Fitness maestro Taryn Toomey is upturning workout routines, and teaching us how to face emotional knots and experience flow with The Class
Let your body move you is Taryn Toomey’s mantra. The former fashion executive turned exercise guru harnesses the power of pilates, yoga and freestyle movement (plus yelling) to tease out discomfort, open the heart space and let go of internal blocks. Toomey set up The Class in 2013 from her basement gym in her apartment block and soon attracted TriBeCa residents and celebrities alike, making a positive out of the process of letting rip and getting sweaty.
During lockdown, The Class received a flood of new visitors who took Toomey and her team’s teaching into the kitchen and living room. Her own pivot into a new career arose through listening to her instincts. “My soul’s mission was not at ease and I had to make a move,” says Toomey of her big switch. Now, the mother of two heads up a team of instructors available online and IRL. With abrupt change everywhere, The Class is a catalyst in re-embracing life.
Alicia Keys' wellness pursuits include Keys Soulcare
@keyssoulcare // Instagram
What is The Class?
The Class is a melting pot of many different types of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual work that I had explored over the past two decades. The methodology came organically. I was sharing what was supporting and healing me while I navigated through my own difficult passages and it started by using embodied movement and music to process my experiences and emotions. When you start by centering, then creating a fire in the body (through cardio), placing effort and focus on that as an entry point, you are able to access a deeper space of listening.
Collaborations have included The Class x Alicia Keys. How did this come about?
We found out Alicia had been doing The Class after she shared “post-Class thoughts” on her Instagram feed. Her team later reached out and that got the ball rolling for The Soulful Sessions. Alicia fundamentally understands the power of mindful movement.
What is the role of community in The Class?
We’ve learned to connect while not being together – by feeling into the energy of the collective. We now have 120 live classes a week and I know that many students have made wonderful connections through the platform. I also think it’s crucial when there has been so much stagnation in our daily routines, to flush and process all that is coming up, individually and collectively.
How does your method bring body and mind together?
The mind is an organ. It has a function, it creates thought. The body is the home in which you live, until the day you leave it. We settle the mind into the body, and, by the end of Class, allow the heart and soul to inform the mind. We flip it! We do so by using physical discomfort in the body to activate the thinking and observe thoughts, behaviors or obstacles that keep us feeling stuck. You can choose whether you want to process that by feeling it, and being informed by it. At this point, you can access a connection to what resonates with you, and allow it to be your compass.
Words by Florence Welch
@taryntoomey // Instagram
How does breathwork feature?
Breathwork and movement can provide a space to stabilise and process efficiently. In The Class, we use the breath as the anchor and the teacher will guide students, asking them to notice what comes up. Then, we use the body as a portal to flush out. Maybe that feeling needs expression and a loud sound to excavate it, maybe it needs more tender softness. You decide. At the end of the day, what you do with it is up to you.
Wellness is a catch all - what does it mean to you?
Taking care of yourself and your heart, while also looking out for one another’s. Tuning in to the intelligence that is in your own body and listening with the intent to learn, so that you can trust yourself. It’s about balance, and tuning in to what truly matters.
Do you have a daily ritual that you couldn’t live without?
My morning meditation and offerings on my harmonium.