It's Yoga - International Community
The first It’s Yoga school opened in San Francisco in 1989 to teach Ashtanga Yoga in the tradition of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois of Mysore, India. Larry Schultz, the founder of It’s Yoga, practiced yoga for over 30 years and was the first to develop one of the most progressive and challenging routines based on the first 3 series of classical Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. Born during his time teaching yoga to the Grateful Dead during 1990-1994, “The Rocket,” his signature practice brought the advanced poses of Ashtanga to beginners allowing for modifications and shifting the philosophy that one pose had to be completed perfectly before the next was given. His style was based on the fact that we were Westerns practicing an Eastern Science, through a Western perspective, so the practice had to be fun and accessible to beginners, while having the power to download the benefits of this ancient and health-enhancing practice. This vibrant routine is called the “Rocket” because, “it gets you there faster.”
The Rocket is designed to wake up the nervous system and feed it the precious prana it craves while promoting a spirit of change and freedom in the practice. A dynamic series of postures that flow one into another, Ashtanga Yoga provides a high energy experience whose therapeutic effects align and purify the body. Ashtanga yoga is dynamic and aerobic. By synchronizing movement with the breath, this ancient system of yoga arouses the inner fire to cleanse and strengthen the body. Ashtanga yoga’s great strength focuses on correct breathing. It oxygenates the blood, supporting circulation and bringing more blood to the brain to maximize clear thinking and full creativity. Ashtanga yoga’s most favorable aspect is its capacity to de-stress and reshape the body, counteracting the aging process. The practice induces the elimination of “toxins” and purifies the body. It serves as a path to health, flexibility, strength, and balance through concentration. As Larry liked to say, “Ashtanga Yoga is the ultimate Health Management System.”
It’s Yoga International is the only organization recognized to honor the It’s Yoga Tradition started in San Francisco and is the official home of the It’s Yoga Legacy of the Rocket Routines and the It’s Yoga Trainings.
Larry Schultz (1950-2011).
Larry often the story of when he first was inspired by Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. He was in Jamaica, West Indies, at a happy hour with friends, while off in the distance he saw a man on a rock doing the most dynamic movements he had ever seen. The following day, he saw the same man in the town, and asked him, “Dude, what were you doing on that rock?” And the man, with some hesitation finally shared with him that it was Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. Larry said he was surprised as he had never seen yoga expressed with so much movement and strength. The man was with a young woman, and this also intrigued Larry. He wanted to know who she was, and was surprised to learn she was the man’s girlfriend as she was significantly younger. He said in that moment he knew, “I wanted some of that Ashtanga Yoga.”
It turns out the Master of Ashtanga Vinyasa, Pattabhi Jois of Mysore, India, was going to be in Austin, Texas the following week, and that is where Larry just happened to be living. As Larry would later say, it was an “It’s Yoga” Moment! When I first heard that story during my training in 2004, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, until he explained what he witnessed. He realized in that moment, he could have both love and health, late in life. And that is what he experienced. Love and health, late in life. Little did we know that late in life for him was from 54-61. He passed away February 27, 2011 from natural causes in my hometown, of Toledo, Ohio. I am honored to be a part of the destiny that Larry created for himself. He was dedicated to the practice of Ashtanga way before we met, in what Pattabhi Jois had predicted for him, “all is coming in 25 years.” Pattabhi believed there were 3 kinds of students. One, all is coming in 7 years – very good student, practices daily and is advanced. Second, medium student, all is coming in 12 years. And then he looked at Larry, and said, “That man is bad man. All is coming for him in 25 years.” Larry took it as a blessing, he said he knew if he kept practicing, he would receive all that was coming his way in 25 years.
What he wanted was love and health. We met in his 25th year of practice. For me, it was very much the same “aha” moment. 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. It is with this sense of gratitude, that It’s Yoga International has established, with a sense of knowing that there is a plan for each of us, and we have only to be brave, trust the flow of the Universe and be open to new possibilities.
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, 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. Everywhere he went, people loved to be with him because he had this energy that was like a magnet. He was fun and joyful and made everyone in his presence delighted and honored. Many of his former students have gone on in their own direction and continue to share his legacy under different names, and we bless them in their endeavors. I can say with great certainty that our only purpose in creating It’s Yoga International is solely to honor It’s Yoga and manifest the goals Larry shared with me during our time together. It is clear and that I am to manifest his dreams and it is going to take a significant amount of dedication and creativity from a team of talented and gifted people.
Our team is establishing itself to take the Rocket to the next level, and we are gearing up to make a real and lasting imprint in the Yoga World. The Rocket will get us there faster, one step at a time! Thank you for your interest in It’s Yoga International. We are so grateful to have this path to follow and this journey to take in this life. It is a time to be happy and free, and to share the love of the practice.
Namaste, Marie Russel
It’s Yoga International
Hi, I am Rocket Jari.
My purpose as a Rocket Yoga facilitator is to be authentic, knowledgable and creative, to support me and others to discover our potential, by sharing the Rocket practice, to explore The Yoga, The World, travel to do traininings, retreats and workshops, so we can have joy, abundance and a balanced Life.
I first found yoga in Beiging China 2001. I was working in IT service support at the time. There were yoga classes at the hotel I was staying at. One hour classes in the gym. Later I found out it was Bikram yoga without heat. It was not an easy class, but I got hooked and wanted to learn more.
I started reading yoga books, and taking ashtanga classes. As I was already teaching group fitness classes, I took BODYBALANCE teacher training that is mostly Yoga. I liked that very much as it is choreographed to the music, creating a meditative Yoga flow.
Then came possibilities of teaching yoga, but I wanted to have a yoga teacher training first. So I went to Frog Lotus Yoga teacher training, in vinyasa flow style (RYT200) in Italy. And started teaching right after the course.
Hungry to do and learn more yoga, I went to Thailand, Absolute Yoga for advanced (RYT 500) training. Learning and practising Ashtanga Vinyasa with Michel Besnard, Yin Yoga with Nora Mangiamele, and womens yoga/Restorative Yoga with Sarah Avant Stover. This was a year when I was on a sabbatical and desided to invest in me. I also did a dive master course (PADI) in Indonesia, as the diving is my other hobby that I was passionate about.
After the courses I started teaching ashtanga basics, and restorative yoga at the gyms.
2012 was a turning point in my life. I had a possibility to take Rocket Yoga training in Firenze, Italy. As I started practising the Rocket I found myself learning a lot. And by teaching the Rocket I was learning a lot more from my students. I was hooked to this effective and safe way of practising! I heard Michelle Barocci’s inspirational story about opening It’s Yoga Firenze, and started looking into opening It’s Yoga Helsinki. I started looking for a place to rent and found current location as the birch leaves started crowing. You could see birch trees out of the studio window. And that is why there is birch leave in the logo of the studio.
Currently I’m on the It’s Yoga journey, practising, learning, and teaching, running a studio in Helsinki – Herttoniemi. I have a sports background in figureskating, sports aerobics, and group fitness. These have provided me skills that I can use as a Yoga facilitator. I have a bachelor degrees in Business Administration and Information Technology, and a masters degree in Information Management Systems. So these skills have been very beneficil in running the studio.
I love to teach the Rocket for all levels. The modifications and variation provide everyone their own yoga practice, an experience, a joyney on the mat that can influence the Life off the mat.