Perhaps you’ve heard of Vinyasa, Iyengar, Kundalini, Ashtanga and Hatha yoga, and even restorative yoga, but have you ever heard and read about rocket yoga? Perhaps your answer is not; Probably not because it is a relatively new yoga practice, which has come into vogue around the last some years. Specifically designed to make yoga more accessible to Western yogis who find the latter challenging.
In this article, one needs to know about this new but much-loved form of yoga, what it is, a brief overview of its history, and health benefits.
What is Rocket Yoga?
Rocket yoga forms the foundation of the Ashtanga Vinyasa posture, although it is completely different. Rocket yoga aims to remove the difficult postures involved in classical Ashtanga practice.
Depending on the Ashtanga sequence, Rocket Yoga can be modified from traditional poses as per convenience. It gives you a simple and fun mix of primary, secondary, and intermediate Ashtanga Vinyasa series of exercises. However, the practice includes physical postures similar to that of Ashtanga yoga, such as Surya Namaskar, sitting postures, twists, and bends. Yet the approach is too fluid and fun for some people.
The Rocket Yoga sequence enables each practitioner, even a physically challenged practitioner, to learn how to modify poses to suit their body while going through more challenging asanas.
Similar to Ashtanga, this practice involves the physical postures of Ashtanga yoga following a combined rhythm of breath and movement, but its benefits still go beyond that.
Ultimately, you could argue that rocket yoga is unlike any other yoga practice in the world and has a less rigid, more liberated approach to yoga. In particular, its primary goal was to break the rigid structure of the traditional practice of the Ashtanga yoga sequence and make it more accessible to Westerners so that no one is left behind when practicing. This makes room for change and freedom in yoga practices.
Origin of Rocket Yoga
Rocket Yoga is the brainchild of Larry Schultz, which was developed in San Francisco in the 1980s. Let us tell you that Yoga has its roots in the general concepts of classical Ashtanga Vinyasa.
Schultz was an American and the founder of Ashtanga Yoga, K. Pattabhi was a long-time disciple of Joi’s.
Schultz meet K. Pattabhi Jois during a yoga workshop in 1982, and he practiced it the traditional way under Jois for seven years in Mysore, India.
Larry Schultz later returned to San Francisco in 1989 and began teaching Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga from his home. However, his approach to teaching was somewhat different as he believed that all students should have access to all poses, which was contrary to Joyce’s Mysore style.
In the Mysore style, the student was authorized to try a new pose only after he had mastered the last pose, this was disliked by Larry, who believed that all students regardless of their level of practice Try currency.
Schultz is known for creating The Rocket Series, which takes poses from the first, second, and third series of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and builds them around the joints of the body. Some consider the sequence ‘The Rocket’ to be the origin of Power Yoga.
In 1991, Schultz founded Its Yoga in San Francisco. To sum it up he created a promotional package called “90 Days for $90.” At that time yoga was practiced by small groups in homes: Schultz’s studio pioneered the concept of teaching yoga in health clubs.
Last, In the 1990s, Schultz was working as a personal yoga instructor for the band “The Grateful Dead“, where the founding member of the band, named Bob Weir dubbed it “Rocket Yoga”.
The Rocket Sequence Aka the Rocket Sequence
The Rocket Yoga sequence is divided into three series (Rocket 1, Rocket 2, and Rocket 3) and these three series total 142 poses. In this, you will sweat until you practice a little meditation and Shavasana, after various variations of Surya Namaskar.
Rocket I: In this, the primary series of Ashtanga has been prepared, in which it has been presented in a different form keeping the tradition of Asana. This primarily includes hip-openers and forward-bending poses as well as arm balance and inversions. However, modifications have been made in Navasana and Supta Konasana.
Rocket II: A modified second series of Ashtanga has been prepared. The second series of rockets include the backbend and spinal twist pose of the seated pose.
Rocket III aka “Happy Hour”: This dynamic and fast-paced series of 90-minute yoga exercises that includes Rocket I and Rocket II includes 90 poses to give you strength and energy.
Rocket yoga practice doesn’t just follow one approach. This really allows practitioners to experiment with Advanced Ashtanga.
Rocket Yoga Poses
As you’ll see from the poses below, arm balance and inversions are the core of rocket yoga. Even the headstand and forearm stand are integral parts of it.
Remember, some of the poses we’re going to introduce can be very difficult for beginners, so you can always try and master the poses by asking for a yoga block, yoga blanket, or yoga cushion and wall support or help from someone. Find a way to simplify.
- Astavakrasana (Eight Angle Pose)
- Bakasana (Crane Pose)
- Vrischikasana (Scorpion Pose)
- Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)
- Sirsasana (Headstand)
Read on to get a deeper understanding of the poses of the Rocket Yoga sequence.
Astavakrasana (Eight Angle Pose)
Ashtavakrasana is one of the best balance postures. The concentration that is needed to do the asanas of balance in detail. It also develops concentration and balance on the emotional, mental and spiritual levels.
While practicing this asana, the body is bent from eight places, that is why this asana is known as Ashtavakrasana.
How to do:
- To do Ashtavakrasana, first of all sit on the mat with the legs straight.
- Interlock both the feet with the toes.
- Now put your right hand in the middle of the feet and place the palm on the ground.
- Place the palm of the left hand firmly on the ground parallel to the shoulders.
- Now slowly try to raise the body and legs by emphasizing on the hands.
- In this state, take 2-3 long deep breaths and release it.
- After that you can come to your initial stage.
- This process can be repeated 3-5 times.
Bakasana (Crane Pose)
Bakasana, one of the balancing yoga asanas, is an intermediate pose. It is also known as Kakasana. While doing this, all the weight of the body is lifted and balanced with the help of hands. This asana strengthens the thighs, hands, and wrists apart from increasing the control of the body.
The practice of Bakasana lenders the body by increasing mental concentration along with physical balance. In China, the practice of this asana is popular among most people, who believe that its practice is a symbol of longevity.
How to do:
- First of all, sit on your feet.
- Place a yoga brick under your feet.
- Place the palms on the ground, whose body weight comes on the hands and feet.
- Join the arms of both the hands by clasping them with both the knees of the feet.
- Through the heels of your feet, bend your upper body forward.
- When you are in the pose, don’t let your elbows stick out on either side.
- Keep the head straight and look in front and try to balance on the hands.
- Keep your feet on the ground and come back to the original position.
Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)
Mayur means peacock. By doing the peacock pose, the shape of the body looks like a peacock, hence the name Mayurasana. This is an advanced hand-balancing posture in which the entire weight of the body rests on the hands and the body swings in the air.
How to do:
- Sit down with your knees on the ground.
- Place the palms of both the hands on the ground in such a way that all the fingers are in the direction of the feet and remain attached to each other.
- Bend both the elbows and place them on the soft part of the stomach, around the navel.
- Now bend forward and lengthen both the legs towards the back.
- Exhaling, raise both the legs above the ground and tilt the part of the head down.
- In this way, the whole body should be parallel to the ground, make such a situation.
- The whole body weight will remain on only two palms.
- Stay in this position for as you can and then come back to the Vajrasana.
Shirshasana is the king of all asanas and almost all parts of the body get its benefits. It increases memory power, concentration, enthusiasm, vigor, fearlessness, confidence, and patience.
In this asana, the weight of the whole body rests only on the head and a balanced posture is created, for which it is named Shirshasana or Headstand.
How to do:
- First of all use a yoga mat or mat.
- Then sit on the knees in the posture of Vajrasana and join the fingers of both the hands strictly i.e. interlock.
- Keeping the hands on the ground, bend forward and rest the elbows on the ground.
- After this, keep the head between the palms and come on the toes.
- After this, slowly raise both your legs up and stand up straight.
- You can also take support from a wall or a person to raise the legs.
- After rising up, make a balanced body and take deep breaths for 20 to 25 seconds and remain in this posture.
- Exhaling slowly, bring the legs down and sit in Sukhasana.
Scorpion Pose (Vrischikasana)
Vrischikasana is a combination of a backbend and forearm balance pose and balance, flexibility, and strength of hands are essential to perform this yoga pose or asana with ease. In this asana, the body has to be moved in the scorpion pose, and hence it is also called Vrischikasana or The Scorpion Pose.
How to do:
- Stand on the ground by laying a yoga mat.
- Keep your hands and knees on the ground.
- Place the hands on the ground till the elbows and hold the elbow of the left hand with the right hand and the elbow of the right hand with the left hand.
- Now keep in mind that the distance between your hands is equal to the distance between the shoulders.
- Now keeping the balance of the body, raise the hips upwards.
- After this, lift both the knees above the ground and come in a posture like headstand or Sirsasana.
- Keeping the toes facing out, move the feet towards the head.
- After staying in this position for about 20 to 30 seconds, comfortably move both your feet towards the ground and come back to the earlier position.
- If you are not used to headstand, then you can take the support of the wall to do this.
- Come to the normal position and keep the body in a relaxed position for some time.
Benefits of Rocket Yoga
- Enhances strength and flexibility
- Boosts cardiovascular Health
- Improves endurance performance
- Stimulates your nervous system
- Improves mental health
- Helps to lose weight
- Improves balance and stability
- Improves motor control
- Strengthens and vigor to the body and mind
- Increases your consciousness
- Promotes change and freedom in yoga practice
- Increases awareness
- Prevents diabetes
- Slows the process of aging
- Strengthens lungs, neck and head
- Provides wrist and shoulder strength
- Improves blood flow to the brain
- Therapeutic for conditions like asthma, sinuses, and insomnia
- Helps to detoxify the body
- Helps to cure constipation
- Tones the abdomen and inner thighs
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