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Wellness
Published Thursday Mar 05, 2020 by Mindbody Team

#WomeninWellness: Sarah Larson Levey, Y7 Founder

Fitness
Motivation
Personal Growth

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. 

You started Y7 from a pop-up in New York, and it now has over 14 locations and is still growing. What inspired you to start Y7? 

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.  
 

What started as a workout has blossomed into a full-blown movement made up of people focused on inclusivity and empowerment. How has Y7 shaped what success in fitness means?   

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.    
  

If someone has never been to a Y7 class, what should they expect?  

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!  

Sarah Larson Founder  

You’ve been featured on Inc., Forbes, and our Mindbody BOLD events, and you regularly speak on entrepreneurship and starting your own business. What’s next for you?   

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.  
  

With all the demands of running a company (and being a soon-to-be mom!), how do you have time to practice self-care and wellness yourself?  What’s your go-to wellness routine while pregnant?  

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.  
 

What does wellness mean to you? How can we (the public) start on our own wellness journeys? 

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!

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Written by
Mindbody Team
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About the author
We're here to provide you with the latest and greatest, tried and true wellness experiences and advice to help you live life to the fullest. From nourishing recipes and travel tips to finding the perfect sweat routine or wellness regimen—we cover it all. And if we haven't yet, it's definitely on the way.
what is wellness
Wellness
Published Wednesday Oct 06, 2021 by Denise Prichard

What is Wellness?

Expert Advice
Wellness

To say the last year and a half was tough would be an understatement. In fact, it will probably go down as one of the most difficult times for our modern generation. In one of the many social polls we conducted during the pandemic, some of you described this time as a sheer “dumpster fire” or “like stepping on a Lego.” And to be honest, I couldn’t agree more.

Luckily, we’ve been able to get back to some form of normalcy in our lives and wellness routines over the last several months. As vaccines became available to the public, wellness businesses welcomed fitness fanatics, haircut seekers, and massage lovers back to in-person wellness experiences. And thank goodness for that—my roots and horrible posture from working from my bed were both getting wildly out of control. This girl needed a good massage and cupping session stat.

If there’s one thing we learned from the pandemic, it’s that our wellness routines are as personal as they are important. During shelter-at-home, those routines looked a bit different. For many, it meant taking a new approach to the “typical” wellness services we count on—I’m looking at you DIY haircuts, at-home waxing sessions (ouch!), and virtual swerking classes.

Now that we can leave our humble abodes to take advantage of in-person experiences again, the word “wellness” has seemingly taken on a new meaning.

Recently, we conducted another one of our famous social polls to see what wellness means to you, our Mindbody community, now that we're slowly but surely getting back to our regularly scheduled programming. We also tapped some of our most influential Mindbody business owners about the ever-evolving wellness landscape.

Here’s what you all had to say.

Wellness is more important to you than ever

According to our annual Mindbody Wellness Index, 60% of Americans say they’re more focused on their health and wellness since COVID. Consumers are now realizing they need to take greater care of themselves to optimize and preserve their health. When we asked you on Instagram how important wellness is, a whopping 98% said it was more important than ever. When it comes to how you’re practicing wellness, though, the answers were all over the board. Many of you pointed to journaling, practicing breathwork, and daily workout routines (cycling and yoga topped the list) as being the activities that help you keep your chill throughout the week.

I’m also happy to report that over 50% said you tend to feel more blessed than stressed on a daily basis—which is more than likely a big improvement. Let’s be honest, a year ago I would’ve bet a billion dollars that 99.9% of us knew no other feeling than anxiety—am I right? But even with the stress in our lives dwindling, many of you are still experiencing burnout at the end of a long work week (guilty!). But instead of succumbing to a bottle of wine for relief (please, that was so 2020), you’re unwinding by going to your favorite workout classes—with hot yoga, barre, and Pilates as your faves.

What wellness means to the pros

Let’s be honest, we should credit the business owners in this space for helping us reignite our spark when it comes to our wellness routines, right? Thanks to them, we’ve been inspired to prioritize the activities that help us feel our best. In turn, we thought it’d be interesting to learn what wellness means to them—and how that definition has changed over the past eighteen months.

Here’s what they had to say.

“Wellness is living in balance—mind, body, spirit. Highs and lows. It all ebbs and flows and we can navigate it a bit better when we take time to move, breath and remember who we are, and how we are connected to this big, beautiful world.” - Jess Pierno, Founder, Owner, and Chief Inspiration Officer of Yoga Heights

“Wellness is a true balancing of the mental, physical, and spiritual. It has definitely evolved over the years for me—from something that I just thought was about exercising and eating a healthy diet—to also incorporating balancing and healing internally and spiritually.” - Stefanie Patterson, Owner, Indianapolis Salt Cave and Halotherapy Center

“My sense of wellness has evolved from staying healthy and motivated, mind/body/spirit... to being more gentle with myself, less demanding. Accepting my limitations, taking time for resting, and gaining real clarity about what's important. I care less about what people think of me—difficult as a performer and as a business owner with so many demands on me—and more about getting quiet and tapping into the divine source inside of me that helps me discern my next move. In this way, I know my motives are as pure as possible and I'm not getting distracted—not that I don't make mistakes! Those are necessary, that's how we learn!” - Johanna Krynytzky, Owner, Hip Expressions Belly Dance Studio

“My studio name reminds us that we are constantly evolving. The past 18 months have certainly shown us that! Wellness to me means doing your best on any given day to make sure that you are taking care of yourself as best you can. It leads to resilience. Diet, exercise, sleep, a sense of community, and some form of faith. It all matters. Setbacks happen all the time, and every day is a chance to start again. We strive to be 'cheerleaders' for our clients when we sense that things are coming out of balance in their lives. So many have been with us for 18 years and are friends—they are our community and we all watch out for each other.” - Mo Wolfe, Owner and Founder, Evolution Pilates

Putting wellness into action

I think we can all agree that there isn’t one true definition of wellness anymore. To some of us, it means getting that hot yoga sesh in daily, and to others, it means carving out time to treat ourselves to a massage or manicure. As long as you’re actively pursuing wellness—whatever that means to you—you're on the right track.

Our MO has always been about connecting the world to wellness—a term that's seen a lot of change lately. Whether you’re fully embracing the in-person experience or still delighted by the convenience of practicing at-home wellness, the Mindbody app makes it easy for you to book experiences that help you feel like YOU again.

denise prichard
Written by
Denise Prichard
Senior Marketing Content Specialist
About the author
Denise Prichard is a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) and an experienced content marketing professional with a penchant for writing compelling copy within the health, wellness and beauty industries. When she isn't writing or editing, you can find her teaching yoga classes, at a spin class or hanging out with her rescue pups.