As Sleuth walked up to the second floor, a bunch of yogis were on their way down from an earlier class at hot, hip hop yoga studio Y7 Studio.
Once upstairs, the studio was bustling despite the early hour. There was a small line formed in front of the check-in desk that moved quickly as everyone seemed to know exactly what to do.
There were men and women drenched in sweat, several sitting by the cubbies where the two bathrooms are located. (One has a shower with a queue that you sign up for at check in.)
Y7s website encourages yogis to arrive ten minutes early for seated meditation. When I went into the dark, candlelit yoga room it was already halfway full. Clearly, many find this pre-class time to be beneficial, so do plan to arrive early. (Also, the studio has a strict no late entry policy.)
I found a good spot near one of the candles to roll out my mat. The music playing filled the room with ambient sounds while everyone warmed up to their own beat. One woman practiced headstand. Another man was in downward dog. Most people chose to relax in savasana which is where instructor, Mariel Reyes had us begin.
“Good morning, guys! My name is Mariel and I’ll be your guide for this class. Please lie down on your mat, and begin to notice what is going inside your body without judgement,” she said in an upbeat tone.
She had us take a couple of deep breaths to clear out any extra thoughts lingering in the brain, then asked us to move our body in a way that felt good for this early morning stretch, suggesting happy baby or hugging our knees into our chest.
As we got moving, Mariel led us through a few rounds of a sequence that started in chair pose, and then turned up the music (which had shifted to hip hop) to kick off a few more rounds that we would do on our own.
The flow continued for the bulk of class in this same format; Mariel talked us through the sequence first slowly, and then we picked up the pace and flowed through it on our own. Her high energy helped keep my energy up as she walked around the room.
“Be creative,“ she exuded, “you can add in extra poses, or take some out. Make it your own!”
It was nice to hear her enthusiasm for our individual practices. Many times the sequence that she led us through sunk into my body, but there were a few moments when I couldn’t always recall what was my next move. It was reassuring to know that it was OK for me to do whatever my body felt pulled to do. I also noticed others had improvised some of their sequencing as well.
By the time we got to the last round, my body started to get tired. Most of Mariel's sequencing included options on specific poses to support the individual’s practice. So at this point, I took the easiest version that Mariel offered. When she said we could kick up into handstand after standing split, I chose to keep both feet planted on the floor.
After our last flow, we took child’s pose for a nice, long 15 breath rest. Headstand was offered for those with that inversion practice.
And just as I thought we were starting our cool down, Mariel with her coach-like zeal, told us to do 10 push ups. From there we rolled over for boat pose and abdominal bicycles which led into back bends in the form of bow.
Finally, the cool-down came. The music returned to its ambient sound, and we went into supine twists and supta baddha konasana.
All the effort had been worth it. When it was time for savasana, Mariel said, “All the work that you’ve just done was for this pose. Let all the tension go.”
After a few moments, we came back to sit for a final deep breath together.
I left the room, legs slightly shaking, but felt energized and cleansed from the vigorous practice.
—Elysha Lenkin for Yoga Sleuth.
Drop-in classes are $25 with $2 mat and $3 mat towel rentals available. New students can try two weeks unlimited for $45 or one month unlimited for $99.