Yoga for badasses…. Seriously. We didn’t realize that yoga could be so chic and edgy until we stepped through the doors of the Y7 Bryant Park studio. Looking to get your yoga on without all of the secretly judgemental Namastes? Dying to take a class not dominated by impossibly thin pretzel people? Welcome to The Tribe Called Sweat. Instead of Namaste (which we know secretly means “Go F#ck Yourself”) you’re greeted with a Namastizzle. Their offering is a hot, candlelit, vinyasa flow experience set to a loud soundtrack of jams, typically hip hop. It really is a dream come true for those of us who just don’t feel comfortable in traditional ultra zen or crunchy yoga studios.
In Y7’s classes you will get the same adrenaline high as you do from a Barrys or SOUL class. The choice to use a vinyasa style yoga means you never stop moving. I mean, taking class with this brand really opened our eyes to just how athletic yoga can be. It’s no wonder their catch phrase is “We Flow Hard”! You’ll have earned the right to carry yourself with a little more swagger after class. In fact, you may find a stronger version of yourself through this type of yoga than you do in any bootcamp or HIIT class. Surprised? We were too.
Disclaimer: There’s no difference in class style between We Flow Hard & Hip Hop Wednesdays/Sundays. The name change for W & Sun are just to give you a heads up about the genre of music you’ll be vibing on in class. Any other day you might hear everything from Pop to R&B, maybe some House thrown in.
So what EXACTLY are you getting out of this non-traditional yoga spirit quest… we mean class? An hour long vinyasa flow style class that has 3 different flows segmented into 3 different sections. First, you go through a slow burn, breaking down each pose and holding it for several breaths. Second comes “one breath, one movement” where you flow from one pose to the next in line with your breathing. Finally, you take the flow on your own. At this point the music goes up and you can start to freestyle a bit by adding additional poses, headstands, maybe even an difficult toehold – woah living on the edge! Once you reach that final set of flows you’ll be thinking, “oh man bring on the savasana” (aka a beautiful mini nap for those who don’t speak yogi). But, before you can get to that sweet promised land, you have to get through what is called the “final push” or “final work”. This can range from a one legged bridge series to, an ab crunching boat pose raise and lower, to an extra long plank. Unlike a gentle style of yoga, this is a speedy yoga that would work up a sweat even if you weren’t inside a 90+ degree room.
Y7 classes are open to students of truly EVERY LEVEL with modification options being shared like mono at a middle school dance. Plus you don’t have to be an expert or have a dictionary guide for yoga terminology – everything is described super clearly. If you are more advanced, there’s tons of time to work on your hand stands or inversions. Oh and did we mention that everyone ends up pretty much half naked? Being a truly non-judgemental zone and that the studio is a balmy 90 degrees, stripping layers off during practice is fairly common. You are going to want to leave the long lulus at home and consider bringing a back up tank for after class. You’ll walk out feeling like you sat in the splash zone on a log flume ride – #SweatyAF.
We can’t really name a yoga instructor we love more than Lauren S. During her intro at the start of class we were getting totally hippie spirit vibes. Her voice has the ideal nurturing and melodic qualities needed to teach these types of classes. Yet, she doesn’t steer totally “granola” in personality. She somehow retains a quality of cool older sister vibes – oozing cool with very little effort.
Have an injury or a question? She’ll pop over and kneel down next to you to chat about it as if you are old friends. Don’t want a hands on adjustment? Totally cool but otherwise she’s super invested in correcting form and provide encouragement wherever she can. Which is good because her classes are always peppered with lots of more challenging moves like crow pose several half moon variation types. Her pace for calling out all of the moves was sheer perfection. And, somehow, the way she delivered her encouragement pushed us to try harder variations of moves we wouldn’t typically ever consider. Now that’s one hell of a gift. Can I get a Namastizzle?
The building entrance and lobby says straight laced corporate, but never fear. The 2nd floor is ALL Y7 down to the stadium seating area and neon prayer hands sign. Y7 studios work off an all black everything aesthetic and this studio is no exception with its black walls, lockers, and even retail displays. The only thing missing? Their characteristic cheeky references to hip hop verses or figures that are scattered around each of their studios (exp. The studios at their UES location are named “Biggie” and “Smalls”).
There’s a ton of space in the lobby and studio room areas, but true to form with NYC studios, the locker, changing, and shower area gets congested real quick. But, knowing this inevitable and frustrating truth, their team made a super wise choice to separate the refresh station from the changing and shower area. Sometimes a girl is just in a hurry and only has time for a little dry shampoo before having to run out. When we do have the time for it, we are pretty obsessed with their 4 “shower rooms” that offer a private space with door to both strip and get our clean on. This studio also totes 4 private stand alone changing rooms that prevent congestion for those making a quick pre-class run to bathroom. Talk about living large!
54 W 39th St 2nd floor, New York, NY 10018 Midtown Yoga $$$
Y7 Studio Bryant Park
Midtown Yoga, $$$
54 W 39th St 2nd floor, New York, NY 10018
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Stephanie is a dream, and we mean that quite literally. She’s the type of yoga instructor you dream about—leading you through class with her soothing, steady voice. Over the course of 60 minutes, she spoke of individuality, owning our body and our own self in practice and in life. The intensity of the physical sequences was perfectly balanced by her calm demeanor. The way she encouraged us was uplifting—like she knew we could do it all along—rather than drill sergeant-esque (hey, we’ve all had those teachers). And then there was savasana, the final resting pose. After a seriously sweaty session, such relaxation was more than welcome, but what made this one arguably the best ever was when Stephanie walked around the room fanning each yogi with a towel infused with peppermint essential oil.
One word: Awesome. Alex’s class has everything you love about Y7. At the beginning of class, she encouraged us to set an intention. Throughout our practice, she emphasized the importance of breath, reminding us to to “take a deep belly breath in” and “reconnect with our breath”. Her sequences made sense—each flow set us up to go deeper in the next one. More practiced yogis might call this “intuitive”. She encouraged and applauded self adjustments. Class closed with a few moments to finish our practice in a way that served our body, and a short but sweet Savasana.
If you’re looking for precision and explicit instruction, then Amy Apgar’s class is for you. Throughout each of the three sequences, Amy spoke of alignment—and not in the rigid way some teachers do. She did it in a direct, simple manner, mentioning specific angles and instructing us to keep our heels under our knees in Warrior II. At Y7, instructors are referred to as artists, and Amy definitely fits that description. Her sequences were perfectly choreographed and took our practice to new and more graceful heights. It was 60 minutes of poetry – albeit extremely sweaty poetry – in motion.
Courtney’s style is to teach a more conventional flow at a lightning fast pace. Because we moved through the sequences so quickly, Courtney’s class felt more like a cardio workout than a yoga practice. Despite her rigorous style, she was incredibly encouraging throughout the entire class. When we felt like we couldn’t do one more arm balance, she hit us with a minute long plank to the tune of some gangster rap. Her class leans more hip hop than yoga, which is a cool change of pace in the hot Y7 heat.
Faye’s Slow Burn class is exactly what the body needs on a cold winter night: it’s hot, soothing and serene. She started practice with a two-minute meditation to set a peaceful tone before moving into slow-paced flow. Different than traditional Y7 classes, Slow Burn is completely instructional and straightforward. Faye’s calming and confident voice guides you through a relatively basic practice that skews to the easier side, though she encourages creativity and free form in every pose. She played slower hits from Drake, Beyonce and Bieber, all of which we hadn’t heard before (and that we immediately downloaded onto our Spotify). Faye ended her class by placing a large candle in front of each attendee and asking us to recount our intention while blowing out the flame. Of all the unique yoga classes we’ve taken across the world, this was the first time we’ve experienced something so thoughtful. Faye’s Slow Burn will have you sweating, but it’s definitely manageable after a long work day. We would recommend it to unwind, refocus and reflect.
Jenna is positively perfect. Her upbeat and encouraging energy is just what the mind and body needs after a long weekend … and even a hangover. Jenna really reads the room and we noticed when she tweaked the flow to fit the skillset and needs of the class. Her cheerleader attitude pushed us to do one more chaturanga and hold the crow a few seconds longer, even when these poses were optional. Oh and the throwback Andre 3000 beats had us dancing on our mats.
If fitness is your goal and you’re more drawn to the asana (aka the physical postures) part of your practice, Kate is the teacher for you. She integrated conditioning elements into her 60-minute flow. Think: Mālāsana squats and crunches in boat pose. Throughout class—particularly when things got tough and we got tired—she encouraged us to dig deep and push through. If you’ve never taken Kate’s class, expect 60 minutes of dynamic, challenging sequences that will strengthen your practice and your muscles.
Kendra. Kicks. Ass. Truth. Kendra’s Sunday hip hop class had us sweating so hard it looked like we went for a swim. Though she keeps with the Y7 method of cycling through yoga sequences three times – the first one a slow burn, the second fast-paced (one breath per movement), and the last on your own – her sequences were so challenging that by the third cycle we face-planted on our mats, panting. Kendra took standard yoga flows and made tweaks for that extra fitness fix. Plank, boat and chair poses were all modified with longer holds and more movement and we’re still feeling the burn days later. Take Kendra’s class for a serious workout and don’t make any plans after other than with the shower.
Kristen was all about non-traditional sequences, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s kind of awesome! If you’re new to Y7, you’ll know as much as everyone else, and if you’re a regular, it’ll give you a chance to try something new and really challenge yourself. Don’t get us wrong, the regular flows are dope (otherwise why would keep going back?), but there’s something super cool about changing it up every once and awhile. If you’re in the mood for some new and different flows that are still totally Y7-worthy, sign up for Kristen’s class.
If you’re a hardcore fitness fanatic who’d pick Barry’s Bootcamp over Barre3 and certainly over yoga, then this action-packed class is for you. The vibe was more “give it 110%” than “find your center”. After our intense third flow, Sam instructed the front and back rows to face each other for boat pose and called out, “When you feel like giving up, look up at the person across from you and keep going”. While we may have signed up for vinyasa flow, what we got was a total body workout with a side of crow pose, and we liked it.
Lindsey is a calming presence as you would expect any yoga instructor to be but she also brings a sense of realism to her classes. She is aware and speaks about the stresses of daily life in the city and urged the class to put that on the back burner for the next hour. Her flow was progressive. We started off in a child’s pose as she spoke to us about the importance of being mindful and presence and we slowly moved to the first sequence. Throughout the class Lindsey made adjustments but wasn’t overfully in the way of the class as we each moved through our own practices. As the class got going and things started to get more hot, she gave helpful cues to pull our focus back in. The one thing Lindsey did very well was giving many variations on each flow we went through so whether you were an advanced yoga student or just starting out you would feel comfortable and confident. At the end of the class Lindsey set us up for savasana and even used some essential oils to fill the room with lavender and eucalyptus which was a nice finish to class. You will leave her class with a sense of calm empowerment.