Y7 Yoga Studio

After a long flight I often try to book time at a local yoga studio to unwind the knots that 15 hours of traveling imposes on my neck and shoulders. While I have a few favorite New York City studios, I knew that this time I wanted to try Y7 Yoga.

Since their Flatiron location opened in April, I’ve read countless positive, rave reviews on the studio and it’s unique vibe. Friday morning Theodora and I flowed through the 60 minutes of poses, loosening the stress of our weeks.

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As I climbed the stairs of their Flatiron location, I knew I was in for a refreshing experiences.

Y7 Yoga Stairs

Their stairs greet each participant with inspirational Drake lyrics reminding them that they’ve made progress just by choosing to walk up the stairs towards an hour long yoga practice.    IMG_0815

Once inside I was greeted by a fresh, bright space including a check-in desk, storage cubicles, yoga mats, towels, a seating area as well as two bathrooms. The bathrooms feature an adorable “I woke up like this” area which allows yogis to go from sweaty to office-ready with dry shampoo, deodorant, blow dryers and large mirrors. While I always hope for a shower, this is a great backup option.

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There are four key things that separate Y7 from other yoga studios I’ve frequented in NYC – heat, light and music.

  • HeatEach class is practiced in a studio which is warmed by infrared heat. Infrared heat is different from space heaters or radiators because it heats objects versus just heating the air. According to Y7 co-founder, the benefits include increased calorie burn, improved skin tone, lower cortisol levels and more. Now while there isn’t much to support these claims, I will say that the heat was warm and calming versus the stifling and stinky heat experienced in many hot yoga classes.  Evidently Y7 is also the first studio in New York to offer full-spectrum infrared heating. I recommend bringing an extra towel, or two, to make sure you don’t slip in your sweat. The studio also rents YogiToes towels for $2.
  • Light, or lack of light – Class is practiced in a dark studio, only lit with small candles. Initially I was worried that this would negatively affect my practice; now allowing me to watch the instructor. I quickly realized that this had the completely opposite affect. Instead of spending class being intimidated by other yogis or trying to push beyond my limits, I found myself focusing inward and calmed by the candle light. For this reason and do to the intensity of the class, I would not recommend it for beginners who may get lost with only verbal cues.
  • Music – This studio bucks the norm by blasting hip hop music throughout the class versus the traditional yoga chants. Who knew that one could get so relaxed while listening to JayZ, Sam Smith, Notorious B.I.G but our 60 minute flowed perfectly in time to the beat of each song.
  • Free Flow – After going through each flow sequence three to four times as a group, the instructor gave us a few minutes or one song of free flow. During two of the free flows I did the yoga sequence on my own, but the third one I took my warm muscles through inversion practice. I loved that the instructor was on hand to help anyone who was working on inversions, holding legs or spotting us into position.

Would I go again? Heck yes! In fact, I wish I could go to this week’s WeFlowHard Hip Hop Vinyasa – Nicki Minaj vs Lil Wayne!

Cost: You can book individual sessions at $22 per single class or buy a package which can reduce rates down to $16. You can also book a spot at any of their locations using ClassPass.

Address: I went to the Flatiron location, located at 25 West 23rd Street, 4th floor. However, there are 3 locations, Williamsburg, SoHo & Flatiron.

What to wear: Be prepared to sweat! Most people wore tank tops, sports bras and shorts or light crop pants.

Have you practiced yoga in the dark before?

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The Weekly Sweats – Sweats & Eats

Happy Wednesday gang! I’m typing this on my flight from Amsterdam to New York City. Believe it or not, a week has gone by since I shared this accountability series with you and I’ve actually stuck to the plan!

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Two years ago, when moving from New York City, the going away events caused anxiety and stress.  My mind would race, worried what effect seven nights in a row of evening events, many of which are filled with bottles of wine and heavy, restaurant meals would have on my health.  Instead of letting the anxiety paralyze me and keep me from enjoying the time with friends, this accountability challenge has changed things. This time around, due to my planning, tracking and moderation, I am able to savor the fun change in schedule and be thankful for such loving friends. Eating healthy during the day and working out has let me truly enjoy the time with friends, versus feeling anxious and stressed.

I finished the week feeling healthier and more energetic than I’ve felt in ages – proof that daily workouts and healthy eating can help balance the nightly fun! It’s all about #wycwyc – walking instead of taking the bus, waking up early, going to bed as soon as I get home, and making sure that I eat healthy at the office. In addition to the promised SWEAT and EATS recap, I also have a few more tips that I implemented that helped make the week a success.

Thumbs up for a plan that has lasted more than a week!

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WHAT DID I ADD THIS WEEK?

Since sleep is of the essence this month, I want to ensure that I fall asleep quickly each night. To help ensure this, I removed all technology from the bedroom. Reading a few pages in my book or a magazine each night relaxes me far more than the bright light on my iPad or iPhone.

Since I prefer French Press coffee, I don’t always have time to prepare coffee before my morning workout. I’ve been sipping warm lemon water each morning to wake my system up and love the fresh and uplifting effects it has in addition to being a great way to detox my body.

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SWEATS

  • Monday – I kicked the week off on the right foot with a speedy 4 mile run before work with Amy then ended the day with an hour of yoga with mom and my girlfriends. 
  • Tuesday – During lunch I squeezed in a 45-minute Body Pump class that left my triceps and thighs quivering in pain.
  • Wednesday – A solo early-morning 3 mile run at 8:56 pace exploring a new park near my flat.
  • Thursday – Each week I think that the CXWorx class will feel easier only to find myself dripping sweat after only five minutes and the first core circuit. This class is a killer! I capped off the workout with a 12 minutes treadmill run at an 8:20 pace.
  • Friday – Deciding to switch things up, I headed down to the lake for a speed workout including 1 minute repeats. I ended up doing 3.1 miles in total and keeping an 8:22 pace overall.
  • Saturday – Relaxed, conversation-filled 3.2 mile run along the lake with Leah
  • Sunday – I think my sweat may have actually smelled of white wine during my mid-day sweat fest aka a speedy 5k run through Geneva. It was the perfect way to prepare for what will most likely be a hot and humid Oakley 10k in New York City this Saturday.

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EATS

Breakfast: I switched things up again this week, adding two new things into the usual breakfast routine.

  • Mashed avocado + lemon + chili pepper flakes spread atop a piece of whole wheat bread
  • Greek yogurt + 1/4 cup raw oats + cinnamon + chia seeds + 1/2 banana + 1/4 c blueberries
  • 2 hard boiled eggs + apple
  • Greek yogurt + 1/4 cup raw oats + cinnamon + chia seeds + 1 tablespoon almond butter + sliced strawberries
  • Cooked oats + 2 sliced apricots + cinnamon + dollop of Greek yogurt

Lunch:  After buying way too much at the farmer’s market, I took advantage of the extra food by taking lunch to work three days this week. While I appreciate our subsidized salad bar at work, it was so nice to change things up. My favorite salad was Summer inspired, featuring fresh peaches, small slices of Chevre cheese, blueberries, avocados and crisp bib lettuce. During the weekend, even while relaxing with friends on the lake, I stuck with my healthy lunches. On Saturday I chose the Greek salad for lunch and delayed alcohol until 5pm.

Snacks: I made office snacks even easier this week by bringing everything to work on Monday. My desk looked like a stand at the market, filled with unsalted nuts, dried apricots, large apple and fresh apricots. Most days I snacked on a fresh apricot around 10:45 and then ate nuts and the apple with a cup of tea around 4:30 or 5, depending on evening plans. The later snack ensured that I didn’t find myself hungry while at a happy hour or dinner event.

For those of you who joined the challenge how is it going?

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A New Favorite NYC Workout Class

When Bo and I planned this trip to New York City, I knew that I wanted to squeeze in a few workout classes. Typically I go for my usual favorites – Uplift Fitness and Barry’s Bootcamp. But, after making a list for the past few months of new instructors or classes, I was inspired to try a few new classes and instructors instead.

After referencing my list in iPhone Notes, I started strategically planning the classes. As we have an Indian wedding in the city Thursday night through Saturday night, I knew that I needed to frontload the classes. Since I was working from our midtown office Monday through Wednesday while staying in Brooklyn, classes located in Flatiron or Brooklyn worked best for the early morning schedule.

Five days of classes left me feeling lean and strong – just in time for the wedding weekend! I will wear my rented saree and lehenga with confidence while dancing and celebrating Raj & Asha! 

Of the five classes we took, The Fhitting Room was our favorite overall workout. IMG_9391

A high intensity training boutique fitness studio located in Flatiron, everything about the workout experience impressed us.

Upon arriving, a bright, vibrant space greet you and the green color theme is visible throughout the studio. A large calendar is posted adjacent to the check-in desk, making the upcoming schedule visible to everyone with just a quick glance.

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There are also lockers and a bathroom on the main level, along with the primary studio.  The staff also briefly explained the studio’s workout concept  – using functional movements, strength training, high intensity intervals, total body focus and highly varied exercises in order to strengthen and change participant’s bodies.

Before our class we were given a quick tour of the downstairs space, which is home to a smaller, private fitness studio and the main locker and shower area which includes two bathrooms, two showers, lockers and a few vanity areas for blow drying hair and getting ready. The studio provides everything you need to get refreshed after your workout including large towels, blow dryers, and toiletry products!

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Back upstairs, it was time to get down to business! Our class, which was party of NYC Fit Week, had 15 students and 2 instructors.

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Let’s talk about the 2 instructors because that is the primary thing that makes this workout stand out from other similar workouts. Not only were the two instructors, Emily and Dyan bubbly and energetic, but they were constantly walking around checking and improving form. In a HIIT class, I feel that form is easily compromised which can lead to injuries. Having two instructors watching us at all times helped both Bo and I ensure that we pushed ourselves WHILE maintaining form.

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The main studio includes rows of different “toys” or workout gear. One mirrored wall is dedicated to TRX training while the other sides include rowing machines, kettle bells, bosu balls, boxes, and even foam rollers! Even though the studio has been open for a few months, it was still well organized and spotless. The floor is a special, cushioned floor which makes burpees and other jump movements far more comfortable. Before the class kicked off the instructors walked us through the workout which included a dynamic warm-up (high knees, mountain climbers, froggers, air squats, etc)  followed by intense circuits which rotated through in small groups. The workout was posted at the front of the room so we knew what was coming.

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For the next 45 minutes we worked our way through the workout while rocking out to a great playlist. While I can’t remember each part of the workout, these portions stood out in my mind:

  • Bosu foot taps by side to side jump overs
  • 2 minute erg followed by ab pikes using the erg seat
  • Kettlebell step ups followed by box jumps
  • TRX rows and curls
  • TRX hamstring curls and TRX planks

There was no “calling in” the workout as every minute the instructors were there pushing us harder and making sure we were engaging the proper muscles. By the end of the class I was BEYOND sweaty and my muscles were fully fatigued. It should be noted though, that while we were exhausted, we were already wishing we had time to sign up for another class this week! 

Cost: $35 but there are packages available to reduce cost including new participant 2 for 1 class

Location: 31 West 19th Street between 5th and 6th Avenue

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Practice Makes Perfect

Eight months ago, I decided to put on my big girl pants or ahem swimsuit and join our PG swim team.

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Multiple co-workers had suggested I join, noting that the team needed more females and I am evidently considered "sporty" and "athletic" within our office.
The first practice was humbling to say the least. My marathon legs did little to help me in the pool, and I quickly realized just how different the cardio and muscular demands of swimming are versus running or yoga. But, I finished and called Bo immediately after, telling him that I found a new challenge that I hoped to stick with on a weekly basis. While I haven’t made it to every Tuesday or Thursday practice since then due to either travel or lack of wanting to wake up at 5am, I have averaged once per week.

imageSome practices have left me encouraged while others leave me cursing my parents for not signing me up for Summer swim team at an early age. I have also muttered some words regarding American practices versus Europe. In French and Swiss schools swimming is included in gym class and students learn all four strokes in order to pass the test. Really? My first day of practice I was able to complete a lap of freestyle only. Butterfly, breast stroke and backstroke attempts left me sinking to the bottom or moving slower than Yertle the Turtle.

 

But, regardless of pace, I’m proof that practice makes perfect, though results are slow and steady versus overnight. There are many hour long swim practices that weren’t fun. 500 meters of butterfly followed by 200 of dolphin swims is the last thing my shoulders, abs and 30 year old body want to do but in between the grunts and groan, I started to see the benefits. My traps and shoulders are developed, in between wine, cheese chocolate and the European diet my legs and abs have leaned out and through taking on a new challenge I’ve found confidence. In fact, just a month after joining the swim group, I wrote this post about overcoming my fear of swimming.

imageOn Tuesday when our coach emailed us, promising a Christmas gift at practice on Thursday I was excited versus nervous. A 5000 meter swim challenge wouldn’t be easy but it was a perfect opportunity to test my ability. In fact, instead of deleting the email immediately out of fear, I emailed my swimming buddy, Laurianne, suggesting that we use the practice not to reach 5000 meters but instead to see how much of the prescribed workout we could during the hour and a half session.

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Ninety minutes after diving in the pool, Laurianne and I exited smiling and feeling on top of the world. My body was sore, and while we didn’t achieve the 5,000 meter goal many of our colleagues achieved, we swam for 90 minutes and each finished 3,200 meters. This distance was not only a personal distance record for both of us but also a huge confidence builder. Now and then we all need something to remind us that anything is possible with hard work and dedication. A year ago, I never would have thought that I would gain this reminder from swimming. This has me so motivated that instead of just packing running gear for our two-week holiday in the United States, I also packed my swim gear.

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What was the last hard workout you did which reminded you how much progress you’ve made?

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