Interview

Taryn Toomey

The superwoman shaking up NYC’s fitness scene gives BWB a lesson in lightness.

It’s hard to find a workout classier than “the class.” This unique fusion of yoga, pilates, cardio and dance blended together into a crazy cathartic cocktail of intense pleasure and pain has become a cult hit. The class is both an out-of-body experience and a very much in-your-body moment where every limb, muscle and skin cell is pushed to its limits.

At first glance, Taryn Toomey’s classes look just like a gym class, but they go deeper, asking participants to move, shake, jump and even scream in order to detox from negative thoughts and anything blocking happiness.

After a career in fashion, the ex-executive at Dior and Ralph Lauren left everything to help people to feel better in their bodies. She’s created a safe space for people, particularly women, to feel free to express their emotions. There is crying, screaming and a lot of sweating during a typical class.

There’s a long waitlist for a coveted spot on one of the sleek Lululemon black mats that line the walls of the room in her chic Tribeca dance studio.

Toomey has managed to attract supermodels, celebrities, CEOs and most stylish New Yorkers to her unique experience including devoted fans like Naomi Watts and Christy Turlington. There’s a long waitlist for a coveted spot on one of the sleek Lululemon black mats that line the walls of the room in her chic Tribeca dance studio and the class has become so popular it’s now also being offered at The Movement in NYC and, come next Spring in Los Angeles and retreats across the globe.

The fitness phenomenon spoke to BWB’s wellness contributor Rebecca Leffler about lightening up in all aspects of our lives and welcoming 2016 with boundless energy.

After too many evenings of “running to yoga,” it became clear that I needed to delve deeper into the mind-body connection that was pulling me, and I finally committed to yoga teacher training.

BWB: You come from a fashion background. What sparked this switch from Dior to downward dog?

At my desk during my years of corporate fashion, I found myself constantly thinking, “There’s got to be more than this.” I was searching for more, yearning for a fulfillment I knew was out there. After too many evenings of “running to yoga,” it became clear that I needed to delve deeper into the mind-body connection that was pulling me, and I finally committed to yoga teacher training.

What makes it different is that it spans the experiential gamut of what it means to take a ‘fitness class.’

BWB: There are currently, if I’ve counted correctly, around 200,816 boutique fitness classes in NYC. Yours, however, has attained a cult-like following. What makes the class different from other fitness or yoga classes?

What we do borrows from and blends many different modalities to create something that isn’t as black and white as “bootcamp” or “yoga.” We use the body as the access point to dive into emotional stagnation and thought patterns that are no longer serving us. Through exhausting the body and addressing the noise in the mind, we get the same level of endorphins that you might in a traditional fitness class but you also get the clarity and calm you might experience after yoga. So I guess what makes it different is that it spans the experiential gamut of what it means to take a ‘fitness class.’

BWB: The class is all about getting rid of what you call “the sludge” and feeling “light” in both body and mind. Can you describe what this feeling of “lightness” entails and how the class can contribute to that?

Lightness of the body isn’t just weight, though with proper eating and doing this kind of work consistently, you will lose weight if that is what you are after. Lightness also pertains to the feeling of lifting the emotional baggage that you have been carrying around – whether it comes from old wounds, yourself, grief, heartbreak. Once you actually dive into the source of the heaviness, you have the opportunity to process it, work through it, and ultimately use it as fuel to move forward with lightness.

The most effective way for me to recharge is to be with my girlfriends. A glass of wine and a few hours of belly laughing will do the trick most of the time.

BWB: Are there ever any moments when you’re drained of energy? What are your favorite ways to recharge in these moments that you can recommend?

Of course! I’m a mother of two with a start up business on my hands. The most effective way for me to recharge is to be with my girlfriends. A glass of wine and a few hours of belly laughing will do the trick most of the time.

I enjoy the feeling of “not having to figure it all out” and decompressing this way. Beyond that, quality time with my family, a good long soak in a hot bath, and good old fashioned SLEEP.

BWB: It’s winter. It’s COLD (In NYC at least!). What are your favorite warming exercises, foods or mantras to heat up from the inside out when the weather outside gets frightful?

I love a good jump squat, a whole bunch of kriyas and some warm soup.

BWB: What is/are your New Years resolution(s) this year?

Carving out time to be with my kiddos is something I heavily prioritize. This year, I want to make a more concerted effort to shut down the computer, turn off the phone, let the emails wait, and get down on the floor and play with my kids as often as possible.

BWB: What can we expect from the class empire in 2016?

I am thrilled to tell you that there are many wonderful things in the pipeline. First of all, we are about to launch our very first jewelry line with necklaces, rings, and earrings that I designed and are all one-of-a-kind.
Secondly, we are bringing this work to Los Angeles in the Spring! This will be our first expansion and we cannot wait to meet the L.A community. We are also working on ways to Live Stream the class so that you are still able to feel the unique energy that happens in our little studio in NYC.

**Note: From January 11th-20th, the class is joining forces with nutritionist Mikaela Reuben for a total detox of body and mind called “The Layer” that addresses the physical and emotional response to cleansing toxins from the mind and body. The Layer features workouts, daily nutrition plans, a focus on self-care and resource guides to nourishing yourself all year long. http://theclasswithtt.com/the-fall-layer/

Rebecca Leffler

Rebecca Leffler is a writer, journalist and wellness consultant. She is the author of best-selling French book Green, Glam & Gourmande and follow-up title Green, Glam & Happy. Her book “Très green, très clean, très chic: Eat (and live!) the new French way with plant-based, gluten-free recipes for every season” was released in 2015. Follow Rebecca at Lafleurparisny.com.

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