The Class by Taryn Toomey
It’s been over a week since I attended my first session of the “The Class”. It has taken me that long to ruminate over what exactly the experience was and how I should convey it in words that will do it justice.
The carefully curated Instagram for “The Class”, filled with calming pastels and inspirational quotes, suggested to me that it was going to be somehow yoga based. There is no reason to think this, other than my own preconceived notions.
The studio space in Tribeca, upon entry, is immediately calming. The reception is filled with crystals. When Taryn took over the space, she also had crystals laid underneath the studio floor, to radiate energy in her classes.
Staff are warm and welcoming and lack any pretension that one might expect from a class that has garnered accolades from Vogue and is attended regularly by Naomi Watts, Christy Turlington and Jennifer Aniston.
The studio itself is laid out with mats. White candles burn on the deep window ledges and the crystal theme is carried throughout.
My class is an early evening session with Taryn herself and is fully booked out.
Taryn arrives into the class and her energy is effervescent. Regular attendees are hugged. She asks a show of hands for anybody that is new to the experience and comes down directly to me when I raise my hand.
Hunkering down to my height as I sit on the mat, she asks me about any injuries and tells me to listen to my body, but most importantly to stay in my body. Her energy is strong and captivating. Her presence engages fully with yours.
The energy in the room seems to build with a sort of anticipation that leads me to start wondering what sort of class exactly this will be.
And then the music starts. “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac.
Everybody starts shrugging their shoulders and stomping their feet to the distinctive percussion. Taryn begins to talk to the class in her deep husk, those familiar with class begin to let out big belly-filled “huhs’ . She acknowledges new people and their possible discomfort or unknowing of what is happening.
The song builds to the guitar crescendo and everybody begins dancing side to side, very freely. There is screaming. Part of me wants to be in the safety of a dark tent at a festival, so I can totally let go, but then why do I need that? Just do it.
The song stops. Taryn tells us to close our eyes.
“Put your hands on your body.”
“This is you”
“ That energy is you”
“ You are enough”
Throughout “The Class”, each exercise is designed to bring you to different states, as Taryn calls them. The succession of states are intended to connect you with your spirit. That can be hard to understand or too far out for some people to go with, but what it feels like in simple terms, is letting go, in the most non- judgmental and freeing environment.
Each exercise is different. There are jumping jacks, burpees and downward dogs, all set to a different track. Nirvana make an appearance at one point, to my delight. Essential to each exercise is the time you take to check in with yourself at the end.
The cacophony of screams rises throughout each sequence and there really is nothing more freeing than just letting it all go.
The end of the session closes with a type of mediation that involves closing your eyes and moving your arms in a type of wing motion, inwards towards your center.
Coming to the experience with an inquisitive eye, any part of me that leans towards the cynical is unable to deny the elated and slightly euphoric feeling at the end of the class.
The aerobic nature of a lot of the exercises sees you build up a significant sweat. There is no doubt that this accounts for some of the feeling of exhilaration after the class. However, the feeling of elation, at the end of the mediation, is not something I have experienced to such an extent before, either is the distinct feeling of inner strength.
Trying to explain to somebody what exactly happens in “The Class” is near on impossible. The best way you can find out is to experience it yourself!