Rocket yoga is a type of yoga created by Larry Schultz in 1980. It is based on traditional Ashtanga practice, and it combines postures from Primary and Intermediate series, with some advanced postures from the third and fourth series of Ashtanga.
This type of Yoga is similar to Ashtanga Vinyasa since it is dynamic and it goes through the poses with speed. There are 142 poses in a regular Rocket class. It is divided similar to an Ashtanga class – it starts with a few rounds of Sun salutations, continues with standing poses and then proceeds to the sitting poses. The class ends with the traditional closing sequence.
Although these classes are advanced, they are suitable for all students, beginners and teachers alike, because students are encouraged to experiment with variations of the poses, the way they can reach them. It is their advantage over Ashtanga practice; they are also reachable to people whose disabilities wouldn’t otherwise let them practice Ashtanga.
The movement of the poses is dynamic, flowing and uninterrupted. It combines exercises which strengthen the core, so it supports all the bends that are done after. This way it makes you more flexible and strong at the same time, faster than in any other practice, but still with no bigger risk of injury.
There are six routines in the Rocket practice:
- The first sequence is Sun salutation, and it is done before every practice. The students are encouraged to do this at least every day, and it should be followed by meditation.
- The Rocket 1 series focuses on leg stability, balance and forward folds. They have a creative way of combining the postures and, unlike Ashtanga, they first do all exercises on one side and then later follow on the other. It is mostly a standing sequence with only a few seated poses.
- The Rocket 2 series will strengthen your back and your arms. It is a practice mostly taken from Ashtanga secondary series with some additional poses. These additional poses are mostly focused on opening the hips but there are also some inversion poses included.
- The Rocket 3 series combines the first and second series, and although it is a faster-paced class, it is a bit easier and more natural for the body since it combines benefits of the two sets. This class is typically done once weekly, most often on Friday.
- The fourth sequence is Bottle rocket, which is a practice that can be done in under an hour, therefore allows you to have the benefits of Rocket even when you don’t have enough time.
- Rocket practitioners like to dedicate one day of their week to traditional Ashtanga practice, and it is mostly the Primary series.
Rocket Yoga was named this way by Bob Weir, because, in his words, “It gets you there faster.” Although the idea of the rocket is to advance faster, still listen to your body, and remember that progress comes with time and a lot of repetition.