Iconic Bay Area Yoga Teacher Dies


By YJ Editor  |  

larry schultz.pngLarry Schultz, founder of It’s Yoga studio and developer of the signature practice known as Rocket Yoga, has died. He was 60.


Schultz founded It’s Yoga in San Francisco in 1989, creating a vibrant hub for a growing yoga community in the Bay Area. Known as one of the foremost Ashtanga Yoga teachers in the West, he also taught thousands of classes across the U.S. and abroad and shepherded more than 5,000 Ashtanga Vinyasa students through his rigorous 200-hour teacher training course. In the 1980s, Schultz traveled with and taught yoga to the band the Grateful Dead. 

Schultz studied for seven years with K. Pattabhi Jois, and was best known for developing what become known simply as The Rocket, his unique spin on the first, second, and third series of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga that culminated in an intense, sweaty, and much-beloved practice.

Over the years, yoga students of all kinds flocked to his studios (he facilitated the opening of 15 studios altogether). Advanced students came to practice on their own, while new students that
included Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, artists, students, and
entertainers came to explore this mysterious practice.

In an open letter on the It’s Yoga website, Schultz shared his vision for teaching:

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 different
angles and develop, change and transcend their limitations, realize
their possibilities.

“Larry was a warm and generous person,” remembers Yoga Journal Senior Associate Editor Jennifer Rodrigue, who
took his teacher training. “One of his greatest contributions to the
yoga community was giving people the courage to own their personal
practice, encouraging people to honor the past and to live in the
present.”

David Kyle of It’s Yoga Puerto Rico, remembers his teacher: “His passing has taken many by surprise,” he says. “His life here has influenced thousands to search within themselves for their inner guru. He is an inspiration to us all.”
 
Combining his signature mix of humor and discipline, generosity and firmness–and above all, kindness–Schultz delighted in introducing his students to the practice, traveling around the globe, and spreading his gospel of yoga’s healing and restorative powers.

“Larry was dedicated to yoga with every cell of his being,” says Eddie
Modestini, who, with his wife, Nicki Doane, founded Maya Yoga. “He was a
wild, joyous, funny, charismatic yoga
teacher who turned many people on to the practice. He left us too early.
He is loved
by many and will be missed.”

“It’s a huge loss,” says San Francisco yoga teacher Stephanie Snyder, who says that Schultz referred to yoga as a party to which all were invited. “He was an entryway for anyone to come into yoga. He made it accessible to all. He was an institution.”

Schultz is survived by his wife Marie.
 
A celebration for Larry Schultz is planned for April 3 in San Francisco. Details will be forthcoming on itsyoga.net.