If you find yourself exploring the Flatiron District during lunchtime on a weekday, you’ll see swarms of working professionals bustling around 5th Avenue. Just steps away from the Madison Square Park madness is a hidden sweat oasis, called Y7 Studio. If you’re looking for a quick, yet effective, lunchtime workout, try Chloe Mackenzie’s Wednesday hip-hop yoga class—because why wouldn’t you flow hard at noon on a Wednesday?
Y7’s Flatiron location is not your typical serene yoga studio with calming music and eucalyptus-coated walls. Instead, a narrow 4th floor walkup led me to an intimate lobby packed with chatty yogis mingling in colorfully patterned yoga pants, gearing up to sweat. The vibes. The beats. The “flow hard” swag. There was certainly no lack of personality or chutzpa in this house of hip-hop yoga.
I approached the receptionist to rent a mat and she asked if I’d also like a mat towel. “Is it hot yoga?” I asked. She told me it’s not super hot, but I’ll most definitely sweat; an honest moment of foreshadowing into the next 60 minutes of my life.
I entered a cavern-like room, lit only by candlelight, and tried to find a spot to roll out my mat, while my eyes adjusted to the darkness. The room was packed with eager students stretching on their mats and effortlessly balancing in advanced inversions. Chloe glided into the room with the poise of a ballerina and a noticeably open heart. She introduced herself and told us to find a comfortable seat at the front of our mats to center ourselves before preparing to flow through a few series of vinyasas.
After a few moments of going inward, we made our way into Cat and Cow, and then right up and out into our first Downward Facing Dog. From here, Chloe led us through uniquely choreographed vinyasas, including a sequence of high lunge, Warrior 3, Utkatasana, Uttanasana, Crow to Chaturanga, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana back to Adho Mukha Svanasana.
After two rounds on each side, she told us to continue flowing at our own paces, guided by the rhythms of our breaths. I moved freely as she cranked familiar songs from Drake and Destiny’s Child. Each flow became faster, like a passionate dance of devotion, with plenty of Chaturangas in between. Just when I felt like I could collapse, I found more strength with the words of Destiny’s Child echoing in my head: I’m a survivor. I’m not gon give up. I’m not gon stop. I’m gon work harder.
About 45 minutes into class, we finally found our first pause in Child’s Pose. After such a vigorous sequence of vinyasas, surrendering my body to release in a puddle of sweat never felt so glorious. “It’s official,“ Chloe said, “this is definitely the sweatiest class I’ve ever taught at Y7.”
We cooled down in Pigeon Pose and then expanded our hearts in Setu Bandhasana and Urdhva Dhanurasana before finding full relaxation in Savasana. Chloe told us to relax our minds and bodies so that our cells and muscles could find space to rejuvenate. She reminded us that as New Yorkers, we love to move, and when we’re feeling stressed or anxious we tend to move even faster, when really, all we need to do is find stillness to breathe.
Allowing my body to be still after getting my heart rate up felt easier, and I was less restless than I normally find myself at the end of a class. As I reconnected with slower, deeper breaths, every single part of my body began to release. From the crown of my head down to my toes, I truly felt part of the sweat tribe.
—Ashley Rose Howard for Yoga Sleuth
Drop-in classes are $22, with $5 mat and mat towel rentals available (cash only).
Wednesday 12-1pm Open
Y7 Studio 25 W23rd St. 4FL New York, NY 10010 646-820-0781