Hot Workout: The Class
You don't realize exactly how long a single song can be until it becomes a workout torture device. Using music to power through high-intensity muscle group sequences is just one of Taryn Toomey's fitness tricks at her downtown New York City mind/body studio, The Class. Packed with high-wattage devotees like Christy Turlington Burns, Leandra Medine from Man Repeller and more, The Class has developed a following for its unique blend of body-shaking intensity and soul-baring mindfulness. Toomey, a yoga teacher with a strong fitness background, created it as a home-grown answer to what she was seeking personally after her daughter was born: a soulful practice based in yoga, but with more fire. Born in her building's gym, The Class slowly grew by word of mouth and has become a go-to source of sweat-inducing transformation ever since.
Exorcising stress and demons is part and parcel of each 75-minute session: Class members are encouraged to use big, loud exhales to move stress from inside the body out. There's also a moment in each class when anything that's bugging you, big or little, gets "put into the fire" and burned up. Metaphysical analogies aside, The Class is serious about balancing the needs of the body with the mind. The workout starts at the soles of the feet and targets every muscle group in the body, using plyometrics, calisthenics and yoga- and dance-based movements to build strength, wring out physical tension, and find release from the "the sludge" as Toomey calls the burden of city living — the stress and intensity we bind up and house in our bodies. You will do a million jumping jacks, you might see Naomi Watts, you will scream and yell like a banshee. It will leave you feeling lit from within, a clean-burning fire that is ready for anything.