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Rocket Yoga – The First Power Yoga

Posted by on Sep 7, 2016 in Ashtanga Yoga

Rocket Yoga

Amber Gean in Larry’s signature move: EKA PADA KOUNDINYASANA

Rocket Yoga is a part of what Larry Schultz, the founder of It’s Yoga, called a system or a holistic approach to the traditional Ashtanga Yoga. The system is based on a 6 days a week practice schedule that targets different parts of the body and challenges the practitioner differently through out the week. Rocket Yoga was one of the first styles of Power Yoga.

Power Yoga a Vinyasa Style Yoga

The general term Power Yoga describes a vinyasa style yoga, inspired by fitness and Pilates moves that has its origin in the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. The original Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is said to have its roots in the Yoga Korunta and was taught to Krihnamasharya by his Guru in the beginning of the last century.

Power Yoga became popular in the mid 90s when several students of Sri K Pattabhi Jois started to teach Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga to westerners. They wanted to modify the practice to better suit the needs of this particular group of people. As westerners where not used to traditional spiritual practices from India the focus was on the asana practice while chanting and meditation was not practiced so much. It came to be the yoga you could typically find in health clubs and gym.

The Rocket Takes Off

One of Sri K Pattabi Jois’s students from the early 90s was Larry Schultz. After studying with Jois in Mysore for many years Larry opened the famous It’s Yoga at Folsom Street in San Francisco where the Rocker Yoga took off. During the years prior to opening his world famous studio Larry worked as a private yoga teacher for Grateful Dead and created the three different Rocket routines while on tour with the band.

Different Power Yoga Styles

There are certain elements that are common in a Power Yoga sequence although they vary a lot in style from one teacher to another. In fact the essence of Power Yoga is just that, that you are creating your own style of yoga. What could be common elements is the intensity and the flow between poses and that there is more focus on how to transition between poses than actually being in the pose. It is about how to get into and out of a pose using the bandhas, breath and dristhi to create an intense flow of energy leaving the practitioner calm yet filled with very much energy.

The Rocket 1, 2, 3 And Bottle Rocket

The four Rocket routines, Rocket 1, 2, 3 and The Bottle Rocket, mixes poses from the first three series of the traditional Ashtanga Yoga in a specific order for each routine. Each routine also challenges the practitioner differently. The Bottle Rocket, created by Amber Gean a direct student of Larry, prepares the practitioner, building strength and stamina. The Rocket 1 follows the first series of Ashtanga Yoga and works with the basic core strength. The practitioner will also be introduced to arm balancing poses and hip openers. The Rocket 2 blends asanas from the second and third series and it is the most challenging series with back bendings, arm balances and a faster pace. Rocket 3 puts 1 and 2 together in a “Happy Hour ” long routine to celebrate the end of the week.

There Is a Freedom In The Rocket

Larry’s Rocket Yoga, one of the firs styles of Power Yoga, has come to be very popular all over the world. There is a freedom and happiness in the practice as you are encouraged to be creative in the sequence. The intense flow of prana awakens your Spirit and you become more creative and focused out side of the yoga room. The flow of transitioning becomes an art in itself and it is almost as gravity ceases to exist. That’s why we love the Rocket.

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