Rocket Yoga – What Is It And What Are Its Benefits?

Learn how this modified version of Ashtanga poses can improve posture and health.

Reviewed by Sri Yogi Anand, E-RYT 500
By Shirin Mehdi

For all those who find Ashtanga Yoga too difficult, Rocket Yoga is a great alternative. And how does it accomplish this? Rocket Yoga was designed to make Ashtanga Yoga, which is a physically difficult form of yoga, more accessible. Rocket Yoga’s benefits are also numerous.

It loosens up the stiffness of the traditional Ashtanga practice, making it more accessible to you. It removes your blockages, allows for a seamless practice, and much more.

Here’s everything you need to know about Rocket Yoga. Scroll down and take a look!

What Is Rocket Yoga?

Rocket Yoga is a modification of the traditional Ashtanga Yoga and was put together by a person called Larry Schultz, who studied Ashtanga Yoga under the founder of Ashtanga Yoga, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois for nine years in Mysore.

Rocket Yoga is an attempt by Larry to make Ashtanga Yoga more accessible to western practitioners. It was in the 1980s in San Francisco that he developed Rocket Yoga. The name was given by Bob Weir of ‘The Grateful Dead’ band because he thought Rocket Yoga was quick and easy.

It is. Rocket Yoga is fast-paced and has a dynamic flow. Its structure is similar to that of Ashtanga Yoga, consisting of Surya Namaskar, standing poses, seated poses, twists, and bends.

In Rocket Yoga, students can modify and make their interpretation of the traditional asana. If they get stuck with a pose, they can either skip it or find easier ways to practice it instead of rigidly sticking to the pattern.

Therefore, Rocket Yoga has become widely accessible, enabling even those with physical problems to try it. It is a smooth process of breath and movement. It may look like a purely physical process, but it helps clear your mind as well.

What makes Rocket Yoga stand apart is that it breaks the concept of hierarchy. You can pick and choose the asanas and practice them without necessarily following a linear format.

No wonder it has many celebrity followers like Madonna, Willem Dafoe, Sting, and Christy
Turlington!

Rocket Yoga is divided into three categories. They are:

Rocket I

Rocket I is similar to the primary series of Ashtanga Yoga that focuses on hip openers, forward bends, and core strength. It also includes the Rocket special arm balances and inversions.

Rocket II

The Rocket II is a modification of the second series of Ashtanga Yoga. It consists of backbend techniques and spinal twists of seated poses of the Ashtanga intermediate series that complement Rocket I well.

Rocket III

Rocket III brings together the poses of Rocket I and Rocket II. It includes all the twists, folds, and balances to help you build strength and flexibility.

Now, let’s learn about a few exciting Rocket Yoga poses.

Rocket Yoga Poses

Arm balances and inversions form the core of Rocket Yoga. Even handstands, headstands, and forearm stands help you rocket ahead.

But if practicing these becomes difficult, you can always find a way to make it easier by taking the support of a wall, asking somebody to help, or learning tricks to overcome your fear.

Following are some asanas, practiced in Rocket Yoga:

  1. Astavakrasana (Eight Angle Pose)
  2. Bakasana (Crane Pose)
  3. Vrischikasana (Scorpion Pose)
  4. Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)
  5. Salamba Sirsasana ( Supported Headstand)

1. Astavakrasana (Eight Angle Pose)

Image: Shutterstock

About The Pose: Astavakrasana or the Eight Angle Pose is an asana named after a sage called Ashtavakra, who was born crooked in eight places due to a curse. It is an advanced level asana. Practice it in the morning on an empty stomach. Hold the pose for 60 seconds.

Benefits: Astavakrasana strengthens your wrists, arms, and shoulders. It tones your inner thighs and abdomen. It improves your sense of balance and eliminates toxins from the body.

2. Bakasana (Crane Pose)

Image: Shutterstock

About The Pose: Bakasana or the Crane Pose resembles the stance of a crane. It is an intermediate-level asana. Practice it in the morning or evening on an empty stomach and clean bowels. Hold the pose for 30 to 60 seconds.

Benefits: Bakasana increases your physical and mental strength. It enhances the flexibility of your body and improves your endurance capacity. It also stretches your upper back well.

To know more about the pose and its procedure, click here: Bakasana

3. Vrischikasana (Scorpion Pose)

Image: Shutterstock

About The Pose: Vrischikasana or the Scorpion Pose is an asana that resembles the stance of a scorpion. It is an advanced-level pose. Practice it in the morning on an empty stomach or evening after a gap of 4 to 6 hours from your last meal. Hold it as long as you are comfortable in it.

Benefits: Vrischikasana slows down the aging process and improves the blood flow to the brain and pituitary gland. The pose also loosens your back and strengthens your arms.

4. Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)

Image: Shutterstock

About The Pose: Mayurasana or the Peacock Pose is an asana that looks like a peacock walking around with its feathers down. It is an intermediate-level asana. Practice it in the morning on an empty stomach and clean bowels. Hold the pose for 30 to 60 seconds.

Benefits: Mayurasana cures constipation and prevents diabetes. It strengthens your head, lungs, and neck. The asana detoxifies your body, calms your mind, and increases your focus.

5. Salamba Sirsasana (Headstand)

Image: Shutterstock

About The Pose: Salamba Sirsasana or the Headstand is a complete inversion of the body and is called the king of all asanas. It is an advanced pose. It is best to practice it in the morning on an empty stomach and clean bowels. Hold the pose for 1 to 5 minutes.

Benefits: Salamba Sirsasana relieves stress and mild depression. It stimulates your pituitary and pineal glands. The pose is therapeutic for asthma, sinusitis, and insomnia.

To know more about the pose and its procedure, click here: Salamba Sirsasana

Benefits Of Rocket Yoga

  • Rocket Yoga stimulates your nervous system.
  • It promotes change and freedom in yoga practice.
  • It makes you stronger, lighter, and more flexible.
  • Rocket Yoga improves your balance, strengthens your muscles, and increases your consciousness.
  • It cleanses your body from within.

Now, let’s answer some common queries on Rocket Yoga.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Rocket Yoga better than Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga?

Both are similar. Rocket Yoga is simply an easier and more doable version of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.

What does ‘Rocket’ mean in Rocket Yoga?

Rocket refers to the fast speed with which you can learn and practice Rocket Yoga.

Rocket Yoga is a simplified version of the much more difficult Ashtanga Yoga. It includes Sun Salutations, standing and seating poses, twists, and bends. The benefits of Rocket Yoga are numerous as the poses work on the hips, core, arms, wrists, shoulders, upper back, head, lungs, neck, and spine. So, it is ideal for flushing out toxins from the body, relieving stress, building strength, balance, and flexibility, stimulating the nervous system, and slowing down the aging process. So, take up Rocket Yoga to empower yourself both physically and mentally.

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A jack of many trades and a master of some, Shirin is a writer, a fashion designer, and a chef... more

Sri Yogi Anand

(E-RYT 500, YACEP)
Sri Yogi Anand is well-versed in the practical and philosophical aspects of yoga and spirituality. He has been teaching yoga... more

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