Any other non-yogis who want to find some way to get your stretch on that doesn’t involve tucking within an inch of your life or equipment that looks like it belongs in a 1950s psych ward? (No offense pilates…we love ya, but I mean it’s true.) For those of you non-namasters out there, you have GOT to check out the ultra cool, edgy, non-traditional yoga classes at Y7. We have got 4 words for you: hot, candlelight, hip-hop, yoga.
This isn’t regular yoga, this is cool yoga. That same badass feeling you get from a Barrys or SOUL class you are also going to get here. Their studios are littered with perfectly applicable lines from hip-hop classics or in homage to the genre. The main 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. Ok, ok, just kidding….. Our point is, that this is an ultra cool experience for the mind and body that between the bumping music & the darkness, helps you stay in the zone and not feel judged. Y7 classes are open to students of truly EVERY LEVEL with modifications options being shared like mono at a middle school dance. Plus you don’t have to be an expert or have a definition guide for yoga terminology – everything is described super clearly. Oh and did we mention that everyone ends up pretty much half naked? Being the truly no judgemental zone that it is and the studio being 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.
So what EXACTLY are you getting out of this non-traditional yoga quest? An hour long vinyasa flow style class that has 3 different flows segmented into 3 different sections. First, you take 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 adding additional poses, headstands, maybe even an difficult toehold – woah 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.
Guys we waffled over the rating on this one…ooooh waffles. This is a phenomenal workout experience for the body and mind, but we have a tough time gauging the level of effort we are exuding. It is a phenomenal mind cleansing experience. Seriously – the way that we and our friends can best describe the feeling after class is we feel “reborn”. No we aren’t over exaggerating this workout is an incredibly spiritual as well as physical one. Now, are you going to have all of the answers to your problems solved and have total clarity of mind – no flipping way (you find us a class that can and we will buy a 30 pack tomorrow). BUT, in the insanely chaotic city we live in we find ourselves much more centered after leaving.
Ughhhh we hate to do this, but we have to give you people the god’s honest truth. Lindsey was just not the instructor for us. Everything from her periodic passive aggressive comments peppered throughout class like seasoning to her air of self importance rubbed us the wrong way. She was truly the antithesis of everything that we have come to love about Y7. And yes this studio seriously colors outside of the lines in its style but yoga instruction has to bring some sense calm and serene energy to the room. Am I right? Thank god there was no singling out (one of our biggest pet peeves!) otherwise we might have walked out.
Outside of the personality and teaching style she didn’t necessarily bring anything unique to the practice itself. She certainly focused a bit more on some of the more challenging poses – in case we didn’t already feel shitty about how we were doing – aka lots of of half moon, crow, and flying pigeon. And hey, we don’t mind a good challenge but tone and presentation are everything. You get us motivated, we’ll burpee, box jump, or handstand our little hearts out. But, it’s all about the way you ask 😉
The entire experience from checking in to finding a spot in the room to taking class gives on an ACTUAL “non-judgemental yoga” vibe. And don’t look as us like you don’t know what we are talking about. In many studios Namaste is actually yogi for mean F*&# You (think the south and “Bless Your Heart”). Speaking of which, the staff at this location toe the line a bit between presenting the true welcoming “Y7 Experience” and being too cool to talk to you, or get you a towel, or you know…. Check you in. They don’t quite have a snooty vibe but they certainly are not nearly as warm as our other experiences at Flatiron, Union Square, SoHo, or in Brooklyn.
Outside of this, the Y7 brand is on point and well displayed at this location. The dressing, locker, shower, bathroom is quite spacious with 2 single stall shower rooms (one of the few locations that actually has them), 2 private changing areas with doors (not curtains), and 2 single stall bathrooms. So, no individual locker rooms for men and women but tons of place for privacy. And can we talk about the vanity area! Oh man, all the products, hair dryers, and great lighting with tons of room for about 3 people to share at a time. Now the only main drawback of the space itself is the layout. In keeping with the Y7 tradition it’s a walk up, 4th floor, that welcomes you on the final set of stairs with a “started from the bottom, now you’re here” greeting. And the studios, Biggie & Smalls (I know I know we love a good theme) are on a separate floor from the rest of the space.
1459 3rd Avenue, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10028 Upper East Side Yoga $$$
Y7 Studio Upper East Side
Upper East Side Yoga, $$$
1459 3rd Avenue, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10028
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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.