Deborah Crooks is a California-based writer, singer-songwriter and performer. She has…
Larry Schultz (November 14, 1950 – February 27, 2011) was an American Yoga teacher. Schultz is primarily recognized as a creator of Power Yoga as well as Schultz's Rocket Yoga.
Talk to almost any consistent yoga student – or teacher – in the San Francisco Bay Area and you can almost bet they’ve taken one of his trademark Vinyasa Rocket classes. A maverick in the yoga community for his approach to both asana and business, Larry had built Its Yoga into one of the most successful and pioneering studios.
The Texas native was among the first students of Mysore-style Ashtanga master Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois when Jois came to the states. Larry was also among the first to take on teaching the system, to initiate revising the traditional Mysore system, and to open a studio. It's Yoga was the third yoga studio to open in the Bay Area. The studio remains at its original south of Market address, having grown into a serene 5,000-square-foot studio offering daily classes, weekend workshops and multiple teacher trainings per year. It’s Yoga has also expanded its studios from Puerto Rico to Provo, Utah.
In terms of asanas, Larry’s Rocket classes share many of the aspects of Ashtanga yoga. However, poses are introduced earlier. He’s done away with hard adjustments, and he’s made opening the joints before stretching the muscles a priority to avoid injury.
“Ashtanga for me is a science of sequencing breath and movement to create an effect. The effect is transformation where you see growth in your life. You see change happening slowly. You see the shell chipping away and a new being emerge. And you learn to take that off the mat.”
As Larry explained this, the thread of commitment that runs through his personal practice. “Yoga ultimately is a socialization tool,” he says. “First you have to learn it for yourself and love yourself on a day-to-day basis. Then it’s about service. The planet wants us to serve each other. We’re all miniature versions of Gandhi and Mother Teresa, all those great examples. But most people don’t know how to share what they love.”
“When yoga came to the West, I had the good fortune to find a great teacher, the best teacher for me, and to grow because of the practice,” he concludes. “A lot of people don’t have that. My vision is to have yoga all over the planet and to make it safe and effective.”
Larry's visions had come true, as hundreds of students utilize his studios. Yoga is malleable, It's Yoga is a great example of that. Bringing new ideas and a fresh mindset to a venerable practice.