Warning: Ritual Hot Yoga May Be Habit-Forming
Normally, when you receive a text asking, "Anyone up for a Calvin Harris v. Avicii class Friday night?” someone is inviting you to SoulCycle. But mashups and music battles are no longer the exclusive territory of HIIT. SoMa’s Ritual Hot Yoga is introducing clubby, music-driven workout vibes to entirely new territory: the yoga studio.
I often find myself drawing comparisons between Ritual and Soul. There's the dark room, the candles, the fully-stocked studio and bathrooms. Most yoga studios charge for mat or towel rental. At Ritual, mats, grippy mat towels, and sweat towels are provided.
Then there’s the actual class. Much like Soul, Ritual believes in moving (and breathing) to the beat of the music. Instead of the traditional Enya or Tycho, instructors queue up Top 40 music and mashups, even hosting themed "Club Ritual" classes, like the aforementioned Euro DJ face-off. Instructors share inspirational mantras woven with stories about overcoming obstacles in their own lives. And there's the point when Ritual surpasses the full-service Soul experience: during savasana, one of the instructors will place a cold, eucalyptus scented washcloth over your eyes. It sounds extravagant—and it is—but once you've experienced it, you'll be spoiled for life.
While it’s described as all-levels, I hesitate to recommend this class to true beginners. After the instructor introduces the series of poses, the pace really picks up. I'm a semi-regular yogi, and I sometimes find myself struggling to follow the flow. That said, Ritual is a friendly, accepting environment, and there are two instructors for every class. If you need help getting the hang of it, someone will be there to assist you. Since it's in a dark room, your classmates won't notice if you stumble.
As far as yoga classes go, this one is pricey: a single drop-in class is $30, a ten-class pack is $250, or you can sign up for an unlimited monthly membership for $250. (To put that in perspective, a membership at Moxie is only $139 per month, while a monthly membership at Yoga Tree is $155.) But, with the additional cost comes that complimentary gear perks, and the knowledge that all Ritual instructors are full-time employees with benefits. (That's rare in the fitness industry, where many instructors are independent contractors.)
If you're looking to rock out while twisting yourself into a pretzel, it's time to add Ritual to your yoga routine.