"I just took my 1st The Class with Taryn Toomey".
"OMG, really? Did you love it? Did you cry"?
"Oh yeah, totally. It was A-MA-ZING. I'm obsessed".
So goes the average outtake from one of the hottest studio methods in New York - as well as LA and Vancouver - right now.
Referred to as "The Class" because she didn't know what to call it at its inception, this former fashion exec - yep, another one - cum yoga teacher, frequently referred to as simple "TT" has created a unique workout with a cult following that is both cathartic and challenging.
In addition to those tears, think: screaming, dancing, jumping, laughing and sweating. Lots of sweating. All under the guidance of a lithe, angelic-looking, powerhouse of a woman who has a propensity for cursing like a sailor. In any given workout, you can count on Toomey - or one of her entourage of inspiring and unconventional instructors - to simultaneously kick your butt, call your s*** out and elevate your spirit. Following the opening of her edgy-ethereal flagship studio in Tribeca, Inside/Out spoke to Taryn about how she does it, her community, challenges and future projects.
INSIDE/OUT: Introduce yourself.
Taryn Toomey: My name is Taryn Toomey. I created The Class which has had several "babies" - The Retreatment, The Layer, The Airelume. I live in New York with my husband Marko and two daughters, Lettie (short for Scarlet) and Finley.
I/O: How was The Class born and what does it look like now?
TT: I spent years working in corporate fashion always feeling out of place and constantly "running to yoga." I left that world to pursue a yoga teacher training soon after I got married. After a few years teaching yoga, I needed more FIRE and sound in my practice. I have always felt an intense connection to movement and wanted to use it to shake up and clear stagnant energy that had accumulated in my body. The Class organically developed from there. I started on my own, eventually invited girlfriends to join me in my building gym and eventually rented space at a local dance studio for donation-based classes. Fast forward three years and we now host multiple classes every day, have a flagship studio in NYC, a presence in Los Angeles and Vancouver, a roster of gifted instructors, additional wellness programming to support the method and a growing Executive team.
I/O: How will it look in the future?
TT: We are a small but mighty team with big plans. First, strengthening our foundation in NYC and LA. Then, national expansion and eventually global expansion. We want to bring this method/experience and lifestyle of healing and self-care to as many people as possible.
I/O: What are your thoughts on feminism and female empowerment?
TT: I have never been one to shout from the rooftops "I am woman hear me roar!!!" but the more I do my practice, I realize that is essentially what I AM doing. Because I AM a woman and am teaching about personal strength and self awareness to mostly women. I believe in equality without anger. I believe in uniting not separating - race, gender or otherwise. I believe in love. One love. I believe in being human.
I/O: How do you achieve - or strive to improve - your professional, emotional, mental and physical harmony in your life?
TT: The Class.
I/O: What experts do you admire? Who are your teachers?
TT: Michael Singer. Kevin Courtney. Thomas Droge. Aleta St James. Esther Perel. My students. My children. My relationships. My hardships.
I/O: What does your community look like?
TT: We are believers in unity and coming together to elevate our vibration and consciousness. Authentic. Kind. Open. Vulnerable. Strong. Lifted asses.
I/O: Who or what helped you get where you are today?
TT: Community. Can I name everybody? My gosh I wouldn't want to leave anybody out. I actually don't think there would be enough space on this page, in this email. And for the record, I'm not just talking about the people that have helped me. The people that have hurt me too. All of it inspires me and moves me forward.
I/O: What challenges have you faced and what obstacles might you be experiencing at the moment?
TT: The balance of being a mother, wife, boss, sister, friend, daughter, who is now in the public eye and open to all the criticism. I am exposing myself. Introducing a practice of vulnerability that pushes the boundaries of comfort to a world that is not always kind. And yet with the intent to heal. It's a conundrum.
I/O: Through The Class you have become a sort of caregiver to so many people, healing people through movement and your (sexy!) signature style of motivational speaking. So tell, us, who or what takes care of you?
TT: The team of beautiful people that work with me. They basically require me to do self care (accupuncture, bodywork, etc).
I/O: How would you define The Class in 3 words?
TT: Strengthening Spiritual Endurance.
I/O: Three words that describe you on a personal level?
TT: Silly, Honest, Soulful.
I/O: Do you ever "fall off the wellness wagon"? If so, what does this mean to you? If not, how do you avoid temptation?
TT: Of course I do, I'm human. "Falling off the wellness wagon" is typically eating or drinking things that make me feel worse. I don't think "avoid" is the right word for temptation. We always have a choice, just need to choose wisely. I try to nourish and support my body in a way that makes me feel good.
I/O: What role does travel play in your life? Where do you plan to go in 2017?
TT: I love to travel and try to do at least one getaway trip with my family each year. Most of my travel is for The Retreatment - our international retreat program which is a deep cleanse of the mind, body and spirit. This year, we are going to the Dominican Republic, Martha's Vineyard, Watch Hill-Rhode Island and more. But I do take time just with my family. That trip is not on the books yet for this year (....speaking of, better get to planning that!).
I/O: What role does music play in your life? Do you have a playlist to share? Or a ‘power’ song?
TT: Music is next in line after my children. Some of my favorite artists include Florence + The Machine, The XX, London Grammar, Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac, Jim James (My Morning Jacket) and Sleeping At Last.