Health

How Taryn Toomey went from fashion executive to wellness guru to Emma Stone, Naomi Watts or Alicia Keys

In the studio that Taryn Toomey has in the New York neighborhood of TriBeCa, actresses like Emma Stone or Naomi Watts train. But the room in which the method of fitness The Class back in 2013 wasn’t always there, just steps from One World Trade Center. When Toomey decided to leave the world of fashion to focus on yoga and create this workout in which music plays a central role, she taught in the gym that was in the basement of her apartment building. She has recognized that at that time she did not have any expectations for that project, she invited her friends to participate in those sessions, it was something informal. But, little by little, she saw that something was changing in her. And in those who followed her instructions.

«The Class is a fun and challenging workout that combines strength training, cardio and mindfulness to help everyone feel their best.” This is how its official website describes this sports routine. Now, Toomey has offices in New York and Los Angeles and no longer gathers some friends in her basement, but celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston, Christy Turlington, Gisele Bündchen or Alicia Keys – who has collaborated with her – preach the benefits of this practice. New York Times defines her as “guru of fitness» and the confinement expanded the scope of his classes: when the world was stopped, many needed to activate, and The Class became “a basic training of the pandemic”, as he recalls W Magazine. Now, Toomey is packing his bags to travel to the Six Senses hotel in Ibiza, where the first edition of the Alma Festival will be held from November 3 to 6, an event focused on the world of well-being that will also bring chef Jasmine Hemsley to the island or Michael Smith, co-founder of the apps calm meditation

Routines are central to Toomey’s proposal, which is recognized as methodical in her day-to-day: «On a normal day I start the day by brushing my teeth, putting on a face mask and drinking a glass of warm water with lemon. Then I do a few rounds of Uddiyana Bandha, a breathing exercise where you take a deep breath in and then exhale. You expel all the air and then perform a simulated inhalation. That folds your diaphragm up and massages your organs and your intestines and ignites the Agni fire. [el fuego digestivo de la medicina tradicional Ayurveda hindú] in your stomach. After doing it, and it is not negotiable, every morning I reserve a space for meditation, even if it is only three minutes. I need to close my eyes and check the state of my mind and body before I can start the rest of my day. To end the day, she stresses, she leaves the cell phone far from her bed, in the kitchen. “I rely on the alarm clock to wake me up, my bedroom is an electronics-free zone.” Before going to bed she also develops a small ritual: «I like to lie in bed with my legs on the headboard for 20 or 30 minutes to decompress my nervous system. In that time I close my eyes and breathe, sometimes I dedicate myself to reading, and thus I eliminate the external feedback of the day and prepare my body to sleep».

What experiences and advice will you share with those attending the Alma Festival?
I will be leading the sessions of The Class for those who come to the festival, which will be held in the most beautiful of surroundings. It is always special to practice The Class with new people and in different places. In addition, I really want to share moments with wellness experts like Jasmine Hemsley or Michael Smith, I hope to learn from them and also from the artistic and spiritual communities of Ibiza to advance my personal wellness journey.

His career was not focused on this area. For years, she worked as a sales executive for fashion brands like Ralph Lauren or Dior, what made her leave that industry to focus on wellness?
I didn’t know it at the time, but while working in fashion I felt a dull ache in my soul. I knew I had to listen to him and make a change. So I began to explore how to train as a yoga teacher, but with the idea that later I would return to dedicate myself to the world of fashion. However, my family moved to Boston, and there were no opportunities there in that industry, so I continued to teach yoga, and everything started to take shape from then on.

To deepen his yoga practice, Toomey traveled to Peru, where he learned from his mentor, Mama Kia. There he began to lay the foundations for The Class, at a time when the wellness industry was beginning to emerge: Gwyneth Paltrow created Goop in 2008 and showed that there was a very broad market in that lifestyle niche, which now more than a niche is a hive of constant novelties. Paltrow, in fact, is another of the familiar faces who have collaborated with Toomey, with whom she trains and whom she also strongly recommends in Goop: «The Class is a training like no other. People laugh and cry and scream during it, that’s how intense the release is.”

Naomi Watts, one of her students, assures that The Class “unlocks something” inside whoever practices it, many underline the emotional part of this training. How does he manage to do it?
I have always loved yoga, everything starts from there, but I felt that if I combined it with the expressive fire of calisthenics [sistema de ejercicios físicos centrados en manipular el peso corporal] and plyometrics [entrenamiento basado en realizar ejercicios que aceleran y desaceleran los músculos] you could get a whole new feeling, both for the body and for the mind. When I started practicing on my own, I felt great relief from the cathartic aspects as they increased, I realized that other people also felt the same. Now, we encourage everyone to look within and release any emotions or feelings that you don’t need or that don’t bring something positive.

What is the secret of the success of your method?
We provide a unique and specific experience that focuses on strengthening both the body and the mind simultaneously. We bring together people who want to unite, support each other and prosper at the same time, something that creates a welcoming environment where everyone feels comfortable releasing their emotions and connecting with their interior.

Music plays a central role in The Class, why?
Music is my co-pilot, both in The Class and in my personal life, I think it can be used as a medicine. Within music there is a vibration that comes to us when we need a little help, it can change any mood if you choose your songs wisely. Whatever you’re feeling, music has the power to amplify it, whether it’s joy, sadness, or melancholy. Some of my favorite artists right now are Nick Mulvey, Radiohead and Four Tet.

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