Killer Beats and Self-Love with Beth Cooke of Y7 Studio
To say Beth Cooke is a breath of fresh air would be an understatement, as this girl knows how to keep it real. After years of struggling with sobriety, Beth found yoga, and it was through yoga she learned to let go and love both herself and the practice. Never one to be boring, Beth combined two of her favorite things, the latest hip hop beats and yoga, making every Y7 Studio class feel like an awesome, sweaty party. Read on to feel inspired and motivated to get sweating!
Where and when did your love of Yoga begin?
I got sober about 4 years ago. After years of drug and alcohol abuse, I found yoga again. I had tried it before but I don't believe I was ready to deal with myself on my mat yet. This time I was in recovery and learning how to love myself again and everything my teachers were saying was making perfect sense. "When the student is ready the teacher appears."
I read that you have a background in dance. Did this help with your transition into yoga?
I grew up as a dancer. I competed in dance competitions from age 8-17. As a competitive dancer, I had a lot of hang-ups with my body and perfectionism and wanting everything to look a certain way. I was raised in front of a mirror. It wasn't until a yoga teacher told me to close my eyes and forget about what each shape looked like on the outside that I began to let go and fall in love with the practice and myself.
Y7 combines yoga with the latest beats, why do you think they work so well together?
Listening to dope music while you're moving and breathing and raising your heart rate can be so motivating. We act as DJs while guiding the yoga class; the same way a DJ feels the crowd and leads the party's energy, we take the class on an enhanced venture with not only our words and alignment cues but with the beat's tempos and volume. This is especially crucial for me at the end of class as a student. When I'm ready to throw in the towel and the teacher plays something epic, I respect their gangster vibe and I keep going. I want to breathe deeper and stay in the game.
How important is the teacher?
Every student making their way to their mat is essentially being their own best teacher. While students may vibe with a certain teacher's style of sequencing, music choices, verbiage, or dharma, at the end of the day it's the student and their trust in what feels right with their body and finding their own inner strength that's important.
Why do you think it's so important for people to get out there and get their sweat on?
Sweating feels amazing! And it increases the blood circulation in the body which helps to keep us healthy. Sweating from exercise is especially good because it increases happiness by releasing "feel-good" endorphins. Sweating is detoxifying for the skin and our entire bodies. And exercise helps our brains and our sex lives. Get it!
What do you think is the biggest mistake people, especially women, are making when it comes to health and fitness?
I think it can take a long time for women to realize that it's way less about size and shape and so much more about confidence. A healthy, happy confident woman is hot as f**k no matter what. It can be a daily reprieve. Learn to love ourselves a little more which leads to loving others a little better all the time. We are all practicing. That's my mantra. Nobody has this life thing figured out 100%. Even if it looks like they got it on lock. Smoke and mirrors. But we try our best.
“A healthy happy confident woman is hot as f**k no matter what. It can be a daily reprieve. Learn to love ourselves a little more which leads to loving others a little better all the time. We are all practicing. That's my mantra."
How do you hope women (and men) feel when leaving a Y7 class?
I hope people leave each class feeling lighter than when they came in. Of course, I don't mean on the scale. F*ck the scale. I'm talking about feeling free of the negativity that weighs us down like fear, self-doubt, worry, and negative self-talk. When we practice yoga or meditation, the goal is to quiet the mind by focusing on the breath. This can relieve us of so much unnecessary drama in the mind that doesn't even exist in our lives.
What has practicing yoga taught you about yourself?
Practicing yoga has taught me how to sit with myself and essentially love myself. When I first started practicing I felt super defeated when a pose showed up that I wasn't "good" at. Now I know there's no such thing. Our bodies are all so different. These shapes, these poses, show us places in our bodies and in our lives, where we can slow down, breathe, grow, and be more open.
On the Y7 website, you touch briefly on starting your day strong – what’s your morning routine like and how does it get you in the zone for a great day ahead?
Starting my day off strong changes depending on what my body needs. However, I love a morning yoga practice to get centered in my body and mind. It helps remind me of how powerful I am and then I'm ready to tackle my day and conquer the world!
If you could break one bad habit, what would it be and why?
Cake!!!! I have a serious sweet tooth. I rarely turn down dessert unless I'm unwell. Cake is awesome but sugar can really make my energy crash and burn. Everything in moderation folks.
What's on your ultimate workout playlist?
I will get hype when I hear Lil Kim anything for life.
What are three hidden gems in NYC?
1. Crystal Garden in the East Village is where I love to pick up crystals for my friends. The guys there are so sweet and knowledgeable and I love the feeling I get when I enter the store. Magic.
2. I love to eat at Siggy's off Houston. My friends Emma and Zosia introduced me to it. We live for the Live Earth salad with the Salmon Burger.
3. When I'm needing some real old-timey New York ish, I post up at the Oyster Bar in grand central station. It's best in the winter for a bowl of chowder and nostalgia.
What does MISSBISH mean to you?
To me, MISSBISH means fierce. Women, humans, that drop their fear to flow strongly in the direction pulling on their heartstrings.
Who is your MISSBISH? Tell us who she is and why she's an inspiration to you.
It's tough because I have so many inspiring women in my life these days. The woman that inspires me most just by be being herself is Lena Dunham. She catches a lot of flack for standing up for all that she believes in but she doesn't let that slow down her grind one bit. She's beyond fierce. I'm honored to have her as my friend and student.
Photos by: Paristoribio