Frequently Asked Questions
Is Ritual right for beginners?
Ritual is an all-levels practice designed for beginners and veterans alike. While the practice is meant to be accessible to a person who has never done a single yoga pose before, please be aware that the class offers 50-minutes of vigorous activity for all students. Poses with advanced variations are offered with 4 levels, Level 1 being the expression of the pose suitable for most bodies, with opportunities to increase strength and flexibility from that starting place. If you are nervous about trying yoga for the first time, come a few minutes early so that a concierge or assistant can answer any questions you might have.
What are the benefits of practicing at Ritual?
There are so many! The benefits extend to your body and mind, not to mention the dynamic community of students and teachers that are housed within each studio. Why practice? Here are just a few reasons:
- INCREASE FLEXIBILITY: Classes are designed with different types of stretching such as PNF, active, and passive stretches which target muscles in various ways for increased effectiveness.
- BUILD STRENGTH: Ritual incorporates long holds in poses as well as bursts of movements known as “flows” that use body weight to strengthen muscles. The practice is more physically intense than the average class, with dedicated core sets and invited inversions (or additional core work to build the strength to invert) offered in every class.
- SWEAT AND RELEASE: As the humidity and heat in the room climbs, your body sweats and sweating feels good. There’s not a one-on-one correlation between sweat and detox – that is a popular fitness myth, but practicing in the heat has been proven to boost metabolism long after the practice has ended, as well as provide a sense of physical lightness and mental clarity.
- FIND FOCUS: Breathing to the beat of the music the entire class invites the mind to stay present in each moment. In conjunction with the heat, the darkness and the rigor of the practice, Ritual classes create a completely enveloping experience meant to provide you the opportunity to escape the bullshit and the chaos of your busy life off the mat. The breath has the power to change the heart rate, calm the central nervous system, and focus the mind. A regular Ritual practice teaches you to take this calming tool with you when you go.
What makes a Ritual practice different than any other practice?
Ritual Hot Yoga is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. Students breathe, move, and sweat to the beat of the music during the entire 50-minute practice, inviting the chance to get lost in what becomes a dance between the body and the breath. The flows move quickly and the music is loud. All classes take place in a candle-lit room perfectly heated to 98 degrees. Once you find yourself in savasana, enjoy a mini massage complete with essential oils and a cool eucalyptus towel over your eyes. It is the ultimate release.
How should I prepare for class?
Come to class well-hydrated. The daily recommendation for fluids is between 64-80 ounces for the average human. On days you know you are practicing, drink more than usual and supplement with electrolytes before or during class if you like. Make sure your body is sufficiently fueled and rested. It is recommended to refrain from eating a heavy meal within two hours of practice. Please bring suitable clothes for movement, including breathable shorts, leggings, and sports bras. T-shirts and tanks are optional.
How often should I practice?
It’s up to you. For optimal benefits, practicing three times per week or more allows your body to start to learn the peak pose as well as acclimate to the heat and rigor of the practice. Strength and flexibility and dedication. Practice, and all will come. But don’t overdo it. Give yourself at least one rest day per week.
Why is there an assistant and can I opt out of being touched?
Two certified teachers conduct each class. One teacher guides the sequence of the class, while the assistant provides hands-on adjustments and demonstrations of the flows and complex poses. Assistants support you in everything from offering advancements, feel-good assists, and modifications for injury, to grabbing you an extra water bottle. If you prefer not to be physically assisted – that is a beautiful choice. Just let the assisting teacher know prior to the start of practice, or when s/he first approaches you, and you will be offered only verbal assists or none at all depending on your personal preferences.
So you say you are “All Inclusive.” Why and what exactly do you include?
Life is chaotic enough. Ritual Hot Yoga strives to foster an environment where all you have to think about are the 50 minutes you have set aside to do yoga. Premium mats, mat towels, face towels, chilled water bottles, tea, shower towels, luxury bath products, lockers, and amenities from hair ties to bags for transporting sweaty post-yoga clothes, plus a fully-stocked beauty bar are all provided as part of the practice.
Each studio has three dedicated showers and changing facilities as well as a lounge area for before or after class. Ritual studios also offer top-of-the-line retail with premium brands such as Beyond Yoga and Alo, as well as specially branded Ritual gear, available for purchase.
What is Ritual Yin?
Ritual Yin is designed to evoke release and relaxation. It comes with all the amenities of a regular Ritual class, right down to the cool eucalyptus towel massage, however it is a completely different physical practice with a unique set of challenges. Ritual Yin consists only of held poses (i.e. no flows or chaturangas) designed in a sequence to fully open the body as well as provide opportunities for functional strength building and deeper breath work. It is a beautiful compliment to the Ritual Hot Yoga class, and can be done immediately following or as a stand-alone practice.
Why do you have a weekly peak pose?
The Ritual practice is designed for sustainability and growth. Students who come to class three or more times a week have repeated opportunities to lengthen and strengthen the muscles and explore the techniques invited by the peak pose. What seemed like an impossible shape on Monday becomes if not attainable, at least imaginable by the end of the week. Focusing on a single peak pose all week long means students see consistent results more quickly than attending a week of haphazardly choreographed classes.
What’s the point of a weekly class intention?
Ritual teaches more than just breath and poses. Yoga philosophy and the ways in which ancient teachings are applicable to modern life are at the core of our practice. Weekly intentions allow you to learn the different philosophies that inspire your teachers, as well as invite you to explore the part of the yoga practice that transcends the physical. Intentions are invitations. Take what works and leave what doesn’t.
Can I practice at Ritual if I am pregnant?
Please consult with your prenatal care provider as the Ritual Hot Yoga class is considered high intensity and high heat (about 98 degrees). When considering a Ritual practice, please discuss with your care provider your current exercise level/activity and whether you been exposed to the heat regularly prior to pregnancy. It is not recommended to introduce this practice into your pregnancy.
If you have other prenatal yoga questions or wish to discuss the practice further, Ritual has a certified prenatal yoga teacher on staff who is available for private lessons and individual or specially designed group practices at low to zero heat in the San Francisco studios. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your inquiries.
Is there parking?
Ritual does not offer dedicated parking at this time. Please ensure sufficient time to find street parking near the studio or take advantage of public transportation. Bicycle parking is available in front of our studios, and limited in-studio bike storage is also provided on a first-come, first-served basis.
SOMA LOCATION: Street parking is available during certain hours on the 2 main cross streets and the back alley behind the studio. Please read all street signs for hours and rules. 6th Street has free 2 hour parking during certain times of the day. Brannan Street has metered parking (during certain hours) and Harriet Street (alley way behind the studio) has 2 hour parking as well.
FiDi LOCATION: Street parking is limited along Kearny Street and we suggest public transportation including BART and MUNI. The closest BART stop is the Montgomery Street stop which is located only about a block away from the FiDi location.
CHICAGO LOCATION: Street parking is typically available on Franklin Street in front of the studio (near Franklin/Chicago) and is $4/hour. The pay boxes accept cash and credit cards.
How does the waitlist work?
If class is full, you may still sign up for class and be added to the waitlist. One minute prior the time of the class, we check the roster to see if everyone who signed up for class has checked-in. At that point, if not everyone has checked-in, we will open up the waitlist.
Is there somewhere to store my things?
Yes! We have a lounge with individual self-locking lockers, first come first serve. If anything is left behind after class, items are moved into our lost and found bin.
*Ritual Hot Yoga is not responsible for any items left in lockers or left behind after class so please be aware of the items that you bring into the studio. There is no guaranteed time period we’ll hold a found item so please ensure you email email@example.com as soon as you’ve noticed you may have left something behind and we will do our best to accommodate.
What if I am running late or unable to make a class I signed up for?
A $25 no-show fee is automatically assessed each time a class is missed or if the student fails to cancel within 2 hours of the listed start time. If a student cancels a class at least 2 hours before class begins, no fee will be charged. We have more students who wish to attend class than mats available to practice, and this policy encourages students who have reserved a space they cannot use to timely cancel so another student can sweat it out. Cancelling a class is easy. You can do so via the website, mobile app, phone, or email.
We start class at the time posted on the schedule and begin with a few minutes of seated meditation. Meditation is sacred time for the class to settle into their practice, so if you are running late you may join the class after meditation. We allow for any late students to join class once the instructor has cued movement of the body.