Anatomy of a Ritual — Susan’s Ritual of Hot Yoga

Woman in Yoga Posture
On May 25, 2017 by Team EO in ANATOMY OF A RITUAL

Anatomy of a Ritual: Susan Griffin-Black’s Hot Yoga

We all have our rituals—the things we mindfully do every day, each week or sometimes, simply as often as we can, that help to center us. Whether it’s dabbing a beloved scent on a wrist each morning or phoning a friend at the end of a long day, our rituals remind us that there’s beauty in the little things and help us to find and celebrate the pause in life.

We sat down with EO co-founder Susan Griffin-Black to discuss one ritual that’s impacted her deeply.

I have many routines that have taken the form of ritual. But, a routine really only becomes a ritual when it has meaning on several levels, and when it’s incorporated into my life with heartfelt purpose. I practice hot yoga five times a week, and that’s definitely a ritual.

Yoga is a big one because it’s mind, body and spirit. It all comes together and enables me to make the transition from work to meditation, and then on to whatever I’m doing afterward.

Many times, I’m getting to the studio just under the wire, so I really have to focus on calming down and being in a different space as I’m leaving work and driving, which can be difficult, but a good thing to notice. We have EO Hand Sanitizer in the studio, so I wipe down my mat, then I put some oil in my hair (when I can remember).

There are 26 postures, one to two times, over an hour and a half. Something about the form allows the practice to flourish. It’s very precise, which some find boring. But, for me, embracing a ritual that’s been practiced for 2500 years by an awful lot of people enhances the depth of it. Precision allows me to surrender to the form, so I’m participating without thinking. It’s also one of the only times that I’m unplugged.

There are days when all I can think is, “Am I really going to do this again?” It’s a mystery to me why we resist doing the things that are good for us, but I think ritual helps us bypass that. So, as long as I get to the parking lot, I’m going in. Because while it’s a personal ritual, the benefits are felt by a lot of people. When you bring peace to yourself, it’s reflected back out in your actions.

The idea that we’re all interconnected isn’t an idea; it’s a living reality. The peace of mind that comes from my practice is invested in my relationships with everybody—my kids, my partner, the people that I work with. I think that, in general, yoga makes me more thoughtful, calmer, kinder, gracious. I know who I am and what’s important to me, so the business and the way that we work together has been infused with the priorities of the practice.

People say it takes 21 days to form a habit and 30 days for that habit to set in. But a ritual is not habit, and it’s not routine. It’s something that has more of an integrated body and mind, maybe spiritual, maybe even emotional component, and yoga is something that makes me feel grateful. Every time.