By Sarah Levey, Founder of Y7 Yoga
As one of the founders of Y7 Yoga Studio, one of the questions I get asked the most is, why hip hop? The loud bass, the sometimes explicit lyrics — it seems like it would be the opposite of yoga. Cue the Y7 community. I have had the pleasure of getting to know a lot of our clients, I have seen friendships form and bonds created; all brought together by this sweat dripping, candlelit, beat bumping yoga. And it is those beats... there's just something about it. When you hear hip hop you just want to move.
You can take the community of hip hop way back to the block parties of the 1970's, when it was just a group of friends and family on the street with turntables. What started then as an underground subculture has emerged and evolved into more than just rap music — it has become a platform that incorporates art, fashion, politics, technology, you name it and there is a hip hop song about it (chicken noodle soup with a soda on the side anyone?). Hip hop has brought people together through all of these avenues and we are looking to do that with fitness.
It was Nelly who made me fall in love with hip hop. Country Grammar was my life in sixth grade — I knew every single lyric to Ride Wit Me and I felt like such a badass when I finally purchased the CD behind my parents’ back.(That parental advisory warning really didn't sit well with them!) I've been hooked ever since.
At Y7, we offer Vinyasa flows which focus on the practice of linking breath to movement. What better way to cue those breaths than to the beats of Jay-Z or Big Sean?! It is also just fun.
There can sometimes be a pretentious nature when it comes to the fitness industry: Is my form right? Do I look okay? Am I chanting the right mantras? Am I wearing the right clothes? Am I coordinated enough? Am I good enough to be in the front row?
At Y7, we bring the practice back to the individual by creating an environment where everyone’s body is different, everyone is in a different place in their journey, and there is no reason to judge that. When you enter the mirrorless, dark, candlelit room, we want you to forget all the preconceived notions about what yoga is supposed to be. And when Drake comes on — close your eyes and just flow.
Sarah Levey was born and raised in Michigan and went to the University of Wisconsin, graduating with a BS in Consumer Science. She moved to New York City after graduation to pursue a career in the Fashion industry, in which she worked for 4 years. It was during this time that Sarah and Mason started Y7 Studio, and in the Spring of 2015 Sarah left her career to focus solely on the studio.
Mason Levey was born and raised in Michigan, and moved to NYC with his wife Sarah just over 5 years ago. Mason has a background in digital advertising and startup technology companies, having worked with several in the NYC area, where he was most recently Vice President of Video Advertising at YellowHammer Media Group. Today, Y7 Studio, once a side yoga passion project, is now his full-time role, helping to spearhead national growth and development.