Sarah Larson Levey is the Co-Founder of the New York-based yoga studio Y7 Studio. With music-driven classes that put a twist on the ancient art of yoga, Y7 appeals to a new type of yoga practitioner. Levey shared her thoughts with IVY Magazine on fitness, her path to founding Y7, and what’s in her current playlist and lunchbox.
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Tell us about yourself. Where are you from and when did fitness become such an important part of your life?
I grew up in Michigan and moved to NYC after graduating from the University of Wisconsin in 2009. I like pizza and wine and my bulldogs (in no particular order). Fitness didn’t become an important part of my life until a couple years after college. I played sports growing up and was always pretty active in that way; but when I moved to New York and started working full time, gravity began to take its toll and I started incorporating fitness into my routine.
When did you start Y7 studios? Where did the idea come from?
Y7 started in the fall of 2013. The studio experience was really created for me. I was trying several studios around the city and just couldn’t find a place in which I felt at home. Every time I went into a studio, it would be beautifully lit with floor-to-ceiling mirrors; most of the class looked amazing — I did not.
I was just beginning my practice and often looked at myself in the mirror and was horrified (mostly at the insane look I seemed to have on my face every time I was concentrating on holding a pose). I also felt my mind wandering, comparing myself to other people in the room.
Out of this came other realizations of what I needed to feel comfortable and motivated to grow my yoga practice. I wanted to listen to the music I love, sweat and move to a beat that motivates me, and I wanted consistency. Voilà…Y7.
Branding is such an important part of any business. Y7 has one of the most original brand-concepts of any fitness studio. Tell us about this and how it came to be.
What we wanted was something super simple. We’ve worked really hard to stay consistent, clear, and recognizable. A lot of studios have a ton of color or symbols that aren’t instantly recognizable if you aren’t “in the know.” At Y7, we want the client to be able to take what they want from the experience, and not have the branding take over that experience. I think that our client appreciates that, and it makes them want to be a part of the community.
You’ve done some awesome collaborations with brands and artists. Do you have a favorite?
Two of my favorite moments are when Childish Gambino and A Tribe Called Quest gave us the first listen of their albums. They took over the studios for a day, and all of the classes were a surprise theme of the new music; our clients got to listen to the new albums, while flowing, the Thursday before theye were released.
As a female founder, what type of struggles have you faced, if any?
It’s harder to get taken seriously sometimes, especially when discussing real estate and data/finance. I am learning to hold my own — to voice my opinion and ask questions when I am not quite sure what is being said and, most importantly, to not apologize for not knowing something. I’m not Google.
Walk us through a day in your shoes.
This one is hard because it’s different every day, but I’ll give you today. I woke up around 7:30am, went to an 8:15am class at the SoHo studio, showered, and went to the office. I try take at least an hour to answer emails and such when I get in before I schedule any meetings. My afternoons are always packed with those; today I had our weekly meeting with all the studio managers, a sell through recap of January, and a monthly reporting meeting (data stuff).
I usually leave around 6-6:30pm to go home and feed/walk the dogs, followed immediately by wine and dinner. I’ve been cooking at home at least 3 times a week these days (but we’ve only gotten through January, so we will see how long that lasts). That’s it!
What’s in your lunch box today?
I am so happy you asked this. I’m super proud of my desk salads lately – mixed greens, two hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, cucumber, dried cherries, and avocado.
What’s on your playlist today?
“Wasted” by Peking Duk. “The Middle” by Zedd. “Mine” by Bazzi. “Pray For Me” by The Weeknd. “Sky Walker” by Miguel/Travis Scott.
What’s your favorite thing about being a “millennial”? What about “millennial” mentality do you wish this generation would strive to improve?
I love the energy — we all are striving to do more, to create, and to learn. That being said I wish, that we could learn to slow down a little — to not jump at every single opportunity, and to focus on what is currently happening.
Any other exciting news you would like to share with IVY?
I love you.