Signing up: Y7’s website is fairly straightforward. From the homepage, you can access a master class schedule that lists all the classes available for the week. They also have an iPhone app where you can check schedules and book classes, which further streamlines the process. In order to sign up for a class, you have to create an account, which takes pretty much no time. Unlike SoulCycle’s website, there isn’t a page for each studio, so you have to make sure to filter by location so you don’t accidentally book a class in West Hollywood when you live in Williamsburg. Not that it happened to me, but it almost happened to me.
When signing up for a class, you have the option to either make a single reservation or make a recurring reservation, which will automatically book a class for you on a regular schedule. While the recurring reservation option is great for people who know they’re into the classes, I suggest starting out with one class and seeing if you enjoy it.
A single class costs $25; a two week unlimited pass for new students is $45. Take the plunge and buy the two week pass. If you live in New York, you’ll be able to try out different instructors and studios around the city and find the one that works best for you. It’s worth the extra $20, and it’s an endless amount of classes for less than the cost of two.
Preparing for class: After signing up for a class, you’ll receive an email confirmation with the location, time, and instructor name. Make sure to get to class at least 15 minutes early; depending on your location and what time you go to class, it can take a while to get changed into your yoga attire. And definitely wear clothing you don’t mind sweating in. Upon checking in, you can choose to rent a mat ($2) and/or a skidless towel ($3). Since I don’t own a yoga mat (yet) I rented one, but chose to opt for a regular towel (free) instead of the skidless option.
Each studio comes equipped with deodorant, hand sanitizer, makeup wipes, q-tips, whatever you need to get prepped for class. There are large cubbies where you can store your belongings, but space is limited so again, make sure to show up early. After showing up to a SoulCycle class after the lights had already dimmed and the class had begun, I cannot stress how important it is to show up on time. Also bring a water bottle. Bring. A. Water. Bottle. I can’t stress that enough, either.
The class: I noticed two very distinct things upon walking into the yoga studio: it was super hot in there, and one of my favorite Drake songs was playing ("Right Hand," in case you were wondering). The pre-class email mentioned it would be hot inside (80 – 90°F, to be exact), but the whole winter-in-New-York thing made me forget what warmth even felt like. The lights were off and the only light came from various candles scattered across the room. Don’t worry, it’s totally fire-proof.
I laid out my mat in the middle row – despite having arrived early, I didn’t get there early enough to get a spot in the back corner where no one could see me fall over. The class started out with breathing exercises and affirmations led by Kate, the instructor – “You are not here to compete with others. You are here to engage in your own practice, to strengthen yourself, to push yourself. If you find yourself losing breath, repeat this mantra: I belong. I belong here.”
Yoga instructors often tell you to let go of all your anxieties, tensions, and stressors during your practice. Or, more specifically, to use your practice to let go of all your anxieties, tensions, and stressors. As a chronically stressed-out and anxious person, this is something I wish I could do, but I’m not great at it. As Kate told us to clear our minds and release our tensions, I tried harder than ever before to do it. And it worked.
We did a variety of stretches that tested my ability to control my muscles. I found myself being able to go a bit further than I thought I could, but also kept my physical limits in mind. That is, I pushed my limits but also knew when to stop. At one point during free flow – while a Lil Kim song was playing – I found myself retreating back into Child’s Pose for a minute in order to catch my breath while the people around me did complex headstands, but I learned to be okay with that.
I’m not great at yoga. I’m not flexible enough to touch my toes and I fell over four different times while in Warior III. But I left the class feeling energized and completely, if temporarily, relieved of stress. The tension I had been carrying in my back earlier that day was gone.
The aftermath: I liked the class so much I immediately booked one for the next day, and will continue to attend classes for the next two weeks. I was a little sore afterwards, but completely relieved of all mental and bodily tension.
Would I return? See above. Yes yes yes yes yes.
Tips for other Y7 virgins:
· Show up early! This is proving to be a tip for all classes, but with reason. Plus, you won’t be let in after class starts.
· Bring water. Drink water.
· Wear breathable clothing because you will sweat a lot.
· If you feel overwhelmed, take a minute to gather yourself, then get back to work.
· Don’t focus on anyone else’s practice. Focus on your own body and your own breath, even if the people around you are contorting their bodies in ways you didn’t know were possible and you fall over a thousand times in an hour.