By Sarah and Mason Levey, Founders
Yoga is one of the most ancient forms of movement, so it’s not often that something in the yoga world is brand new or shocking. That is, until Y7 Yoga Studio decided to turn yoga on its head. Turn down the lights, put on a bumping hip hop album, and take on a fast-paced flow, all in 60 minutes – and you have Y7 Studio. Founders Sarah and Mason Levey created the type of yoga they would want to do everyday, and it seems that others feel the same — as they now have three studios in NYC and plenty of buzz. Looking for a fresh take on your yoga practice? Sarah explains why Y7 may be just the thing.
How Y7 has given a different take on yoga. We looked at the yoga industry, and put in what we felt was missing. We wanted a practice with music we wanted to listen to, that inspired us. We wanted to sweat and move. We wanted a place where people could practice and not be worried about what the person next to them looked like, to fall and not care, to be ourselves and get deeper into our own individual practice. All of our classes are 60 minutes, you will not find 90 min or 120 min classes on our schedule. People are busy — we wanted to provide a yoga experience that would make you sweat, really work your muscles, and give you a good workout — but we also wanted to maintain the basic teachings and spiritual aspect of the practice.
Why we started the studio. When we first moved to New York, my husband and I tried countless studios and classes at gyms. No matter what type of class I took, I always left feeling like something was missing, that I needed to go to the gym or take another, more cardio-based class. To be honest, I really felt like I was wasting time and money, and I stopped practicing altogether. My husband was always a consistent yogi and after feeling the same frustrations time after time, we decided to do something about it and created Y7.
Why hip hop. Why not?! I think that people want to workout to music they enjoy listening to. Hip hop music has such a great variation of beats, it’s perfect for the fast-paced one breath to one movement practice that we offer.
Why yoga needed a face-lift. When we were starting Y7, the yoga studios around us seemed to carry an air of seriousness to them. To me, there was too much thinking about the positions and the exact posture you’re supposed to be in. Yoga needed to be brought back to the individual — it’s about your body and what feels right for you — not anyone else. It’s not that serious, if you have fun with it, you will undoubtedly surprise yourself and discover that you can do anything you set your mind to.
By turning the lights off and only lighting the studio with candles, and taking away mirrors, we force students to focus on how their body feels, instead of how it looks, which engages muscle memory. As someone who was not always comfortable with my body and felt self conscious in a room full of back-bending models and dancers, I think the atmosphere of the room has really encouraged people who would normally not be into yoga to give it a try. My favorite thing to hear from a client is that Y7 made them like yoga — because really, that’s why we started all this!
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.