Celebs are known for touting their favorite workouts that help them maintain their incredible figures. But there's one fitness guru to whom stars--everyone from Alicia Keys to Emma Stone--flock thanks to her vision of combining a sweat session with a spiritual experience.
Taryn Toomey founded The Class to be a cathartic workout . To do that, participants are guided to strengthen their bodies during a class while being directed to focus on the mind like a meditation. to Driven by a sense of connection to spirit throughout her life, Toomey immersed herself in different rituals, ceremonies, prayer, spiritual traditions and psychotherapy work, unknowingly seeding the foundation for what would later become The Class. And she recently launched a new four-part series aligned with phases of the menstrual cycle that's attracting even more clientele.
SI Swimsuit chatted with Toomey to find how her novel idea came to fruition and how she plans to evolve it. Here's what she had to say.
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What was the inspiration?
"Life. Hardships. Joy. Children. The Class is a melting pot of many different physical, mental, emotional and spiritual work I have explored over the past two decades. The methodology behind The Class really came through me organically. I was sharing what was supporting and healing me while I navigated through my own difficult passages. I have always been a multitasker and appreciate efficiency, so a solid full-body workout felt like a natural way to bring in these other practices. I found that when you start by centering and then use cardio to ignite a fire in the body through embodied movement and music, you are able to access a deeper space of listening. Through community and a safe space to express myself through sounds and not words, this truly helped me to process my experiences and emotions."
What makes The Class so unique?
"We work from the inside out. In The Class, we are not preaching anything; we are holding a space for students to experience themselves--their responses, instincts, tendencies--and giving it all a space to aerate without external feedback on how to do something right or wrong. It can only be done through one's own inside work."
Who would benefit most from The Class?
"The Class is for everyone. Whether you want to join the five minutes of burpees or simply stand and be actively present with the magnetic energy around you, the purpose of The Class is to drop into and listen to your body. Women and men of all ages experience The Class for different reasons - a great workout, a way to break through a creative block, or simply release stuck energy from their body to incredible music."
Why do you think it's garnered such a huge following?
"I feel it has gained such a following because we are up against this rising swell of external feedback as a society—let it be social media or every new thing in the marketplace trying to sell the idea that something is wrong with us. This drives us to seek validation from the outside world, and we lose a sense of what's inside, what's real, what's not, what's mine, what's not. People want to move towards authentic things and give them a space to be and connect to the source of heart and soul. That's what you can find in The Class."
How do you continue to evolve The Class?
"As far as the method itself, there is a very specific design physically, mentally and emotionally to how teachers guide students in class. The teachings that come through are based on where each individual teacher is at in their lives, so it is always developing and evolving, just as they are. Physically no two classes are the same, but there is a specific architecture to the work. The physical body is continually challenged in new ways, as is one of awareness of self.
“As for the business, we launched our Digital Studio in October 2019 and continue to innovate and expand our digital content. We provide daily live-stream classes for time zones worldwide, a variety of on-demand classes, and self-study projects to support individuals and families practicing from home. Plus, we recently reopened the doors of our New York City studio, which has been exciting to welcome students back for in-person classes. We have some things cooking behind the scenes that we will be rolling out soon, and we will continue to innovate and adjust to the changing landscape of our industry."
The Class is available in person at the NYC studio or online via the Digital Studio at theclass.com.