When I feel of yoga, 50 Cent and Nelly don’t precisely come to thoughts. (Though fascinating aspect observe: Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson reportedly tried yoga once—and located it method more durable than he anticipated it’d be).
Yet “50 Cent vs. Nelly” was the theme of the Hip Hop Wednesday class I lately took at one of Y7 Studio’s latest and largest studios in New York City’s Meatpacking District—and the founder of this fast-growing yoga studio chain advised me their music choices are a huge purpose why Y7 has gone from a pop-up to a 10-studio enterprise in simply 5 years. (They’re additionally slated to open yet one more studio in NYC this fall, and have plans to increase the model nationally to new markets, together with Chicago and San Francisco.)
“Music is such a powerful motivator, and we utilize that to get through the more challenging parts of class, says Y7 Founder/CEO Sarah Larson Levey, 31, a former fashion executive. “Our clients are able to lose themselves in the music and clear their minds of negative thoughts associated with the physical challenge of the asana,” she says. “We play everything from instrumentals to hip-hop to pop to EDM to electronic music. Each instructor has their own style, and we want them to showcase the music they love.”
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Hip-Hop, Selfies, and Candlelight: What Makes Y7 a Unique Yoga Studio
Non-traditional music isn’t the one factor that units Y7 aside. Billed because the yoga studio for millennials by some media retailers, Y7 additionally options yoga selfie cubicles (at some places), candlelight, and infrared heating, in addition to a trending attire line. More importantly, it strives to make yoga much less intimidating and extra accessible for all, with enjoyable courses like their signature WeFlowHard™ vinyasa class, which is choreographed to music starting from Cardi B to A Tribe Called Quest.
“Y7 was born from my dissatisfaction in the yoga offerings around me,” says Levey. “I was always really intimidated and self-conscious when practicing in a classroom filled with mirrors and bright light. I wanted somewhere I could sweat, have a consistent experience, and feel empowered to take my practice in the direction I wanted.”
At Y7, the room is darkish and candlelit in order to remove the distraction of bodily comparability. What’s extra, academics are instructed to permit area in every class for modifications, relaxation, and free-form movement. “Sweat dripping” courses are additionally a key half of Y7’s model. In the studios, you’ll discover the pun-ny phrase “A Tribe Called Sweat” inscribed on the partitions; Y7 makes use of infrared heating to get temps up to 90 levels (Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” was a becoming music selection on the day I visited, even when it’s been caught in my head ever since).
Classes are additionally a bit shorter than conventional yoga courses at 60 minutes (50-minute “express” courses are additionally provided), with the objective being to work via the seven chakras inside the hour. Hence the model identify: Y for yoga and seven for the seven chakras.
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Business Is Booming: The Secret to Y7’s Success
Since opening their first pop-up yoga studio in Brooklyn in 2013, Y7 has grown to consist of 10 places throughout two markets (New York and Los Angeles). Four of these new studios opened in 2018 alone, together with the West Coast flagship in Silver Lake, Calif., and three studios in New York City.
Y7 additionally debuted their very own clothes line in 2016, which has helped to develop their e-commerce 330% from 2016 to 2017, and their top-line income grew 52% in 2017 vs. 2016, with extra progress anticipated in 2018, in accordance to their advertising division.
So, how did Y7 go from a humble pop-up to a flourishing enterprise in such a brief interval of time? Levey says there’s no secret to her success. “I created a yoga experience that I was craving and couldn’t find,” she says. “I feel passionate about how we practice, and I’m grateful other people feel the same way.”
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YJ Tried It: Hip Hop Wednesday at Y7
The Hip Hop Wednesday class I took at Y7 was my first yoga class since I gave start to my son 7 months in the past, and I felt free and inspired to movement at my very own tempo and to take as a lot relaxation as I wanted. It was enjoyable to faucet my foot in Down Dog to “old-school” hits like “In da Club,” even when the music was a little loud and distracting at occasions. When I requested Levey whether or not yoga purists take difficulty with Y7’s unconventional tunes, she advised me she doesn’t actually concentrate to haters.
“I try not to listen to the criticism of how we have chosen to practice,” says Levey. “The lovely factor about yoga is that it’s for everyone. Everyone ought to really feel welcome to be a half of it and never really feel as if there are conditions or a sure method they need to follow. I like to steer clear of judgment of those that do not know us or perceive why we do what we do.”
Want a style of a Y7 yoga class playlist? Here’s one they created to rejoice hiring their 100th instructor in June 2018.
About the Author
Jennifer D’Angelo Friedman is a freelance author and editor based mostly in NYC. She has been a contributor to YogaJournal.com since 2013.
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