Larry Schultz: The Rocket Legend

Yoga’s a great teacher and The Rocket is a great journey.” -Larry Schultz

A student of Ashtanga guru K. Pattabhi Jois, Larry Schultz introduced The Rocket series to 1980s San Francisco by creating the third yoga studio in the area: It’s Yoga. Founded on traditional Ashtanga and using the same postures from the Primary and Intermediate series, Larry simply rearranged and modified the sequencing in order to create his preferred method of practice: Rocket yoga.

While on tour with the Grateful Dead, Bob Weir dubbed Larry’s more modern sequence ‘The Rocket’ because “it gets you there faster.” What did Bob mean by this? In traditional Ashtanga -which consists of progressive postures and sequences- a student is prohibited from moving onto the next asana or sequence without direct permission from his or her teacher. Larry’s teacher, Pattabhi Jois highly valued the challenge in repetition, in order to perfect the practice. He insisted upon dedication and perseverance before allowing progression. By building the body and mind strength necessary to perfect each asana, the student would more fully receive the benefits of the practice: both mental and physical.

Larry didn’t like that he couldn’t move on in the sequence when he wanted. He wanted to try the harder, more challenging inverted postures that were part of the intermediate series and not part of the primary. Feeling as if it took too long to get to those postures, he began developing his own sequence: eventually becoming The Rocket. A more modern form of the Ashtanga practice, Rocket rearranges the Primary and Intermediate series and adds more inversions, music, and creates a more playful opportunity for Ashtangis to practice their normally rigid routine.

“Strong, committed, loving and dedicated to the practice of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, Larry’s love of the practice transcended everything he did.” – Marie Russel, Larry’s wife, student and partner in business.

Although he designed an alternative to the highly traditional Ashtanga sequences, he continually honored Ashtanga and his teachers. Practicing yoga became a lifestyle. Over 40 years of practice, spurred by one encounter with a yogi on the beaches of Jamaica, Larry has created a following of thousands. Witnessing the flow of this one man’s practice over 40 years earlier, Larry understood “in that moment, he could have both love and health, late in life.” (Meet Our Founder, ItsYoga.com) Unfortunately, Larry only lived to 61. He died of natural causes on February 27, 2011.

Marie, thousands of Larry’s students, teachers and followers carry his legacy by continuing to practice and spread the power of Rocket yoga throughout the globe. The practice is only growing in popularity, becoming one of the most popular modern forms of yoga of our time. Read more about Larry and his dedication to the practice at Itsyoga.com.

 

We hope you are Ready For Takeoff at your next Rocket class! Feel free to comment with any questions or for a deeper in site into the practice.

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