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Y7’s Sarah Levey on Fitness Fads and Justin Timberlake

The yoga and fitness entrepreneur chats with us ahead of opening her studio’s 10th location

As with many of our favorite boutique fitness studios nowadays, Y7 Studio’s proof is in the experience. As much as its yoga classes will tone and stretch, what really distinguishes the studio is its unique soundtrack, which ranges from slow-burning hip-hop to the newest pop hits. The combination’s effect is something like being transformed into a spandex-wearing, cold water-guzzing version of Cardi B (the studio’s infrared-powered heat hovers between 80 and 90 degrees).

All that said, the proof might also be in founder Sarah Levey’s personal dedication in the Y7 lifestyle. As I set my mat down as of Drake’s “Just Hold On” starts to play, I see 31-year-old Levey two mats down from me, also vibing out to Drake as we transition into chaturanga dandasana.

The first hip-hop song that Levey tried to practice yoga to was Timbaland’s “Carry-Out.” “I was like, ‘Oh, okay,’” she says. 10 years later, Levey had taken a yoga to a whole new high-octane level; this is “sweat drippin’, beat bumpin’, candlelit yoga,” accordign to the company slogan. And the hype, ladies and gentlemen, is real.

“I think we saw this really big boom in 2017 of all these crazy concepts,” she says of the boutique studio craze, “and I think in the next couple years [it’ll be] the studios that have a real connection to what they do that have staying power. We work so hard on consistency—I’m never going to add weights into the class just because that’s the ‘hot’ thing to do,” she says. “You look at studios that have been open for 10+ years and they provide that signature experience that people can really count on.”

Inside Y7 Studio’s Bryant Park Location

Inside Y7 Studio’s Bryant Park Location

On top of opening her eighth New York City location in Bryant Park, not to mention two more Silver Lake and West Hollywood, Levey has also just launched a health-coaching component to Y7—a six-week program that focuses on relationships, food, career, money and self-care. “All of those things tied together affect your health,” she explains. All of those things also apply to anyone, from the most intense yogi to someone (maybe more like myself) who uses yoga as a go-to form of stress relief after a couple weeks of living the New York lifestyle. “When I first move to New York City I couldn’t find a studio I loved, whether it was because I didn’t feel welcome or I couldn’t find an instructor I loved,” Levey explains. “Yoga wasn’t supposed to be this super intimidating experience.”

But despite the personalized attention she offers, Levey emphasizes the democratic spirit of the classes—which start at $25—as illustrated by the studio’s minimalist decor. “I want our clients to create their own experience,” Levey says of the straightforward, tastefully-decorated spaces. “So I want them to come in totally open-minded, not seeing anything to clutter their vision like things on the wall. That’s why it’s a simple black-and-white—it’s the client’s practice, it’s not about me.”

Main image: Sarah Levey (photo: courtesy of Y7)