Yoga… but not for the faint hearted!
In the words of our lovely Rocket Yoga teacher, Liz Jacobs,
…it is no sissy practice, you can say that much…”
Eliza, editor of Healthy Living London and I excitedly made our way to Rocket Yoga at FRAME Queens Park last week, ready for a new experience, but bringing very little of our own experience with us. My journey with yoga is just beginning, I have done a beginners course at The Life Centre (which I highly recommend) and I also do hot yoga at Fierce Grace so I’ve done a little and really enjoy it. Eliza on the other hand is not only a very fit and healthy individual, she is also a very bendy one, and so while she may not have practiced yoga very much before, she is a natural (not jealous at all…..grrrrr….) [Here I have to cut in here – as I was told in a previous yoga class, it’s not about comparing yourself but doing yoga for yourself. And this is something that I often forget and find myself sighing at all the headstanders being perfect. So Amy, take note, lady! And you did awesomely the other day when I saw you doing The Crow for the first time. Go you! -EF]
The class began with Liz talking to us briefly about our breathing, to stay with our breath throughout the class and she also said something that resonated with both of us…. She told us about the last moon of this season and moving on into the next, to think about breathing in the energy of the sun and breathing out the calm and peace of the moon. I thought this was a beautiful way to think of it and I kept it in mind throughout the class and ever since. I feel embracing the next season is really important so not let sadness or negativity creep in along with the cold weather.
Anyway so how was the class? It was hard…. but so so fun! The flow is quick and interspersed throughout with inversions and tougher poses, not all people in the class could do these but we were all encouraged to try. I was familiar with a lot of the poses so this gave me a feeling of comfort although the pace is challenging and obviously the advanced poses were beyond me. One of the things I really liked is that Liz creates an atmosphere that you feel so comfortable in and these difficult moves, which I had always perceived as utterly unobtainable, have been somewhat de-mystified. I do actually believe now, that one day, an ordinary person like me, with practice and perseverance may actually be able to do a headstand…… bring it on! By the way if you are wondering why it is called Rocket Yoga – it was given its name by Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead… in explanation he said, “It gets you there faster.” I totally get that.
We asked Liz to explain the origins of rocket yoga and how it is different to the many other yoga practices and she summarised it all so fantastically I felt it best to quote her directly!
“The Rocket System was invented by Larry Schultz, the original creator of what we know as Power Yoga today. Larry started Yoga San Francisco in the US and the Rocket System was born, a sequence inspired by the traditional Ashtanga Series. This form of Hatha Yoga was taught by Sri Patthabhi Jois, and is still very much alive in Mysore, India today where his son Sharath has taken over.
The Rocket is inspired by the Primary Series; it is based on the principles of Ashtanga, where emphasis is placed on movement with breath. This creates a dynamic flow that energizes the body, developing stamina, and it increases flexibility and opens the body up to energetic aspects that leaves the practitioner energized and invigorated. There is a level for every practitioner to build into the challenging postures, and that’s what has made the Rocket so popular. It’s open to anyone that wants to practice Yoga and challenge themselves and have a great time on the mat.”
I had some serious aches the next day – you work your body and your mind, but you will walk away feeling fantastic… and if you’re anything like me, very sweaty. (Don’t forget your water bottle.) As with most yoga classes you finish with relaxation and believe me you will truly deserve it when you get there!