Some businesses have origin stories rooted in the passions of their founders, and others begin...
Sarah Larson Levey of Y7 Studio on Building a Community of Inclusivity
When something in your life isn’t what you’re looking for, you change it. And when nobody’s offering you the experience you need, you create it. That’s exactly what Sarah Larson Levey did when she founded Y7 Studio, creating a new take on a familiar fitness class: yoga. Turned off from the standard yoga experience by the mirror-covered walls, judgy classmates, and pressure to push past the limits of her ability, Sarah started hosting classes of her own in an old Williamsburg, Brooklyn recording studio. By the fall of 2013, she had gained enough traction to sign a month-to-month lease on a tiny, 300-square-foot studio of her own.
This isn’t your traditional yoga experience. At Y7 Studio, there are no mirrors, the only light is provided by candles, and the practice is accompanied by the likes of Drake and Missy Elliott. As with any creative vision, getting it off the ground took hard work.
Along the way, Sarah has adopted the roles of receptionist to payroll manager to human resources director to studio painter. But she wouldn’t have it any other way, always maintaining perspective by putting herself in her clients’ shoes (or on their mats).
At its core, Sarah’s mission with Y7 Studio is to build a community of inclusivity. By creating “a yoga experience that is fun, full of joy, and an expression of personal movement in the body,” she has succeeded in creating that community, attracting a clientele that has felt excluded by mainstream yoga culture.
Question: What motivated you to start Y7 Studio?
I was personally struggling to find a studio to practice yoga at. I was craving a certain experience and feeling that I just could not find. Before Y7, my yoga experiences were fraught with expectations my body wasn't ready for, comparison to a "star student,” and criticism of not doing enough. Yoga is about being present and moving in your body, and that is what Y7 is.
Question: Is there a moment of completion for your venture down the road, or does it feel open-ended?
Right now it feels open-ended! We have some big digital launches coming up in the remainder of 2022, but we are still looking forward to expanding our physical footprint in the near future.
Question:What do you see as the key driver of consumer trends over the next 2-3 years?
Authenticity and purpose will definitely play a huge role in how people relate to the brands/companies that they are purchasing from. I also think, in terms of physical locations and the digital component of our business, accessibility and ease will be big driving factors.