This month, we sat down to chat with Vinyasa instructor Rocky Heron to learn more about this area of specialty and why he loves the practice of yoga.
How did you discover Vinyasa yoga?
I started Vinyasa yoga when I was 18, I was living in LA and I was going to school for performing arts. A friend of mine said, “Oh you should come to this Power Vinyasa yoga class with me, you’ll like it.”
It took 5 or 6 months of her inviting me. I finally took myself to this Power Vinyasa class, and, as promised, it whupped me quite a bit, but at the end of it I felt amazing. I said okay, this is something I am interested in, and every couple of weeks I would pop into a Vinyasa class.
Later, I was working a 9 to 5 job and I made it a commitment to go to Vinyasa three times a week. After a couple months of doing Vinyasa yoga, I really started to feel the benefits of consistent practice. Not just physically, but in my demeanor and in the way I was looking at and responding to the things that were happening in my life, my ability to step back and observe what my chronic reactions were.
You teach Vinyasa Yoga here, but you started in Power Yoga?
I mean really now Vinyasa Yoga is seen as Power Yoga. What I saw that made it more Power than Vinyasa was just extra chaturangas and extra long core sequences, but it was just a Vinyasa flow class.
Who are your Teachers?
I was practicing Vinyasa at Bryan Kest’s studio in Santa Monica. The teachers there were Bryan Kest, Tamal Dodge, Ally Hamilton, Rudy Mettia.
How did you decide to become a Vinyasa teacher and where did you get certified to teach Vinyasa?
I was pursuing a career in acting and it was challenging, as it is. There was a lot of desperation I felt at times because I was trying to get out of the grind of what I was doing.
Finally, I had the wise idea of, “If I could just find something for my day job that I really enjoy, then I would be able to pursue my passions and what I love, but I would also love what I was doing in the meantime.”
I found a flyer at Bryan Kest’s studio for teacher training and put it on the bulletin board and looked at it and looked at it. Then, I took the leap and took the course with Tamal Dodge.
How has your Vinyasa yoga practice affected your life?
As far as the practice itself, aside from the physiological benefits, I think it’s just changed my relationship with myself. I tend to be a very hard driving, ambitious, hard on myself kind of person. Yoga can certainly reveal those things to you.
There is a word in Sanskrit “Swadyaya” which means self-study, or to get close to your Self. I am a social person, I like to make connections, and it’s easy to feel lonely when you’re not around other people. Through the practice of Vinyasa yoga, I have a relationship with myself that can sustain me, that is my first priority. And from that, I am able to step out into the world with equanimity.
Along with Vinyasa, what are the primary forms of yoga that you teach?
Here I teach Vinyasa, and I teach the Hot Flow class and I teach an Alignment Flow class. Those are all Hatha-based yoga. I came to yoga through the Vinyasa system, and a lot of what I was teaching and continue to teach is Vinyasa-based yoga.
Why do you enjoy Vinyasa Yoga?
I think what’s nice about Vinyasa is that it’s kind of dance-like, and there’s this wave and this kind of tapestry of poses that’s created in the practice. It flows and links together. I think when I started practicing Vinyasa, that was really interesting to me, how all the poses could turn into each other and the similarities between all the shapes.
These days, a lot of what I am studying is going back to each individual posture as it’s own universe and getting really lost in the study of shapes and the study of each asana. I am encouraging others to be as skillful in each moment as possible, and then that will create the ingredients necessary to jump back into a Vinyasa flow.
How did you find Yoga Union? What do you think about the community here?
When I was moving here, my friend gave me a list of 5 or 6 studios to teach Vinyasa with. At the top of that list were the prestigious studios to get into, Yoga Pearl and Yoga Union. She was like, “You probably won’t get in there, because most people want to teach there, but they’re great to go practice with.”
She recommended that I practice with Annie in her Friday night class. I took Todd’s class and Annie was in that class. Afterward, I told her who I was and where I came from and that I had sent them a resume. We set up an audition and they asked me to teach Vinyasa Yoga here.
Every studio that I teach at, I teach there for a reason. There is something pretty special about Yoga Union. I loved the size of the community here, and the amount of heart in the community here. It’s rare to find a studio that’s so big and has so many members who are so friendly and eager to connect with each other. People here are friends.
Much of that is a testament to Annie and Todd. The tone of most studios is set by the owners. The mood trickles down, and they do a really tremendous job of setting that really sweet and skillful and intentional energy around here.
What unique aspects do you hope your Vinyasa yoga classes offer students?
I think I have a good ability to set an atmosphere that is playful and fun but also focused. I am myself when I teach, I encourage people to be as skillful as possible in the Vinyasa practice. I think that the way I put Vinyasa classes together, the Vinyasa sequencing I offer, and my ability to get people into poses they previously didn’t think were possible for them with step-by-step instruction and careful consideration of sequence and order are what my classes impart.
Learn more at: http://yogawithrocky.com/