I am wondering what to even write when reviewing my experience in Cincinnati. Well for starters, I realized I constantly misspell “Cincinnati”. But I really can’t describe the experience. It felt like I was a newby again. That I had never taken a yoga training and that I wasn’t sure how to do a pose correctly. Which is exactly what I needed.
I trained with Amber Gean Espelage who lives and breathes Rocket Yoga. Rocket Yoga is a system of yoga that is therapeutic in nature and based in Ashtanga. It uses breath, bandhas, and drishti throughout the practice and has a general layout of sequencing and when to practice what. It was founded by the late Larry Schultz who studied under Pattabhi Jois for seven years. After he came back he traveled with the Grateful Dead and taught them yoga.
After getting frustrated with the primary series Bob Weir, of all people, asked to practice some of the other poses. This is when Larry began to play around with the sequencing. Bob Weir named his style Rocket Yoga, “Because it gets you there faster”.
The philosophy of this system is incredible. It is meant to be fun, encourages exploration and modification, and is meant to be a vehicle to help you understand your inner teacher. It helps to “silence the inner critic”. This has been my teaching philosophy all along and to discover a system that believed in the same things I did was a moment I won’t forget. We read bits of Rocket philosophy each day and every time I was almost in tears with excitement and just, “Ahhhh, finally I have found what is for me”.
Now, Rocket may not be for everyone. It is intense, physical, and demanding. But the thing I love most about it is it CAN be for everyone. It welcomes all who seek it. The training turned out to be very small and intimate. It was like having a private instructor on call for six days. We reviewed philosophy, studied a lot of asana and “Rocket Transitions”, and practiced together every day.
Amber is the most down to earth facilitator I have ever taken training from.. She went out to eat with us every meal, and even invited me to the pool with her for several hours where we just talked about life, our pasts, Larry. It was incredible. This is someone who can do incredible things with her body and has met some of the biggest names in yoga. She doesn’t seem interested in any of that. She wants to translate the love of her teacher to others.
We had an opportunity to meet Gothem, who guest taught and also shared a meal with us, He was so moved by the love of his teacher, Larry, that stories brought him to tears several times. It was beautiful to see these people who wanted to carry on his legacy solely because of the love he gave to them. Isn’t that what yoga is about? Trying to come back to love? Loving ourselves? Each other? Discovering we are love itself?
Lisa was my partner in crime and fellow trainee. Soon to be in Midwifery school and from New Mexico, we immediately bonded on how excited we were to be there. The process is tough. When you are doing yoga all day for hours on end and studying, it brings up a lot of things. Honestly I felt so calm I felt more grounded than I had in a while. It was strange at first because usually I am bonkers.
I also felt vulnerable and afraid at times. I was treated with such respect and ease and I still am learning hoe to receive that. How do I receive love without any conditions?
Rocket Yoga Teacher Training gave me new breath in my yoga practice. It allowed me to be selfish and ask what does yoga mean to ME and not how do I translate that to others (despite that being part of it as well). It gave me a prescription for my own yoga practice. It filled me with gratitude and love for my own practice again. I revered yoga again.
I know that Rocket Yoga is what I want to practice for the rest of my life, I know that I want to carry on Larry Schultz legacy he has built through sharing Rocket Yoga with others. I know I will be with Amber again, to learn more, to love, to practice, and to laugh a lot.
We said it often as an inside joke and Amber even wrote it in my journal on the last day but “Follow Your Heart” seems appropriate for this trip. For life really. So I am following my heart to treating myself better and riding the wave to Nauliland. Thank you Amber Gean, Larry Schultz, and all my teachers and students who have constantly reminded me that I can listen to the inner teacher inside and find answers, or be okay with no answers.
So tonight, my mat has new meaning. It isn’t a place to come and snap Instagram photos anymore (that is a lie, it is, but it is more than that now). My mat is the phone in which I use to dial up my inner self and seek guidance, or to surrender the pain that this life leaves us with sometimes. My mat is my blanket, my armor, my place to land when I fall. And it honestly has been a while since I truly felt that way.
So Thank you to all the Rocket Yogis out there, Live Larry’s Legacy out and love each other. And always “follow your heart”. You never know if it will lead you to Ohio to help breath life into your passions again.