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.
Schultz was living in Texas in the late 1970s and early 1980s working as an insurance salesman before he started yoga. From 1977 until 1980 he was the District Sales Manager for Union Bankers Life Insurance Co. In 1980 at the age of 30 he quit Union Bankers Insurance Co. to open South Texas Insurance Services with his friend Jerry Chavers where they ran the company until 1982.
K. Pattabhi Jois years
Schultz met K. Pattabhi Jois in 1982 during a yoga workshop hosted by Stan Hafner. Schultz continued to study under K. Pattabhi Jois for the next 7 years in India and the USA.
The Bad Man of Ashtanga Yoga
In 1989 Schultz returned to San Francisco and started to teach Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga from his home in Potrero Hill. Schultz believed that all students should get access to all poses, which was in conflict with Jois' Mysore style, in which only teachers were authorized to give a student a new pose to practice after the teacher felt the student had attained mastery of the previous one. Schultz instead taught a modified version of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga in which each of his classes incorporated poses from all 3 of the traditional Ashtanga Series with all students welcome to try all poses. As a result, Jois called Schultz "The Bad Man of Ashtanga Yoga," due to Schultz's interest in practicing and teaching 2nd and 3rd Series poses not yet authorized by Jois.
In the mid 1990s Schultz traveled on tour with the Grateful Dead as the band's personal yoga teacher until Jerry Garcia died. While on tour with the Grateful Dead one of the band members asked Schultz what was the name of his yoga. Schultz said it didn't have a name, at which point in time Bob Weir said, "it should be called Rocket Yoga, because it gets you there faster." In an interview in a Deadhead magazine, Lesh credits Ashtanga with having a real effect on the music this tour and giving him personally a new feeling of centeredness. Says Lesh, "This has opened a whole new world for me." It was Weir who encouraged Schultz to write his first book on yoga, Ashtanga Yoga As Taught by Shri K. Pattabhi Jois. Phil Lesh from the Grateful Dead on Schultz's impact on the music:
"I think both yoga and the new soundspace had a real effect on the music this tour."— Phil Lesh, The Grateful Dead Reader By David Dodd, Diana Spaulding, Oxford University Press, USA (January 17, 2002)
The Mayor of Folsom Street
In 1991 Schultz founded It's Yoga at 848 Folsom Street in San Francisco. At It's Yoga Larry created a promotional package that was called "90 days for 90 dollars." At the time yoga was mostly done by small groups in homes, and Schultz's yoga studio as a health club concept was an industry first. It's Yoga on Folsom street attracted many, including notable celebrities such as San Francisco 49ers players and Christy Turlington. Schultz's It's Yoga came to be credited as one of the pioneers of yoga in the region. In 2002 It's Yoga moved downstairs to a larger space in the same building at 848 Folsom street. Schultz's notoriety in the South of Market, San Francisco area led him gain a second nickname, "The Mayor of Folsom Street."
Schultz gained notoriety during his life for creating the Rocket Yoga series of yoga sequences that are today considered to be the foundation Power yoga.Rocket Yoga sequences include the Rocket I, Rocket II, Rocket III, and Modified Primary Series. Schultz claimed his strength came from teaching 9000 yoga classes & performing 63,000 sun salutations. Schultz said of his teaching philosophy:
There is nothing more satisfying to me as a teacher than to watch the glow with which people arise from Savasana. Often people walk into It’s Yoga with worry, stress and tiredness written all over their faces but when they leave, they show the effects of Ashtanga Yoga: they feel better and look better, lighter, freer, more relaxed and energized. This is why to me, teaching Ashtanga Yoga is a kind of self-realization; every time I lead class I, as a teacher, grow and express the insights of my own yoga. I see people take in the practice from various angles and develop, change and transcend their limitations, realize their possibilities.— Larry Schultz, YogaDragonden Blog:In Memoriam: Larry Schultz 1950-2011, Feb 19, 2010
In 2009 It's Yoga San Francisco closed as Schultz moved to Sonoma, California to open a retreat center he called Nauliland. In these final years Schultz and his wife Marie focused on their global Rocket Yoga teacher training program, which graduated more than 5000 students in 142 teacher trainings. Larry initiated many who later became well known teachers themselves, including Duncan Wong, Russell Yamaguchi, John Berlinsky, Tarik Thami, Amber Espelage, Clayton Horton, David Lurey, David Kyle, Rusty Wells, MC Yogi, and Amanda Giacomini.
Schultz died of natural causes on February 27, 2011 in Toledo, Ohio.
Schultz is recognized as one of the creators of Power Yoga. Schultz left behind a global network of yoga studios operating under his brand, It's Yoga, and teaching his Rocket Yoga.
Books and Videos
- Ashtanga Out of the Box book and DVD series by Larry Schultz 1998
- Rocket Vinyasa Yoga video in collaboration with David Kyle 2004
- Schultz, Larry (2000). Ashtanga Yoga as taught by Shri K. Pattabhi Jois. San Francisco, CA: Nauli Press. ASIN B000E6XBKQ. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
- Rocket II DVD led by Larry Schultz 2006