Never heard of Rocket Yoga? a.k.a. The Rocket? Neither had we, but now we’re totally hooked!
by Alicia Anka
We assure you Rocket has nothing to do with a trip to space; however, it was designed in San Francisco in the 1980’s for the US rock band, the Grateful Dead, which is a trip in itself! Sounds intriguing, right? Read on…
Larry Schultz, the Dead’s yoga instructor, created The Rocket Routines for people in the west, like the Dead, who wanted to practice yoga for its mind/body benefits, but did not have the body type nor the time to master a more traditional practice such as Ashtanga, which was developed for young, bendy Indian boys and decrees that you cannot move on in the practice until you master each posture, no matter how long that takes! Word has it that it got coined ‘The Rocket’ because the Dead’s guitarist, Bob Weir, claimed, “it gets you there faster!” By there, we think he meant fitness nirvana!
Why? Well, this dynamic, fast-moving yoga practice allows you to improve in a flash, since it’s encouraged to modify poses or ‘do your own thing’ if need be. Consequently, Rocket is more accessible to those of you who might have shied away from traditional Ashtanga because all those binds and contortions made you cringe!
Marcus Veda, leading UK-based Rocket teacher who embraces it’s rebel spirit, says, “You may be taking a moment in child’s pose while the person on the mat next to you is flying up into a handstand, but as long as you’re both breathing that victorious breath, you’re both still on the rocket.”
A typical Rocket Yoga class still has similarities to an Ashtanga class; there is a ‘sun salutation’ warm up followed by a high-octane practice of 66 standing, balancing, seated and inverted postures and a much needed wind-down series. Also like Ashtanga, Rocket Yoga is divided into a series of three levels: Rocket I borrowing from Ashtanga’s Primary series, Rocket II based on the intermediate series and Rocket III, playfully called the Happy Hour class, which is a “balls to the wall” class of 90 poses in 90 minutes!
Veda uniquely sums this practice up by saying, “The Rocket is for the traditionalist yogi who likes to break a few rules. It’s high-heels in church. Yoga for those who want to feel the physical ‘hit’ on the way to eternal bliss without having to snap limbs off to get it.”
And if that’s not enough to get you going, the current trend on the London Rocket scene is to incorporate a thoughtfully mastered playlist into the class - we love the concept of yoga accompanied by an awesome track listen to this one
Are you interested? If you are in the US, have a look at www.rocketvinyasayoga.com and in the UK, a good start is to check out www.marcusvedayoga.com, or look for a Rocket Yoga class at a studio near you.