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Y7 Studio is a community on a mission to make yoga more accessible and inclusive to all. “One family formed by sweat,” they welcome anyone and everyone willing to give it their all. We love this idea of embracing yoga, sweat, and each other with open arms, so we reached out to Sarah Larson Levey, founder of Y7, to share her story.
I was inspired by what I thought was missing in the yoga space. I couldn't find the things I was craving in an experience. It was my now husband Mason who really got things moving when it came to making my frustrations into a reality.
I never felt like I belonged in any yoga class that I went to before we started Y7. In fact, I felt that way in a lot of fitness classes—I would put myself in the back or make myself as scarce as possible. I never want anyone to feel that way in a Y7 class—we work really hard to use inclusive language, to offer a ton of modifications and give people a chance to make the practice their own by having the opportunity to flow on your own. The darkness and lack of mirrors are also critical to creating a space where you don't feel like you have to perform for anyone, especially yourself.
First and foremost—don't stress about it! Everyone has been to a first class. You will sweat, you will be confused at first! Flow on your own gets a lot of people in the beginning—but it’s an opportunity to let go of expectations of what your practice should look like. The room is hot, so definitely hydrate!
I’m super focused on growing the business and making Y7 the leader within the yoga space—not just physically but as a lifestyle brand.
It's definitely hard! I have always put myself on the back burner when it comes to self-care—now that I'm pregnant, it has really forced me to slow down and be more mindful. Our bodies are so incredible, and we only get one—we have to make it a priority to take care of ourselves. I try to do something active every day. I walk to and from work, try to get to classes, and make sure I’m getting enough rest—which traditionally has been the toughest for me.
To me, wellness means doing the things that make me feel good. Feeding myself good food and treating my body right. I truly believe the only way to start a wellness journey is to do just that...start. Once you do, you'll be able to figure out what works best for you.
Wanna try it for yourself? If you're in New York, LA, or Chicago, find Y7 classes near you!
Well, here we are—a couple of months into 2021. A year that we all (still) hope will be much better than the last. This past year was nothing short of a dumpster fire—between the pandemic, ongoing racial injustice, and the most dramatic election ever, 2020 was riddled with anxiety, grief, anger, and was just downright exhausting.
Heck—if somebody even dared to ask me how I was doing last year, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and say, “Omg I can’t even.” I mean, what other year can you think of that became its own expression? When something would go horribly awry, we would literally blame it on the year by saying, “2020, am I right?” complete with a sheepish chuckle —and eventually some tears when you realized just how many times you’ve said those words. Seriously, I lost count a long time ago. It was not healthy.
Sorry, tangent—where was I? Ah yes, 2021. The good news is there’s still hope that this year won’t make us want to roll into a tiny little ball on the floor and cry. Well, at least not as much as its predecessor—I’m not a miracle worker, you guys. However, I do have some wellness tips to help you stay just a little bit cooler, calmer, and collected-er this year.
If there’s one thing we learned last year, it’s that wellness is always here for us. Maybe at this time last year, your goal of going to Pilates five days a week came to a screeching halt as fitness studios were required to shut down to protect the community. For a time, we were all frazzled because our usual workouts and wellness routines were turned upside practically overnight. I think I speak for us all when I say that our favorite fitness class, and the community that comes with it, plays a huge role in our overall happiness. The good news is the wellness industry has come a long way in just under a year.
While it is true that some areas still aren’t allowing the in-studio experience for their workout classes due to the pandemic, we have more options to practice wellness safely than ever before. Right now, some studios are allowed to operate with in-person, socially distanced classes—and pretty much every studio broke into the virtual space to provide fitness classes you could participate in from the comfort of your own home. Not to mention, at-home virtual options are typically cheaper and allow you to try our studios from all over the country. With online gym memberships like Mindbody Flex, you can have access to thousands of live stream classes at your fingertips for less than $5 per class.
Look, 2020 was scary. After a year like that, it’s can be hard to tap into a positive mindset. But it’s more important now than ever before to let go of assumptions and focus on the good that 2021 can bring. This shift to acceptance will ultimately help you put your best foot forward in any situation that arises.
Take a step back and try to focus on the things we can be grateful for in this moment. Like what? Well, for starters more and more people are receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, which means things are slowly, but surely, getting back to normal. I, for one, am grateful that my at-risk family members have already received their first rounds of vaccinations and are on the path of staying healthy since they are protected from the coronavirus.
The best thing we can do right now for our mental health is to learn to give ourselves some grace through practicing self-care. And this can look different for everyone. Maybe your version of self-care comes in the form of daily journaling, getting a workout session in, curling up with a good book, or having that glass of wine while taking a bubble bath. Whatever makes YOU feel good—keep doing it.
To keep my mental health in check, something that I’ve started incorporating into my daily self-care routine is practicing mindfulness. Some days that means I focus on my breathwork practice—other days I may scroll through the Mindbody app to find a virtual meditation class or Yoga Nidra class. I’ve also embraced the motto there’s an app for that. Right now, I’m really loving the Headway app because it helps me set daily intentions from the moment I wake up with a morning survey and then checks in with me at the end of the day with an evening survey. Having the ability to write down my goals and hold myself accountable for them has really taken my self-care routine to the next level.
Some days we fall a little short of our goals—and guess what? THAT’S OKAY. Honestly, I think we should all just focus on being okay for the rest of the year. The past year caused us to be tough on ourselves and I encourage you to make this year kinder. Any new goals you set that involve changing habits or overhauling your lifestyle will likely have some setbacks. So, when that happens, remember to be compassionate with yourself.
If there’s anything I want you to take away from this blog post is to let go of the illusion that perfection is always the end goal. When in doubt I always remind myself of something my favorite spin instructor (hey Steph!) says: “If you look for perfection, you'll never be content. Just focus on your growth.” Allow that to sink in and make it a goal to remind yourself of this every single day.
And remember: You don’t have to—and really shouldn’t—give up hope that things will get better this year, even if you feel overwhelmed now. Having a positive mindset is never a silly thing. In fact, it is actually quite admirable; you’re an admirable badass.