“I didn’t make It’s Yoga, it made me.”
– Larry Schultz
Meet Our Founders
Larry Schultz (1950-2011) & Marie Russel
All is coming, in 25 years.
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” ~Mark Twain
Larry loved to tell the story of the first It’s Yoga moment, the moment he knew he had found his life’s calling. As the story goes, Larry was enjoying Happy Hour, on vacation in Jamaica, when he became captivated, watching an older man practicing a beautiful series of movements on the rocks by the sea. The following day, Larry ran into the man in town, who was accompanied by a very beautiful young woman. When Larry asked the man what he was doing on the rocks, the man replied “Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.” Larry then asked the man who the young woman was and he replied, “My girlfriend.” Larry’s immediate response was, infamously, in his own words, “I have to get me some of that Ashtanga yoga!” As fate would have it, the teacher of Ashtanga Vinyasa was meant to be in Austin, Texas soon, where Larry lived. So less than a week later, Larry began practicing with the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga guru from India, Sri K Patthabi Jois.
Twenty five years later, a young woman passionate about yoga and its healing powers, travelled from Ohio to San Francisco to participate in It’s Yoga Teacher Training. Upon hearing this story directly from Larry, this young woman, Marie Hajjar, initially was confused by it. She later asked Larry about the experience and he explained to her that this older gentleman and his much younger partner represented something to Larry that he always dreamed of, that he could have health, vitality and love, late in life. Larry was in his 50’s at the time and single. Marie was 24.
It was after Larry first began practicing with Patthabi Jois that he was given the “7, 12, 25” model. Patthabi Jois famously said, “Practice, and all is coming!” a quote that is now seen on websites and in yoga studios around the world.. Patthabi explained to Larry that the diligent and dedicated yogi who applied him or herself and advanced quickly could expect to receive all the merits of the practice in as little as 7 years. Patthabi explained further, in his broken English, that for a “medium” student “all is coming in 12 years.” Pattahbi then said to Larry, “You? You are a bad man (Larry, a stiff yet dedicated practitioner) For you, all is coming in 25 years!” Larry took it as a blessing, always revered Patthabi as his beloved teacher and guru, and committed himself fully to his belief in the transformational powers of the practice. He was equally committed to the idea that the practice should be made accessible to all, and after 7 years of practicing in the classical method, the Rocket Routines of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga were born. He became known as The Bad Man of Ashtanga, the one who broke from tradition so that this ancient practice could be shared with students of all levels.
It was in Larry’s 25th year of practice that he met Marie, 30 years his junior. Not only was Marie much younger the Larry, they were from two seemingly very different worlds. In Marie’s own words, shortly after meeting Larry, “I just knew we were meant to be together and that It’s Yoga was my purpose. It was incredible to watch all the obstacles that presented themselves to us – age, religion, distinct family differences, all begin to dissolve on the path as we walked hand-in-hand towards manifesting our dreams. Larry would always say that the “inner teacher” speaks to us in a voice that is kind and encouraging, and that is the voice we tune into as we move through our days and nights here on planet earth. Larry was many things to many people. For me, as his wife, student, and partner in business, in life, he was, and remains a true Master. Strong, committed, loving and dedicated to the practice of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, Larry’s love of the practice transcended everything he did.”
Larry did find health, vitality and love late in life. He and Marie spent 7 years together as partners in every sense of the word. Larry passed away suddenly from natural causes in 2011 in Toledo, Ohio while visiting Marie’s family. He was 61. Larry and Marie shared the belief that the practice of yoga is a revolutionary act of love and has the power to change the world. Marie, now the holder of the It’s Yoga lineage, is continuing to honor Larry’s legacy through founding It’s Yoga International, where she is making manifest the dreams she and Larry held so dearly, to share his, and her, love of the practice, through the Rocket Routines and the It’s Yoga system, and to make yoga accessible to all, on a global level; to change the world one breath at a time, one asana at a time.
It’s Yoga International
Larry's Living Legacy & Bio
Living the Legacy – Larry was fully committed to living and sharing the essence of Yoga, which is Union. He enjoyed a daily practice for over 40 years, and expressed his loving interpretation of Yoga in his life, on and off his mat. Larry was all about the LOVE, and he was a Master Yogi who taught that connection to your inner teacher, your Divinity your Creator, was the authentic way to realize your happiness. It’s Yoga International (IYI) is an organization that is devoted to ensuring that his Legacy is sustained and carried forth by generations to come. IYI offers contining education programs, Yoga on and off the mat opportunities in person and virtually, and a comprehensive affiliate licensing program for those who are called to teach the curriculum and open Centers in the tradition of It’s Yoga. Those who share the It’s Yoga® System and Rocket® Routines internationally, are welcome to join our Membership and fully commit to Larry’s Legacy by gaining the credentials, licensing, and continuing training and education that has been inspirationally designed by It’s Yoga International Founder, Marie Russel, Larry’s wife, partner and fully trained leader of his Legacy.
Biography of Larry Schultz – Dubbed the Rocketman by his friends and students, studied with luminary Shri K Pattabhi Jois for seven years. Establishing It’s Yoga in 1989, he is known as one of the foremost Yoga enthusiasts in the West, and It’s Yoga one of the oldest Ashtanga schools. As the third yoga studio in San Francisco, It’s Yoga served to raise the torch by creating a vibrant hub for the yoga movement in the Bay Area. Larry taught tens of thousands of classes in his career at It’s Yoga SF, across the U.S. and abroad and shepherded more than 5,000 Ashtanga Vinyasa students through his life- affirming 200-hour It’s Yoga Teacher Training Course.
Born of his time sharing yoga to the band, “The Grateful Dead”, Larry developed his much beloved “Rocket” routines which are a variation of the classical first, second and third series of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. He was one of first to step out of the box by stretching the boundaries of the classical Ashtanga System with modifications of the advanced poses. When looking for a name for the new routines, Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, dubbed them the “Rocket” because, “it gets you there faster.”
Over the years, yoga students of all kinds flocked to his studios. He facilitated the opening of over 15 It’s Yoga studios and affiliates that teach the “Rocket Routines” and the “It’s Yoga Teacher Training Program.” Advanced students could join Larry practicing early morning, while new students that included Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, artists, students, and entertainers came to explore this mysteries practice. Larry could be found most days at 4:30 for Rocket classes. It’s Yoga served the community in San Francisco for twenty years, officially closing its doors in 2009.
From 2009 – 2011, Larry spent in “Nauliland,” his dream of the ultimate American Ashram. Days and nights were filled with yoga, outdoor life, and great food and friends in Sonoma, California. He achieved his goal, of love and health late in life.
He passed away February 27, 2011 in Toledo, Ohio while visiting his wife’s family. His memory will be eternal.
In His Own Words
Larry was a master at one-liners. He loved to inspire students to keep it simple, have fun and go with the flow. In fact, one of his most famous quotes is, “relax and breath, go with the flow.” Thank you Larry, for all the “lines” that remind us to stay in line with the practice. We love and honor you and remember you each day.
Nauliland is about Freedom
Practice what you teach. Teach what you practice.
Study the phenomenon of Life.
You’re doing great.
Your opposition is your protection.
When your plan and God’s plan align, you know you are going in the right direction.
Do yoga so you are less miserable to be around.
Turn your ambition into intention.
Share the love.
Quiet your inner critic, wake up your inner teacher.
Write it down.
Live in the Question.
San Francisco Twinkle Toes.
Give your breath a color.
You are stronger than you think you are.
We do the practice to love ourselves so we can learn to love others more.
Everything you think is make believe. What you see with your eyes open or closed is real. Pay attention to what you see, hear and feel.
Watch things appear and disappear.
I’m not my car, I’m not my house, I am my breath.
Start on your own.