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. Here, you aren’t expected to fit into some perfect, “ultra zen” culture (um, was it just us or did that “namaste” kinda sound like a F#ck You?) or to do every pose perfectly. Y7 asks you to bring your badass self on in and do you, baby boo. This brand is the queen of the chic, edgy, non-traditional yoga class and we’ve got four words for you: hot, candlelight, hip-hop, yoga.
This isn’t regular yoga, this is cool yoga. You’ll get the same adrenaline high here as you do from a Barrys or SOUL class. As if its unique style of yoga wasn’t enough, Y7’s culture says “yea we do yoga, but don’t f#ck with us!” The studios are littered with perfectly applicable lines from hip-hop classics or phrases that pay homage to the genre. Their signature class is called “We Flow Hard” and everything from the walls to the gear they sell to the tile in the bathrooms is black. Like our soul. Okay, okay, just kidding … Our point is: this is an ultra cool experience for the mind and body that, between the bumping music and the darkness, helps you stay in the zone and not feel judged. 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 and Hip Hop Sundays. It really just refers to the type of music you’re going to hear. Any other day, you might hear everything from pop to R&B, maybe some house thrown in, whereas Sundays are purist hip hop tracks – #SundayService.
So what EXACTLY are you getting out of this non-traditional yoga quest? An hour long vinyasa flow style class that has three different flows segmented into three 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 a difficult toehold – whoa, living on the edge! Once you reach that final flow, you think, “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’re more advanced, there’s tons of time to work on your handstands or inversions. Oh and did we mention that everyone ends up pretty much half naked? Being a truly no judgemental zone and that the studio is a balmy 90 degrees, stripping layers off during practice is fairly common. You’re 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.
At Y7, it’s all about the voice. At this studio, we experience the practice with only the glow of candlelight and mostly with closed eyes, so having a clear voice paired with easy to understand instruction is crucial. In this category, Lauren wins the damn gold medal. Beyond that though, we really struggled to connect to her teaching.
We like our Y7 instructors to feel a bit more personable. Most make themselves vulnerable to us by sharing a dorky personality trait or an embarrassing or frustrating story that we can all empathize with. This sort of allows us to exhale a little deeper because the instructor feels super relatable and human … even if they’re WAY better looking than most of us on our best day.
With Lauren, we never really got that. No edgy remarks or quirky statements, just by the book yoga instruction. We know that seems like a fairly picky comment, but as avid Y7-ers, we know how important that quality is to the overall experience. That’s half the reason we give up our hard earned doll-hairs right? To have a connection with our FitFam.
Being in a walk up really hasn’t throw us off of hitting up Y7 classes. Outside of being a reality of space in NYC, it sort of fits in with the overall culture of the brand: sexy in a real and raw sort of way. Plus, the studios use their staircases as a cheeky way to leave you messages like “I’m on a new level” or “I’m all the way up” – one word per stair. Once inside the studio, you’ll find that you have to have a ton of patience getting to a locker, grabbing your mat, and finding a spot in the practice space. The overlap of classes starting and ending results in just a smidge of controlled chaos. A bit of this is alleviated by the fact that Y7 specifically designates separate changing rooms so that the bathroom doesn’t get held up – a godsend in their smaller studio spaces.
We love the location, the staff, and the instagramability. Unfortunately, there are no showers at this location, so this one isn’t a great option for pre-work, lunch time, or pre-happy hour. This isn’t exactly the type of workout you can just towel off or dry shampoo after.
430 Broome Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10013 SoHo Yoga $$$
Y7 Studio Soho
SoHo Yoga, $$$
430 Broome Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10013
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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.