“What!!??” I blurted to my mac when I read Larry Schultz’s obituary.
He was a long time yogi, in the true sense. I wouldn’t call what we did at It’s Yoga Ashtanga. The Rocket was definitely inspired by but certainly would not fly if you tried it with Guruji. But, that discussion is for another post.
I was totally intimidated the first time I approached It’s on Folsom Street. The studio was on the second floor then. You went up a long flight of stairs. I think there was a statue or something yogic at the top. Nothing else really let you know if you walked through the right door.
My first visit, I got there right at 6pm, technically late. I tried to quietly tip toe up the stairs, over the shoes along the way. My head popped up over the low wall and I saw dozens (I mean DOZENS) of people, mat to mat, moving through something too quick to figure out. My eye met Larry’s, I shrugged, he waved and I left.
When I finally showed up on time (15 min before class), I had no mat and didn’t realize I’d walked into a level 2-3 Rocket. I signed the waiver, rented a mat and was told “I’d be fine”.
“Surya Namaskara A!”
ok..can’t touch my toes…alright, step back…belly flop…shoulder shrug…downward dog…at least I know this pose…Jebus, how long to we have to stay here…alright, still can’t touch my toes…whew, glad that’s over!
whattya mean again?
I got through four more of those and 2 out of 5 Surya Namaskara B’s. It certainly looked easier on tv. I think I snored in savasana…I was wiped out.
Through the years, it got easier. I feel in love with the ropes and slings. The studio expanded. The space downstairs held, at least, twice as many people. I even started practicing at the front of the room.
The whole time, I don’t remember ever being coddled or pampered. At It’s, you were thrown in and told to swim. Maybe, it was a different time.
The thing was that we all knew how to swim. Going back to the teachings of yoga, it’s all there, we’ve just forgotten. That’s what I loved most about It’s Yoga.
No doubt, there was some drama. Yoga studios can be settings for soap operas but I managed to avoid it. No matter what went down, you couldn’t say Larry ever lied. He was always honest about who he was and what he wanted. I really appreciate that.
To this day, while teaching, I can’t say the word Chaturanga without remembering my days on Folsom St. Some students may even notice a smirk on my face because sometimes I still hear Larry echoing in my head. (photo of Larry’s practice taken by: Eric Broder Van Dyke)