taryn-toomey-the-class-trailblazer-suitcase-new-york-tribecaPhoto: Jaimie Baird

The Class by Taryn Toomey – a transformative workout of the body and mind – is one of New York City’s most in-demand wellness rituals. We spent an afternoon in Tribeca and tried it out for ourselves.

Movement is a medicinal part of life. Don’t believe us? Have a little dance around whatever room you are currently in (we’ll wait, and hopefully the room’s other occupants won’t judge). Feel better? Good. Take that as one simple but illuminating example of the ways in which Taryn Toomey knows your body better than you do.

For those who need to be brought up to speed, Taryn Toomey is the mastermind behind one of New York’s most revered workouts. The Class by Taryn Toomey is “a practice of self-study through physical conditioning”. People take The Class for different reasons: it’s a great workout, a way to break through a creative block or simply to release their body to powerful music.

Following a session (where screaming is encouraged) we dealt with key wellness topics that have been playing on our mind since our last trip to Whole Foods – namely what workout classes should we take in New York, which are the city’s best health-food stores and why now, more than ever, it is important to connect.

Here, Taryn pegs the best times of day to work out, why her workouts are cathartic and the upside to working out in a suit (seriously).

In 2007 you went to Peru for a month to learn how to teach yoga. Tell us about that experience?

I love Peru. There is a feeling of old-soul wisdom magic there. I have done many different ceremonies with a variety of shamans and learned so much about creating sacred space. There are some basic things I do in The Class that nod things I picked up in ceremony. The Class is very ritualistic; people who have worked with the different modalities often say they can feel the same energy here.

Why Peru?

One of my teachers, Alison Sinatra, was leading a retreat down there and I decided to sign up. While there, I met my mentor Mama Kia.

Who is The Class for?

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 – it’s a great workout, a way to break through a creative block, or simply release their body to powerful music.

You also offer a “no-sweat option”. We’re intrigued…

The Class Relieve is a 20-minute way to clear your mind of chaos and rid the body of any tension that’s been building up. I took all the parts of The Class that I find to be powerful but simple and paired them to create something that can be done anywhere. It gives you a toolbox of things to get you out of your head and into your body. We offer The Class Relieve as part of our corporate program, where a teacher will come to large companies and lead them through this movement. You can do it in a suit or dress, anything really.

What is the link between workouts and emotional catharsis?

There’s a lot of collective trauma and confusion in the world we live in. I feel as if we are essentially practicing disassociation daily. What we are doing is mindfully exhausting the physical body and once we have gained the trust of ourselves, of the room, we allow ourselves to feel – which is different than thinking. This can be very therapeutic and at times leads to catharsis.

People have been known to scream at your class, can you elaborate…

We use sound along with breath to create release when we feel the “I can’t” heaviness begin to build up in the body. This sound helps to unblock some of the weight that keeps us feeling stuck, releasing the tension right in the middle of the intensity. We express the unexpressed, the unfelt, without the need to narrate or convince someone. Think about all the times you have been out there in the world and felt like there was so much pressure inside you wanted to clear it out. We offer people the space to clear it – through movement, sound, breath – anything goes.

Best time of day to workout?

I prefer to workout in the morning on an empty stomach as I find this to be most effective for both my headspace and my body. I usually try to leave one hour open in the mornings for a workout so I can set myself up for the day. That being said, this isn’t always possible when running a company and having back-to-back meetings. I just get one in whenever I see a window. Movement is a very important and medicinal part of my life, so I prioritise it.

Tell us about The Community Class…

The Community Class is a donation-based offering that supports Niños Del Sol. This organisation was started by my mentor Mama Kia. In the spirit of the work of The Class, this offering allows our community to give back to a less fortunate one – one that helped fuel the creation of this method.

Tips for working out when you travel…

Plan a 30-minute playlist of songs that move you. Do one movement for the entire length of the song. For example, push ups, ab exercises, sprints or lunges. Plan it ahead of time and enjoy. The only thing you really need in order to workout is you. You and your own body – and your will. Oh yes, let’s not forget your will.

Other than the Class where in NYC do you go to workout?

SoulCycle or Kula Yoga.

Must-visit spots near your Tribeca studio…

ONDA Beauty, Tenoverten, Four Seasons Spa, HigherDOSE, Cryofuel, Juice Press and Holy Ground.

Favourite spots for coffee

Laughing Man.

For family lunch in NYC head to…

Tribeca’s Kitchen, Locanda Verde or Tiny’s & The Bar Upstairs.

Best health-food stores include…

Juice Press is my go-to when I’m on the run and need to grab a healthy snack. I don’t drink the shakes, just the kale chips and salads. The Goods Mart is an all time favourite of mine; its founder Rachel Krupa is a fantastic visionary and just gets it. I also love Clean Market, it has the most delicious snacks from Magic Mix Juicery and a nice assortment of supplements and healthy treats – plus full-service wellness and self-care treatments.

Where do you go to relax?

HigherDOSE or I use my Biomat to meditate. If I’m traveling somewhere with a beach, I’ll go down to the water and plant my feet in the sand and let the earth recalibrate me while I take in that grounding energy.

What are you reading at the moment?

I am currently reading Ray Dalio’s Principles in Action.

Where do you shop for workout gear/ favourite brands?

My own collection. We launched a capsule collection in February with all of my favourites – capes, leggings, tops and totes.

One piece of travel advice…

Hydrate. Drink lots of water and take a Lypo-Spheric Vitamin-C packet to boost the immune system. I do not eat once airborne to keep the digestive system happy. Also, move your body in some way when you land.

What are your travel essentials?

Standard Dose CBD + MCT, Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum, May Lindstrom Hydrating Mist, Lypo-Spheric Glutathione and Vitamin C packets, my Airelume necklace, IQ protein bars and, for provenance, a pre-made lunch.

And finally, what’s in your SUITCASE?

Bodysuit, leggings, long flowing lightweight dresses, Isabel Marant boots, a Natori nightgown and True Botanicals’ Overnight Mask – my new obsession.

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