strong foundation in the practice. Familiarise yourself with the principles, postures, and sequences of Rocket Yoga. Then look for a reputable Rocket Yoga teacher training programs that is recognised by Yoga Alliance. All Yoga Training offers a comprehensive Rocket Yoga module within their Advanced 300 Yoga Teacher Training. You get to practice and learn teaching the three different sequences, learn the “mechanics of flight” complemented by Handstands & Mobility and Anatomy & Physiology.
Want to become a competent and confident Rocket Yoga teacher, capable of sharing the benefits of this practice with others? Click here for more information
Rocket Yoga is a dynamic and invigorating practice that can offer a wide range of benefits for both the body and mind. Its unique blend of traditional Ashtanga yoga and vinyasa flow, emphasis on inversions and flying poses make it stand out from other styles. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced yogi, Rocket Yoga is a practice that can be tailored to suit your level of fitness and ability.
Practicing Rocket Yoga can help you to increase flexibility, strength, and balance in the body, while also helping to improve focus and concentration. It’s also a great way to build self-confidence and self-esteem. And if you’re looking to shake up your yoga practice, try incorporating some inversions and flying poses, you will see how much fun it is and how it can benefit you.
But it’s not just about the physical benefits of the practice, Rocket Yoga can also have a positive impact on your mental and emotional well-being. It can be a great tool for managing stress and anxiety, and it can also help you to find a sense of calm and inner peace.
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