Sarah Levey

Put some “om” into the New Year! Y7 founder Sarah Levey explains how yoga and hip-hop are a match made in heaven

In My Beauty, fashion and culture’s most compelling faces reveal in their own words what beauty means to them

Yogi and studio owner Sarah Levey is changing the yoga industry one beat-pumping Drake song at a time. Her quickly-expanding brand Y7 is breaking through the inaccessibility of boutique yoga culture, ushering in a new and widely coveted experience that’s candlelit, soundtracked by hip hop and guaranteed to make you sweat. A favourite among modern-minded wellness gurus, Y7 launched in Brooklyn and blew up immediately, with locations now throughout Manhattan and in LA.

“There is so much more to being healthy than just getting 30 minutes in at the gym a day. It’s a mindful practice of what you’re putting in your body, what you’re surrounding yourself with, the people you’re associating with. If you’re burned out and run down and need to take an evening to yourself, that’s OK. I think people forget to do that because they think they’re being self-centred or vain, but it’s really important to make yourself feel good. People can tell.”

“How you get there is a personal thing, but when you’re happy, fulfilled, balanced and healthy you can give more to people. You’ll be a better boss, a better friend, a better employee, family member, whatever it is. There are so many different angles to being whole, as opposed to compartmentalizing the different parts of your life. Yoga taught me how to bring together those different strengths.”

“When you’re happy, fulfilled, balanced and healthy, you can give more to people.” – Sarah Levey, Y7

“One of the main reasons I started Y7 was because every time I would go to a yoga studio in New York City, it was all very bright natural light and girls in beautiful yoga clothes. When those distractions about what beauty should look like were in front of me, I left feeling not so great about myself. At Y7, there are no mirrors and all the classes are candlelit, so our clients can focus on themselves. They can try that pose they’ve been working on, take a chance and do a couple handstand hops, or a do a twist or a bind, and not worry that their stomach has some rolls in it, or that they’re making their ‘concentrating gym face.’ That’s what is so beautiful about yoga. It’s a really internal practice. It’s going to be different for everybody, and that’s something I think a lot of people don’t realize.”

“I get a manicure and pedicure every week. It makes me feel put together. Even when I’m going crazy and feel really frantic, for some reason having my nails and toes done feels like, ‘that person has their life together.’ It gives me that extra boost of confidence. I try always to have at least an hour to myself a day. Whether that’s in the form of a workout class or just sitting on the couch and watching TV, I need a little bit of alone time to gather my thoughts. I’d like to say I have a dry brushing routine or something cool like that, but I have a hard enough time trying to remember to moisturize.”

“Last year, I got the opportunity to go to Haiti through an organization called I’m ME. They have what we would call a foster home, and right now we have 12 kids. They were the weak ones, who had a disability, and unfortunately the cost of taking care of a special needs child in Haiti is what it would cost to take care of four or five healthy kids. So, I’m ME fosters these kids and gives them a chance to live.”

“One of our clients works for buildOn, which goes into the poorest countries in the world and builds schools. All the labourers and teachers come from the community, so they’re creating jobs, and an equal number of boys and girls are always enrolled. There is no public school system in Haiti – it’s only private, so you can’t go to school unless you can afford it. It’s giving them an opportunity to find out who they are and to not just be brushed aside. It’s exactly what I value for my clients – we want to create a really safe space in the studio for people to learn, to ask questions of themselves: ‘Can I do this?’ I want to create a safe space for these kids to grow, ask questions and see beyond the day-to-day.”