• Woman with hair falling down her face.

    All the rage: New York is crazy about this workout.

    Loud music, motivating screams and physical exertion: “The Class” by Taryn Toomey promises a cathartic mind-body experience. Can the workout deliver on its promise?

A demanding workout.

The bass booms out through Taryn Toomey’s light-flooded studio on the third floor of an office block in New York’s financial district. Everything is vibrating. Apparently, there are even gems integrated into the floor. Around 60 young women in crop tops and leggings jump up from their Lululemon mats that are lined up close together, then clap hands as they move back into a squatting position. This looks like hard work. After only two minutes the mirrors are completely steamed up and the women’s mascara has started heading south.

Woman closing curtains.
Woman jumps up.

Scream it out!

“It’s not about looking pretty here. It is all about emotions. Vent your anger!” It’s hard to make out the words Taryn cries out in her husky voice over the sound of Florence and the Machine’s “What kind of man”. “Woaaaarrr!” screams one of the women, as if to make it clear what was meant: just let it all out. Express your anger to the universe and go your own way. “You are more than your thoughts,” Taryn continues. “You can do it!” On we go…

Dive into the world of your emotions!

The music stops. Taryn asks the participants to place their hands on their hearts and pause for reflection: “How do you feel? Take a closer look inside yourself.” The break doesn’t last long. After just a few seconds the next song starts up and a new sequence of exercises begins.

Woman is doing gymnastics.
Woman does handstand.

The Class – only for well-to-do women?

Somewhere between self-help, shamanism, yoga and high-intensity workout is where you could place Taryn Toomey’s 75-minute workout “The Class”. Celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Christie Turlington swear by these new methods which not only keep your body in good shape but also help to calm the mind. What at first glance might appear to be a trendy fitness method for rich New York women – one class costs 35 dollars – does actually have real substance: the sequences are perfectly tuned to each other, target different muscle groups and ensure a physically demanding but at the same time invigorating experience. The loud music and motivating screams seem to be on another level: “My aim is to help release all that trapped energy,” Taryn explains. This makes it easier to let go and cope with the stress factors arising from our own history, everyday life or family situations.

From the yoga mat to the crystal floor.

In her earlier career in the fashion industry, Taryn would often turn to the yoga mat as a means of mind-body balance. First as a yoga student and then as a teacher. After the birth of her daughter, the practice of dynamic Vinyasa flow yoga was no longer enough for her. Inspired by the time spent in Peru with her mentor and spiritual teacher Mama Kia, she began to give her yoga practice a little more “fire”. The new practice called for powerful songs and deep bass tones, while the fitting self-help mantras came almost naturally. Soon Taryn started to share her new found passion with others by renting fitness rooms and initially teaching on a donation basis. But the enthusiasm for “The Class” spread like wildfire at the height of summer. If you want to experience a class with the founder herself in her New York studio, you will have to book a week in advance – places are much sought-after despite the high price. And rightly so.

Woman stretching herself on the ground.
Woman crosses her hands over her heart.

Taryn Toomey’s method works.

The workout is challenging, but finds the perfect level of intensity which allows you to switch off and perceive your own deeper feelings. It may seem strange to yell out what has been dwelling on your soul, but it does help you. After around 20 minutes you enter a state of happiness, much like a “runner’s high”, the state of euphoria experienced when running. At the latest when you reach the calming sequence at the end of the class will you feel like your cares and stress have vanished into thin air and you leave the studio in a state of gently floating and with the wonderful feeling of being at ease with yourself and the rest of the world.