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Rocket Yoga

By Gil Perez

What is Rocket Yoga? People ask me as soon as they hear this name.  To keep it simple, I respond, “It’s just yoga!” as Larry Schultz (the creator of this style) used to say.  If you are expecting a more, let’s say, specific answer, I can tell you that this style is rooted in the traditional Ashtanga Yoga but adds a progressive way to it, a non-traditional kind of method, western-style system, breaking the hierarchy.  Quite long right? I tell you, “It’s just yoga,” because sometimes people don’t know what Ashtanga Yoga is in the first place, and that’s perfectly fine.  If I mentioned, however, that Rocket Yoga is one of the original power yoga practices of the 1990s, some of them will have a clue.  For others, the only thing that comes to mind is a rocket ship, and this is my favorite one.  Bob Weir from the Grateful Dead came up with the name The Rocket, and Larry Schultz asked “Why we’re gonna call it The Rocket?” Bob said, “Because it gets you there faster.”  You may start asking what the connection is with Bob Weir from the Grateful Dead. Simple, because Larry Shultz was the yoga teacher for The Grateful Dead for about three years in the 90’s tour.  Sounds surreal right, but it’s a fact.  It was during that tour that Larry developed the Rocket Yoga sequences.  Using postures from the primary, intermediate, and advanced series from Ashtanga Yoga and sequencing them around the body’s joints to create an uplifting effect, that purifies, strengthens, develops flexibility and stamina and a feel-good energy, so you can feel happier and more alive.  It also encourages the students to discover their inner power and limitations while connecting with this invisible force of prana.  Class by class, Rocket Yoga allows the practitioners to develop their abilities and creativity towards a self-transformative, healing process.

Rocket Yoga has three sequences.  Rocket 1 focuses on strengthening the legs, shoulders and abdominals, while Rocket 2 focuses on back bending, arm balances, inversion and more core. Rocket 3 aka “The Happy Hour” is a fusion of Rocket 1 and 2.  It’s a fast paced, high-energy class that incorporates a full experience of the method.  And if you are thinking that you need to do all the postures, don’t worry, you don’t have to. This is an all-inclusive practice during which you do what you can and use a lot of modifications, including for the intermediate or advanced poses. The philosophy of Larry Shultz is that you show up to the mat and use what you’ve got, go with the flow, breathe, and have fun.  Build the practice from the ground up.