Written by Nadia Ibanez, photos courtesy of Ritual Hot Yoga
I think I’m closing in on my eight or nine year anniversary of practicing yoga. I go to yoga to clear my head; to stretch and get a work out in; to get grounded; and to give myself an hour everyday to find balance and breathe. But my workouts, and my life, completely changed once I started practicing hot yoga. I first discovered it in Encinitas maybe four or five years ago and I’m so grateful to have found it.
There’s something so gratifying about seeing your body literally pour out sweat while you’re moving to the beats with your breath. It’s hard to explain but if you’re a yogi like me, you just get it. I found my yoga home at Corepower Yoga in Encinitas. Everyday that I went truly felt like I was going home. My teachers supported me in and out of class, with physical adjustments and words that resonated with me and where I was at in life that very exact moment.
Life has taken me on a crazy journey these last few years and the only constant was my yoga practice.
I’ve since found my yoga home in the City at Corepower SF and I love all of my instructors. This studio is blocks from my office and it’s where I run to when I need some peace. This month I decided to mix things up a bit and check out this hot yoga studio that I’ve had my eye on for several months.
I first found out at Ritual Hot Yoga on Instagram; somehow we found each other on the social media wave. I was reminded of them again when one of my favorite Instagram-famous yogis mentioned her practice at the studio. It was destiny. I had to check these guys out.
Ritual Hot Yoga is located in SOMA around the corner from the headquarters of tech powerhouses like Airbnb and Pinterest. The studio looks modest from the outside but once you step inside, everything you could possibly need or want is at your fingertips.
This is the first time I’ve been a member at one of those fancy, all-inclusive studios. All you have to do is bring yourself. A mat, a yogitoes towel, hand towel, block and mat clips are all provided and set up in the studio when you arrive. Sip on some tea, check your Instagram with their free wifi, or play with the studio dogs if they’re hanging out. Bottled water is available, as well as showers and every bathroom amenity is available for use before or after class.
Classes at Ritual aren’t like your average yoga practice. Step inside the huge, heated room and you’ll never have to worry about accidentally bumping into your neighbor as mats are perfectly spaced from each other. Classes are held in dark, candlelit rooms so you’ll really have to force yourself to be present, without staring at others or yourself in the mirror. The faint smell of Nag Champa wafts through the air.
Instructors are hooked up to mics and each class begins with a guided meditation about the week’s theme and purpose. Then the party starts. Music booms through the speakers so if you’re into mellow classes, this place not be right for you. The music selection is so on point. Feel like moving your booty to some old school jams or hip hop? This place might just top all of the clubs in the area.
Sometimes you’ll try out a yoga class and you’ll feel like your teacher is just going through the motions and reading from a script while teaching. But all of the instructors I’ve had at Ritual add their own personality to class, whether they’re bouncing around and dancing during class, or sharing intimate stories about their struggles and their life. All of the instructors at Ritual Hot Yoga are amazing.
Classes are 50 minutes so it’s perfect if you need a lunch time break from the office. There’s one to two adjusters in every class so you’ll definitely get some hands-on love if you want it. Oh, and the adjusters come by and offer neck and shoulder massages during meditation and savasana. Swoon! A cold towel is placed on your forehead during your final rest and believe me when I say this will be one of the best parts of class after getting your booty whooped during this fast-paced class.
As crazy, busy and transient as city life can be, I somehow always find a way to find my yoga home. Ritual Hot Yoga is definitely a place I could see myself spending a lot of time at this year. If you live in the City and are looking to spice up your workout regimen, check these guys out. And tell them I sent you. For more information, visit http://www.studioritual.com/.