You just walk in, you have fun, you breathe. You do what you can, you walk out, you pay attention to how you feel; because the practise will always make you feel better when you leave than when you arrived, and thats what you come for. You come to feel better, happier, more at peace…more alive…that’s The Rocket.
– Larry Schultz, Creator of Rocket Yoga
If I had to describe Rocket yoga, also known as The Rocket, in one word it would without a doubt be: FUN. If you’ve ever been to a Rocket class, you’ll know what I mean. There’s always a feeling of light-heartedness, always such a playful energy; and that’s exactly what Larry was inspired by when he created the Rocket sequences.
Although they’re based on the often overly serious physical Ashtanga sequences, they were designed to instil in the practitioner a sense of almost child-like joy. They were designed to make you fly!
Who is Larry Schultz?
Larry was known as the “bad man of Ashtanga”. Having practised Ashtanga traditionally both in India and the USA for 7 years, he was frustrated with the hierarchical nature of the practice which states that until you’re able to complete one series of sequences without fail, you’re not allowed to move on to the next.
He came back to the states in 1989 and began teaching a modified version of Ashtanga yoga which he called Ashtanga Vinyasa. Essentially, it was a combination of all three traditional Ashtanga series where he incorporated the more advanced, and consequently more ‘fun’ poses like inversions, arm balances and deep back bends (forearm balance, handstand and king pigeon anyone?!), alongside the traditional standing sequence with a twist, going entirely against the ‘rules’ of Mysore and Ashtanga.
His classes were hugely popular, people loved having the opportunity to practise a more advanced style in a relaxed and welcoming environment, so much so that people would travel across the country to practise with him. In the mid 90’s he was even invited to go on tour with The Grateful Dead as their private yoga teacher! It was whilst on tour that his style was named The Rocket, because, as Bob Weir said – “it gets you there faster”.
Is Rocket Yoga for me?
Just so that we’re clear, The Rocket is not for the faint-hearted. It’s a sweaty, fast-paced, dynamic style of asana that may sometimes have you crying into your mat… but it’s exciting, it’s playful and it’s inclusive. Everyone can try and more importantly everyone is ENCOURAGED to try. Bring your mate, bring your mum, bring your mate’s mum and their dog. Let’s all come together and have fun, breath and do something that maybe you thought you couldn’t.
So I return to the opening quote of this blog, which perfectly summarises what The Rocket is about. It’s about having fun, it’s about leaving your inhibitions at the door, it’s about coming onto your mat with a light heart (and sometimes leaving with a light head!).
‘There is freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky, and you ask “what if I fall?” Oh but my darling, what if you fly?’
– Eric Hanson
I hope this has sparked your curiosity to give Rocket Yoga a try, and I’d love to see you in my weekly Rocket Yoga class on Yogaia every Monday at 6:30pm GMT.
Maxine Barratt | Yogaia Teacher
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