• Lisa

Origins - The first steps on finding my path

Updated: Apr 3

Author: Lisa-Marie Wakenshaw

In yoga, we (or at least I) always ask and wonder about the origins of the practice. Where did it come from, who invented it, what is the proper form and lineage of the practice I’m seeking to understand?

I always had an underlying longing to be part of something bigger, something where I got to be guided by a teacher, knowing exactly what to expect and what would be expected from me within the practice. I think that’s why I‘ve always been drawn to Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.

My yoga journey started with Hot Yoga, lots and lots of daily Bikram Yoga classes and I thought I had found the path I would continue to walk down my entire adult life. But after a few years, I was on a long trip through Southern Africa and ended up spending a couple of months in Cape Town, just for the purpose of being able to go to a yoga studio and practice every day.

I found this gem of a place called ‘Jai Yoga’ just off Hans Strijdom Ave, which was run by this couple who were trained in both Bikram Yoga & Ashtanga Vinyasa. They were about to host an Ashtanga teacher called Michael Gannon for a weekend workshop and I didn’t even doubt it but signed up for my first yoga workshop ever. I think it was the first time I really had a taste of what both Vinyasa and Ashtanga Yoga were all about and I knew instantly that I needed to go further down this path. The studio itself doesn’t exist anymore but in my mind, I still refer to it as the place where I found the guidance, support, and confidence that this was actually what I really wanted to explore.

Fast forward a year or two, I find myself in Goa, India at a place called Yoga Bones, a purely Ashtanga Mysore-based practice place under the guidance of Rolf & Marci Naujokat. It’s one of those places where there are hundreds of students going through every morning, you get a time-slot between 4.30-10 am to come, wait for a spot to be vacant and then roll out your mat and do your thing. I had never seen such dedicated students or teachers.

I went from this girl who could only reach her toes on a good day, to full forward folds with the teacher sitting on my back. It was incredible and I felt awesome and in a way, triumphant over myself and my beliefs in my own abilities. I already had a couple of teacher-trainings under my belt, but after this, I really just wanted to be a yoga teacher and nothing else.

There is a lot more to this journey of mine, and I will dig deeper into it on another occasion, I promise! But the point I am trying to make here is that I have always been in search of the Origins of the practice I am doing most days, and practicing Ashtanga Yoga is a way for me to come home. Sometimes I felt like it was very rigid, and I strayed and came back, strayed and came back, that’s always been my pattern.

But then I found The Rocket, or Rocket Yoga. In short, The Rocket is a progressive, modern perspective on Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. It’s the same philosophy, you practice what you teach, and teach what you practice. And if you practice, then all is coming. It’s just that the Rocket will get you there faster!

The first class I ever took of Rocket Yoga was in London, in particular, on the rooftop of the Bussey Building in Peckham (Home to Yogarise Studio) and the teacher was Marcus Veda. If you’ve practiced with me in person in Prague, you know that my playlists of choice come from this master of combining music & yoga. Back to the class in 2014 or something like that, it was a perfect summer day, my second day in London after coming back from India, the sun was out and the music fit my every inhales and exhales. And I held my handstand for like, ever. And it was just bliss, pure awesomeness and I was sold.

If you don’t know the Rocket yet, I’ve got several videos on the platform you can try. If you’ve never tried before, then go for a Bottle Rocket class to try the basics.

But hey, Lisa, what IS Rocket Yoga??? You might still ask…

In a couple of weeks I will elaborate and break it down for you all, we might even do it on the podcast one of these days!

Til next time.

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