Saturday, June 8, 2013

Can two opposite forms of Ashtanga Yoga Coexist? Rocket Yoga and Jois Yoga

It's a fair question, whether you like to practice Iyengar and Ashtanga or Vinyasa Flow and Yin Yoga on the side.  By working with multiple styles we become more in tune with our changing bodies and moods, right?  So why not mix it up:)

In fact, many of us love to mix the Traditional form of Ashtanga Yoga with non-traditional forms of Ashtanga Yoga. Like Mysore in the morning and Rocket at night!

At my studio we offer mostly Ashtanga Yoga, but we host and support teachers form all styles.  I have had Iyengar, Kudalini, Power Yoga, Forest Yoga, AcroYoga, Anusara Yoga, Prana Vinyasa, Trance Dance, meditation, and even Sufi Mysticism!  Any and all methods allowed if they follow a path based on experience.

For over 10 years we have successfully ran a set schedule of Traditional Primary Series classes along side the Modified and Rocket derivatives through out the week!  Its a slower process for students to progress but allows more accessibility to work through weaknesses.

The student response to this method of combination is excellent!

Are we being unfaithful to our teachers or the lineage by seeing other teachers?

Not at all!  We are not marrying our teachers are we? and if you are married to your teacher you should ask for an open relationship! (just with yoga of course)

Can we practice 2 different styles and maintain a sense of clarity and progress with efficiency towards the goals that are set for our practice? 

Yes!  and I know I'm not alone.  Many styles but only one practice! We are all practicing YOGA no matter what style!

As a student who appreciates the teachings from Pattabhi Jois as well as from Larry Schultz and the numerous teachers who share his views on a less ridged Ashtanga format - I say, YES!

So this being said I would like to talk about the amazingly good benefits that both systems offer to the student who is willing to take on the rigorous training of these artistic and scientific practices called Ashtanga Yoga.

Traditional Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is the name that has been attached to Pattabhi Jois yoga sequencing which is one of the longest running modern yoga forms.  With a focus on maintaining an unbroken chain or a fixed set of yoga asana sequences designed for all students to work with in a set method referred to as vinyasa.

I have listed 10 of my favorite benefits below:

  • Encourages daily practice to work directly with the weakness of the body and mind to heal and strengthen 
  • Mysore practice brings the teacher/student relationship into a more authentic 1on1 process
  • No faking it.. no hiding or avoiding the problem.
  • No matter where you go in the world-any language will give you the same practice the same experience
  • By learning the sequence you can let go and drop deeper into the meditative process
  • There are hundreds of studios and thousands of teachers who can give insight and access to the practice

  • It involves and requires exercising the mind as much if not more than the body.
  • It encourages therapeutic adjustments from a teacher to help release the tension in the bodies joint.
  • Internal heat is an ingredient of this practice that produces sweat and a deep detox
  • By surrendering and giving in to a teacher you can practice humility

Rocket Yoga: a Non-Traditional Ashtanga Yoga derivative is the name that has been attached to Larry Schultzs' yoga sequencing when he re-arranged the primary and secondary series of Ashtanga Yoga.  Postures were either modified or remove to keep the flow of the class easy for beginners.  This makes the Rocket classes more of a modified form of the Ashtanga Yoga Practice.

Creativity being an obvious ingredient in the Rocket sequences, it is possible to see many different forms of the Rocket 1, 2, and 3, but there is a fixed foundation that is followed by all certified teachers. This also allows the practice to be made more advanced/ or physically challenging by adding in transitional techniques often referred to as "floating and flying" or adding in variations to the traditional postures. 

Listed below is 10 of my favorite benefits below:

  • All levels are welcome in any of the classes 
  • Students may add in advanced variations to poses
  • Each day of the week students work with a different sequence give a more westernized approach to working with the body.
  • Individuality, and inquisitive attitudes are encouraged and celebrated
  • Students are taught about the distinct benefits of each series and are give the responsibility to choose the class they want to take in accordance to how they want to feel each day
  • Daily practice is encouraged with an emphasis on morning practice after student wakes.  No set time besides less than 1 hour after you wake up. 
  • Postures can be modified to keep the flow steady
  • Takes a feminine approach to the Ashtanga Yoga practice.
  • Handstand may substitute the seated vinyasa!
  • Increases the sympathetic nervous system stimulation and revitalizes the body with feel good chemicals and an uplifting energy.  This class can shift and detox out a lot of              stresses from the body!
I'm standing on 10+ years of a combined practice in Rocket Yoga and Jois yoga and would like to submit myself as an example of what the combination of both of these amazing systems can do if you combine them right.

To combine them right then you should have more than 1 teacher in order to receive insight from both perspectives.  We all need an Angle and a Devil on our shoulders.  This is not meant to represent the classical idea of right or wrong, instead we want it to represent the role of opposite choices.  The choice to go one way or the other and make your own decision on whether it served your positively.

Always listen to your inner teacher and the truth will come out and speak loud and clear to you. 

Hope you enjoy!  If have any questions please ask and we can use the comments section below to address any confusion or simply tell us what you need and how we can help.


David Kyle


  1. Great one D! Love both Traditional and non-Traditional methods! And both of them have been really useful for me in so many ways! Thank you for showing me the path! Now I'm on my own journey!

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