Always on the fence about yoga, Ritual has made me fall in love with this hot practice.
Music pumping. Sweat dripping. Muscles shaking. Does this sound like yoga to you? In the most traditional sense, it doesn’t, but it’s just the kind of yoga I crave, and basically the only kind of yoga I can get through mentally. Welcome to Ritual Hot Yoga, my #1 yoga spot in San Francisco.
I’ve struggled with yoga for years. I know it’s good for me, but I tend to get bored and think of all the other workouts I could be doing instead, burning way more calories in half the time. But again, yoga has its purpose. For me, I need an upbeat, fast-moving and sweaty yoga to enjoy it and feel like my time has been well-spent. And this is exactly what Ritual Hot Yoga has to offer, lucky me!
Ritual Hot Yoga Class Overview
Ritual’s classes are fifty minutes and take place in a dark heated room. The classes begin with a guided meditation as you adjust to the darkness and the heat. Once meditation is over, the music takes over. I’m not talking spa sounds, I’m talking rap and hip hop. YES. If you’re not into that type of music, beware. They actually played My Neck, My Back in class last week, I kid you not.
After an introductory flow its onto an abs sequence. Some yogis may scoff at doing crunches in a yoga class but let me tell you, I LOVE this part. Next, you’re slowly taken through a flow with the teacher guiding you. After a few rounds, the teacher stops speaking and the class flows through together, moving to the beat and breath for two more rounds. I’m not an experienced yogi and I tend to forget choreography of flows very quickly, yet even I can handle the sequences because the instructors are that good.
There are a lot of things that set Ritual apart from most other yoga studios. For my New Yorkers (or former NYers living in SF, there are a lot of us), Ritual is similar to Y7. At Ritual I’m a huge fan of the music, I cannot deal with music-less yoga. In addition to your main instructor, there is an assistant walking around to help you with poses, meaning you get tons of hands-on corrections and help getting into poses. Sometimes they just come over and massage you—um amazing. You also get a cold towel placed over your eyes as well as a mini neck/head massage during the closing words. DREAMY.
The Studio Space
The studio space is really lovely at Ritual. I’ve been to some hot yoga studios that are cramped and when there are 40 sweaty people in a cramped room or lobby, ew. Not here, tons of space. The studio provides mats and towels and the mats are pre-set up so you don’t have to worry about being too close to another sweaty person (a reason why Bikram can be a really nasty experience). The studio has showers, lockers and complimentary bottled water (I know this is such a small thing, but those small details make a huge difference!).
Behind the Scenes of Ritual Hot Yoga
If you attend Ritual, you may notice that all the instructors are really into the studio, they are very present and very much representing the studio, and there’s a reason. Unlike traditional studios and gyms, the instructors are fully employed by Ritual. As employees, they are salaried, given benefits, sick days and vacation days. They are encouraged to grow with the company and make it their home. As a fitness instructor myself, let me explain why this is such an amazing concept. Sure, not all instructors want to be a full-time instructor or associated with one studio or gym, some instructors do it on the side or like working at multiple places. But something really special happens when you are all-in on one studio.
Currently, I teach at 3 different studios. While I like the variety, it’s exhausting. I’m running from studio to studio, the policies are different at each place (like how to get a sub, how you get paid, pay structure, what’s expected of you as an instructor, language you should and shouldn’t use when teaching, etc). Because I’m a contractor at these studios it means no benefits, vacations or sick days. If I can’t teach my class, no pay for me. I can see why teaching at one place and being fully employed by that studio is such a game changer. Not to make this about me and to complain, but it can be really challenging to have a lot expected of you from each studio you teach at, just being paid one-off per class. So as someone who has experienced the fitness world from the instructor side, I truly love what Ritual is doing. If I were a yoga instructor I’d be applying right now! But alas, I am not, so I’ll just continue being a student at the studio.
Interested in checking out Ritual Hot Yoga? Use code ANDISRITUALS! & get your first class free!
Thank you to Ritual Hot Yoga and Lucky Collective for partnering on this post & experience!