We never thought in a million years that doing sun salutations to Drake and Fetty Wap could feel so... zen.
Y7 Studio is unlike any yoga studio out there — and we’ve recently become obsessed. Picture being in a dark, candle-lit heated room with no mirrors and hip hop blasting through the speakers. It’s an intense yet refreshing take on yoga — an alternative to the often “boring” reputation it may have for some.
We chatted with the Brooklyn-based co-founder Sarah Larson Levey about what makes Y7 different from the pack, her work philosophy and, of course, her favorite music to play during yoga sessions.
Name: Sarah Larson Levey
Education: University of Wisconsin BS Consumer Science
Title: Co-founder of Y7 Studio
Tell us how it all started. What made you decide to open a yoga studio?
After 3 years of living in NYC, I had completely stopped practicing yoga, I couldn't find anywhere that I felt home at. That’s when we decided to start Y7. It all started as a pop-up to bring like minded yogis together and from there we grew from a small 8 person studio to 6 studios between NYC and LA.
What makes Y7 different from other yoga studios?
At Y7, we practice in a dark candlelit room with no mirrors and heated by infrared heating technology. We also put a big focus on music — all of our playlists are hip hop inspired and are created to keep the students motivated during the difficult parts of class.
Once people discover Y7, they're hooked (myself included). What is it about hot yoga and hip hop that make people so refreshed when they leave the room?
I think people leave happy because the hip hop music is upbeat and motivating and inspires students in the room to push themselves. People leave feeling strong and proud of themselves.
What is your philosophy when it comes to work?
Don't sweat the small stuff. There have been so many times that little things have bothered me and in the past I used to focus on them until I drove myself crazy! I have realized that you just have to go with it and as long as you are focused and give it your all, things will fall into place.
What do you look for when seeking out Y7 yoga instructors?
I look for kind, open minded and friendly instructors. Since Y7 is not "traditional," anyone who works for us has to be open minded into changing the way they may have previously taught. Y7 brings all levels of clients and it’s important to welcome everyone in kindness.
When you're not running Y7, what do you do to relax, especially in a fast-paced city like New York?
Oh goodness. I really love just being at home cooking with a glass of wine and my husband and dogs.
What else would you be doing if you weren't running a yoga studio?
Still working in fashion. I was an account executive at a multi-line showroom and I loved it!
What advice can you give to aspiring young female entrepreneurs?
Let go of all your fears and just go for it! It is TERRIFYING to finally make that leap into what you are passionate about, but I promise you will regret it if you don't try.
Favorite yoga pose:
Favorite track/album to play while doing yoga:
Obsessed with Majid Jordan at the moment
Favorite celebrity who came through Y7:
Joyful Almond from Juice Generation (it’s basically dessert)
It’s like this now.
Photo credit: Jake Pritchard